There’s the trips to local shopping centres, the televised debates and the interviews. There’s the billboards, the newspaper ads and the pamphlets arguing for space in your letterbox. And then there’s the policy battleground, on which each party pitches for your vote with their plans for spending your money.

And it all coalesces in a single moment – you, a pencil, a polling booth, and a few slips of paper. Which candidate gets your vote?

To help voters wade through the policy alternatives, here’s your cut-out-and-keep guide to what each party stands for on a range of key policy areas. Click through for more details on our website, which we’ll be updating with each new policy announcement.

Policy Comparison Part 1: Broadband, schools, forests

Is Federal Labor the Liberal Party by another name? Is Kevin Rudd actually John Howard? And come election day, will there be sufficient difference in the parties’ policies to offer voters a choice? Here, Crikey compares the two parties on broadband, schools and forests.

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Crikey Policy Comparison Pt 2: Housing affordability

The housing affordability crisis has been front and centre of this campaign, and where the two main parties are concerned, it’s come down to the battle for the votes of first time home owners. Each party is promising to help save for that much needed deposit, the question is how?

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Crikey Policy Comparison Pt 3: Federal-State relations

Should education, as the Coalition believes, be centralised, with a national curriculum set by Canberra? Should healthcare, as Tony Abbott and the PM now seem to believe, be managed by the Federal Government? Or should the states have the autonomy to administer systems nominally under their control? And where does Labor stand on the issue?

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Crikey Policy Comparison Pt 4: Indigenous affairs

The government’s 500 page bill on the Indigenous intervention raced through the lower house of federal parliament, and stopped to catch its breath — albeit fleetingly — in a senate committee before becoming law. So how do the two major parties differ on the issue?

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Crikey Policy Comparison Pt 5: Healthcare

There’s been plenty of talk about health, but in the twilight of this campaign, the federal president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has accused both major parties of neglecting health policy during the election campaign. Dr Rosanna Capolingua says very few public health initiatives have been announced by Labor or the Coalition. Here’s an indepth and up-to-date look at the full health policy lists both parties have laid out on the operating table.

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Crikey Policy Comparison Part 6: Climate Change

A recent Climate Institute survey reports that two thirds of voters surveyed in marginal seats say climate change will affect their vote. Here’s a comprehensive rundown of the two major parties on the issue. And of course, there’s a third party that have been jumping up and down about this subject for much longer than the two major parties — we’ve included The Greens too.

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Crikey Policy Comparison Part 7: Higher education

Once the Liberal Party to answered the leadership question once and for all, the Prime Minister got back to outlining his vision for the nation, starting with nursing schools. Here is a policy comparison of the higher education policies of Coalition and the ALP.

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Crikey Policy Comparison part 8: Childcare

As Howard and Rudd fight over who will give “working families” a better future after November 24, both of the leaders go around kissing babies and visiting schools. However, Crikey wonders how the political opponents would like it if a strange man kissed their bald spots?

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Crikey Policy Comparison Part 9: Aboriginal Reconciliation

Just days before the election campaign was called, the Prime Minister spoke at the Sydney Institute, offering a bold gesture to Aboriginal Australia – a new preamble to the Constitution. But it’s not a one time offer. You can vote for Mr Howard, who will take his new words to the people within 18 months. Or you can vote for his opponent and get the same thing but with a bonus apology thrown in. A vote changer? You be the judge.

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Crikey Policy Comparison Part 10: Tax

Day one of Campaign ’07 saw the Government getting on the front foot early with the announcement of its tax policy by the Prime Minister and Prime Minister in Waiting (who currently holds down the Treasury portfolio). Labor responded on day five with their own tax policy, which Peter Costello promptly identified as being 91.5% identical to the Government’s. The spectre of me tooism was raised … again. Which one gets your vote?

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Crikey Policy Comparison Part 11: Industrial Relations

It’s all about WorkChoices. The Government wants it. The Rudd opposition wants to abolish it. Here is your guide to what each party is promising to do with workplace relations should you be so kind as to vote them into government on 24 November.

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