And so, the second leader’s debate on 9News has come and gone. At times it was unedifying and robustly undignified. It lacked moderation and structure and demonstrated how much of a bully our Prime Minister is. And I might add how amateurish commercial TV can be. Sure, both combatants gave as much as they got, but the continual interruptions of Albanese’s answers by the panel and the Prime Minister became tedious. It mostly led to the responses of both being indecipherable at times.
The two troopers asked the best questions to each other. Morrison asked Albanese about tax. He wanted to remind the viewers about negative gearing and franking credits.
Albanese asked the Prime Minister about the workplace. Should anyone be paid less than the minimum wage?
His answer came down to two words: “It depends.”
9News should have given more thought to the rules and presentation of the debate. Maybe they wanted a dog fight. If that’s the case, that’s what they got.
As one who is deeply concerned about the state of our democracy, its discourse, and the media’s part in it, I found the whole thing a regrettable waste of time. I concluded that Albanese won, but only because he cared more about the future than the Prime Minister.
Others, like Chris Uhlmann of 9News had this observation:
“I have been engaged in these things before when the leaders would look straight ahead and give short speeches and not at any stage take any chance,” he said.
“I thought Anthony Albanese, who is clearly leading at this stage, might go risk-free, and in fact he initiated the banter between the two of them, and at some stages he really did it quite willingly.”
While Katharine Murphy from The Guardian made this point:
“I think Morrison blamed either international factors or Albanese for most things. There was a particularly surreal exchange about the federal integrity commission when the prime minister (who had point-blank refused to introduce legislation giving effect to his own election promise) berated his opponent for not having any legislation from opposition, when Morrison (still in Government, last I looked) could have put his own legislation in the parliament for a vote.”
As unscientific as they are, the viewing audience scored the debate a draw, but Labor came out on top on other questions.
Decided or not, which are you more likely to vote for?
- Coalition – 44%
- Labor – 50%
- Other – 6%
Choosing only between the two major parties, which are you more likely to vote for?
- Coalition – 47%
- Labor – 53%
Knowing that some polls were due to be released the same evening, I sneaked a look at The Poll Bludger around 10 pm for further revelations. I was surprised to find that, contrary to the usual expectation, the polling wasn’t contracting in favour of the incumbent as it usually does.
Newspoll had Labor ahead 54/46, Ipos had Labor on 50, and the Coalition 35 with 15 undecided. I would be surprised if the Essential Poll tomorrow showed anything different.
At this stage, Labor’s lead is much more significant than it was in 2019. So, to win, the Liberals need a more substantial error than that which occurred in 2019.
These figures show that all the current polls have moved toward Labor, and if they hold up into next week, the Coalition is looking at an electoral shellacking on 21 May.
Other observations from the week that was
1 An enormous amount of talk about housing as we draw closer to 21 May. Mortgages and rents are all rising. Housing affordability has undoubtedly become an election issue.
2 Last Thursday, at his morning presser, the Opposition leader couldn’t remember his party’s six-point NDIS plan. Albo later gave the media a much-needed serve. I’m told the journalist who posed the NDIS gotcha question to Albanese was reading his question from his phone. Hypocrisy, much?
3 It was only a matter of time before Malcolm Turnbull entered the election in earnest and did so by telling voters to vote for an independent. I’m tipping it won’t be his last. After Morrison unethically disposed of him, payback is not unexpected.
4 Isn’t it interesting that a Coalition exists even though they don’t agree on much. It hardly gives the voter much confidence.
5 On the one hand, Independents with one policy agenda and little else, are hardly fully representative of the community. On the other hand, as was proven by Oakshot and Windsor, in the Gillard Government, they bring a depth of thought outside the mainstream. It has been suggested that 90% of teal preferences will go to the ALP.
6 To satisfy the demands that have their hand out, Labor would either have to raise taxes, cut subsidies or change the way the rich can avoid paying taxes or tax them more.
We live in a failed system. Capitalism does not allow for an equitable flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level.
7 A friend tells me that Anthony Green said on the radio last week that the ‘undecided’ section is not any different to any recent election. He also noted that most election campaigns don’t change anything – the vote on the day reflects the split polling revealed at the start of the campaign – however, he did acknowledge that 2019 was the exception to that rule.
8 When he was in parliament, Fred Chaney was one of the most respected men in the halls of power. He is on the record that the liberal party he joined in 1958 was different from today’s party. Today it is more controlled. He intends, like many other former Liberals, to vote independent.
9 In a wide-ranging interview with Guardian Australia on the hustings this week, the Labor leader said all of his colleagues were worthy of their current roles, “… but we are certainly not getting ahead of ourselves.”
10 Amid all the banter, debates, interviews and discussion, I feel that the importance of this election is being lost.
11 I agree with George Megalogenis when he says that under Scott Morrison, Australia has lost credibility on the world stage. The news that Scott Morrison has not spoken to the Solomon Islands prime minister since calling the election condemns him as just an ignorant fool without the skills required for international diplomacy.
On losing friends and influence. How Australia shrank on Scott Morrison's watch. Column in The Age and SMH. https://t.co/4mnLHL0xd3
— George Megalogenis (@GMegalogenis) May 7, 2022
12 The prime minister is such a liability in progressive Liberal seats that he ignores them to campaign in marginal Labor seats. Go figure. He is an in-your-face Prime Minister who is on course to lose to an unknown contender without baggage. He is so unpopular that he can only try popular things.
13 Why is Morrison desperately avoiding a debate shown on the National Broadcaster? Well, there isn’t anything in it for him. Not only that, but he is refusing to appear on the ABC’s Q&A. Not a good look when you are behind in the polls.
14 Research by Climate Analytics tells us that the Morrison government’s climate change commitments are consistent with more than 3C of global heating, bordering on 4C. This level would lead to catastrophic damage across the planet.
15 Here are five stark policy differences between the two major parties. Paul Daley writing for The Guardian, answers those who say there is little policy difference between the two parties.
(i) The road to reconciliation.
(ii) Countering corruption.
(iii) Social policy ambitions.
(iv) Caring for the elderly.
(v) Who would best lead a minority.
16 Try as she might, Lisa Millar on ABC News Breakfast, could not extract an answer from Stuart Robert as to why taxpayers are forking out half a million dollars to Alan Tudge’s former staffer Rachelle Miller. It seems Mr Tudge has gone into hiding in case he is asked a question.
17 Kevin Rudd continues his investigation into Murdoch’s monopoly and sets the tone for TV, radio and online news.
Murdoch’s “Australian” attacks Albo for ‘diving deeper into debt’! Memo to Murdoch: when we left office in 2013, debt stood at $184B. Before the pandemic, Morrison doubled this, and under his reckless spending we’re hurtling towards $1 trillion of debt. Murdoch is full of shit. https://t.co/ttkNpmIAid
— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) May 9, 2022
My previous diary entry: When change seems to be the only course of action
My thought for the day
I find it impossible to imagine that the Australian people could be so gullible as to elect for a fourth term a government that has performed so miserably in the first three. Especially when it has amongst its members some of the most devious, suspicious and corrupt men and women, but they could.
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