GRACosway Campaign Diary
10 May 2019
- The latest Newspoll shows Labor maintains its lead over the Coalition on a two-party preferred basis, 51 to 49.
- The Reserve Bank decided on Tuesday to keep interest rates on hold at 1.5 per cent for the 30th consecutive meeting.
- As of Thursday, around 1.64 million Australians had already cast their vote, compared to just over 900,000 at the same stage of the 2016 election campaign.
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in Rockhampton this morning, where he announced $30 million for a new CQUniversity School of Mines and Manufacturing.
- The Government is also expected to announce a plan to reduce the spot price in the national electricity market to $70/MWh in the next two years in a bid to reduce power prices.
- Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is also in Queensland, visiting the Cairns Aquarium this morning and announcing Far North Queensland as a Renewable Energy Zone.
- Fifteen independent candidates have joined together to create a television advertisement showcasing their commitment to working collaboratively in the parliament and encouraging tougher action on climate change.
- Reports suggest a total of 19 candidates have resigned or been removed by their party this election campaign, with another Victorian Liberal candidate resigning over a social media post while a Greens candidate in the NT remains under a cloud
The final stretch
With just over a week until election day, the race to the finish line is on and both leaders are preparing for the final sprint down the home straight. Monday’s Newspoll showed Labor maintains its two-point lead over the Coalition on a two-party preferred basis, while losing one percentage point off its primary vote. Betting agencies have strengthened the odds of a Labor win, with one punter even placing a $1 million bet on a Labor victory. Labor will today release its policy costings, which are expected to show $154 billion in savings over a decade as a result of the Party’s plans to curtail negative gearing, capital gains tax concessions and franking credits.
The campaign reached a crescendo on Tuesday when a woman attempted to egg Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a Country Women’s Association event in Albury. The woman – who was reportedly protesting the detention of refugees on Manus Island – was arrested and later charged over the incident. Speaking to reporters later in the day, the PM said “we’ve just got to disagree better about these things”, while Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described the egging as “appalling and disgraceful behaviour”. Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph ran a front page story on Tuesday accusing Mr Shorten of omitting details about his mother’s career during an appearance on the ABC’s Q&A program the previous night. The Opposition Leader hit back in an emotional press conference, which some commentators have described as a turning point in the campaign. Mr Shorten condemned the newspaper for its “gotcha” report, while sharing more about his mother’s life and her experience in the workforce. PM Scott Morrison extended his best wishes to Mr Shorten, saying the election is “not about our families”.
Shorten crowned debate champion
The final two debates of the campaign were held over the past week, with the leaders laying out their competing visions for the nation. Last Friday night saw the Sky News People’s Forum in Brisbane, where Bill Shorten accused the PM of invading his personal space during a heated exchange about tax. Mr Shorten was narrowly declared the winner of the debate with the backing of 43 audience members, while 41 chose the PM and 16 were undecided. The final debate was held on Wednesday night at the National Press Club in Canberra, where the leaders canvassed issues such as childcare, climate change, freedom of speech and national security. The leaders also had the opportunity to ask each other two questions during the debate, with all four questions focused on Labor’s policy commitments.
Campaign launches make headlines
Labor held its official campaign launch in Brisbane on Sunday, using the opportunity to present a united front to voters and announcing commitments on youth mental health, hospitals and tax incentives for small business. Mr Shorten was introduced by his wife Chloe, who described the Opposition Leader as “a wonderful dad, a terrible dancer, and a very proud bulldog owner”. In a rare display of solidarity, former Labor leaders Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard entered the event together, trailed by former PM Paul Keating. The Liberal Party campaign launch will be held in Melbourne this Sunday, with details being tightly held due to security concerns. The event clashes with Mother’s Day, prompting criticism from some quarters. Meanwhile, the PM’s wife Jenny Morrison was in the spotlight at a Liberal Party rally last weekend, where she spoke about mental health and the challenges of solo parenting while Mr Morrison was away in Canberra, as part of the Coalition’s attempts to sharpen its pitch to women.
Coalition seat-by-seat strategy
The Coalition’s narrative continues to focus on its proposed income tax cuts and prudent economic management, supplemented by smaller localised funding announcements. On Sunday, the Government announced plans to crack down on online trolls and increase punishments for the exploitation of children online. Under the proposal, people found guilty of using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence would be jailed for up to five years, instead of three. In health, the Government committed $128 million to redevelop Shellharbour Hospital in NSW. The PM also announced $5 million to promote the ‘Australian Made’ logo overseas, as well as a new Manufacturing Modernisation Fund to stimulate “at least $160 million worth of business investment” in new technologies and processes.
Labor announcements roll on
Labor has announced a policy to stamp out multinational tax avoidance by denying deductions to companies that send royalties to overseas tax havens and establishing a Tax Haven Blacklist to “appropriately vet investments from countries that fail to comply with international standards”. In a bid to encourage greater workplace participation, Labor has also committed to provide a tax break to small businesses with an annual turnover under $10 million when they employ young and older workers. Another tax break on Labor’s agenda is $170 million for businesses that collaborate with universities and government scientists on innovation, with businesses eligible for an additional 10 per cent research and development tax incentive.