Greens leader Adam Bandt is to use the "powerful position" of his party in the 47th Parliament to urge the Albanese government to bring forward, to the October budget, plans for universal childcare and take on the Greens' proposal to put dental into Medicare.
Mr Bandt will use an address to the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday to make the pitch for the two measures as ways to address the wage and cost-of-living crisis.
In excerpts of the address seen by The Canberra Times, Mr Bandt will describe the Liberal party, led by Peter Dutton, as "irrelevant" and Labor now the party of the centre-right. Whereas, Mr Bandt will say the Greens, with 16 elected federal representatives, are now in a "powerful position" as dominant crossbenchers.
Starting with two major suggestions for the October budget, Mr Bandt will state that the Greens see itself as the only social democratic party in Australia and "our job to get the country back to a fairer pace".
"Each household spends on average $960 per year on dental care. The average out of pocket costs of childcare are $2,997 per child," the Greens leader is expected to say. "Getting dental into Medicare and making childcare free could save a family of four up to nearly $7,000 a year. This would deliver real and immediate cost-of-living relief.
"We had free childcare during the pandemic, so we know it can be implemented quickly. And we have a Medicare system everyone understands, so we know we can add dental line items to it.
"These would be long-lasting changes that would deliver real relief to everyday people battling with high inflation and low wages and incomes."
The budget proposals, which the Greens suggest over short-lived cuts to the fuel excise and say could be paid for by taxing billionaires and large corporations, comes as the party mulls over whether to support Labor's climate bill in Parliament.
The bill to legislate the government's 43 per cent by 2030 emissions reduction target cannot pass without the backing from the Greens and at least one crossbencher, such as independent ACT Senator David Pocock, with great concern over the approval of future coal and gas projects.
Mr Bandt will target mining and gas corporations as not paying their fair share, especially during COVID-19 lockdowns.
"A small, annual tax on the wealth of billionaires is a reasonable response to widening economic inequality where, right now, Gina Rinehart owns 1.2 per cent of the entire Australian landmass, yet the average time to see a dentist on the public waiting list in Queensland is 663 days," he is expected to tell the National Press Club.
"In a country where one in three big corporations pay no tax, the gas industry are poster child tax avoiders.
"They're not just profiteering off a Russian dictator's invasion of Ukraine, they're driving up energy costs in Australia as well, all while giving next to nothing to the public purse."
Mr Bandt will describe Australia as having a "big, beating progressive heart" which the major parties will ignore at their peril.
"The Liberals are irrelevant. With Peter Dutton as their leader, we expect they will go backwards. If they continue their denial, their defence of economic inequality and a profound lack of integrity, they deserve to be irrelevant," he warned.
"The Liberals could lose even more seats in the outer suburban areas in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane at the next election."
And he's told the Labor government it needs the "courage" to act.
"The Greens are offering to deal with the pressing inflation and wage crisis by passing fully-funded free childcare and dental into Medicare through the Senate, paid for with a tax on billionaires and big gas corporations making super-profits," he will say according to speech excerpts seen by The Canberra Times.
"The numbers are there in the Parliament. The only thing standing in the way is Labor's willingness to act."