Australian federal election 2022 live: Coalition narrows Labor’s lead in polls; Albanese to speak at press club | Australian election 2022

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‘The response we are getting from pre-poll is really encouraging,’ says Scott Morrison

Q: There has been a massive amount of prepoll votes cast, I think one in five voters, why do you think voters are in such a hurry to vote and youth think they have a ready made their mind up about you and want selection over and done with?

Scott Morrison is very upbeat:

The same thing happened last election, it just a longer time. Pre-poll has gone from three weeks to two weeks, and people will be a lot of different places on polling day and we have seen about a third or thereabouts of people prepoll now before elections, and I would be expecting it to be about the same, it has just been done over a shorter period of time, and I have to tell you the response getting from people is really encouraging, and I thank all of our workers who are out there, having those conversations, and I tell you what, if you want to get access to your superannuation, to help you or your kids buy a home, the only way that will happen is if you vote Liberal National at this election because Labor will never ever let you do it because the unions will never let them do it.

I want you to be in charge of your money, the Labor Party doesn’t think it is your money, they think it belongs to somebody else, and that they can tell you where to spend your money like Labor always does, that’s why they like higher taxes*, because they think your money is better in their pockets than it is in your own.

*This is not true. This government is the second highest taxing government since the Howard government (which was the highest taxing)

Asked about rental prices, Scott Morrison talks about policies to help people build and buy houses.

Q: Isn’t it a fact that everything is going up except for real wages?

Scott Morrison:

Wages are going up. Inflation is the challenge. Wages are going to go up because unemployment is coming down.

And unemployment has fallen to 4% in this country and we will find out later this week where he goes to the most recent data. Youth unemployment has fallen to 8.3%. There are 40,000 more people in jobs today on this side of the pandemic then there was before.

This is the strongest employment performance of any of the best economies in the more importantly, we have just gone through an economic downturn because of the pandemic that was 30 times worse, globally, but what the global financial crisis was when Labor was last in power. In our employment performance is 50% better than what Labor was able to achieve.

The way wages goes up is when you get unemployment down and get businesses that are able to earn more so they can afford and pay higher wages. I want to see wages go up. I want to see the minimum wage go up. Of course I do. But how that is sad is going to have to be done carefully and don’t away by the Fair Work Commission because they will be thinking carefully about all the forces that are there in the economy.

The economy has so many moving parts at the moment. And you have to be careful. Otherwise, all you will end up doing is pushing interest rates up even higher. Pushing the cost of living up.

… It seems from Jim Chalmers they are happy to be loose with finance because that pushes up inflation which makes that real wage challenge even more difficult.

Q: We have seen petrol prices go back past $2 a day. Can you level with Australians and confirm that if you are elected, the petrol excise will rise by around 22 cents in September?

Scott Morrison:

That is the position.

Q: So 22 cents in September if you are elected.

Morrison:

That is the position of both parties in this election. What we will watch closely over this period of time is what continues to happen with petrol prices. We put in the budget a six-month period of halving the fuel excise. We did that on the basis of treasury’s advice about what they believe would happen with fuel prices over the period of time.

Now they actually fell a lot faster than we anticipated and those savings were passed through a lot more quickly by the big petrol companies and we appreciate that. We have seen prices go up, we may well see them go down again.

Because they are all being driven by a lot of these forces that are going on in the global economy. So we’re only one month in, a month and a bit in. We will see this volatility and watch that. I tell you what, if you don’t know how to manage money, you can’t halve the fuel excise. That is what we have done because we know how to manage money. Labor doesn’t know how to manage money. It’s why they are such a risk to you and your family and the cost of living pressures you will face.

Scott Morrison is now trying out a new line: “Anthony Albanese doing the full Forrest Gump.

I take it he means running? Morrison often turns to Forrest Gump for inspiration. Movies in general.

Scott Morrison press conference

The polls might be tightening, but one thing has remained constant – women voters have not warmed up to Scott Morrison. So for the last few days, Jenny Morrison has been on the campaign trail. Mrs Morrison is on the campaign this morning as Scott Morrison does another sanitised campaign stop at a housing estate. (The pattern has been housing estate, followed by over 55s community as a quick pit stop.)

Morrison is still talking housing, and the Coalition’s super for housing policy (which on the headline detail, has proven attractive to people).

Morrison is standing up very early this morning – he is getting ahead of the wage data which is coming out at 11.30 this morning. Saves all those pesky questions on it when the actual figures come in.

Morrison is laying the groundwork for the government take on the wage data:

The shadow treasurer is running around saying a couple of billion dollars here and there over a year is not much. It’s not a big deal. Well, it is a big deal, Jim. It’s a very big deal. And that’s how we think about it. you can’t be loose with the nation’s finances. You can’t be loose with your understanding of the economy because what that does is that puts further pressure on Australian families that puts further pressure on the cost of living.

Soooooo the $5.5bn for the submarine is a big deal? Carpark rorts? An extra $27m for a piece of land worth $3m?

Union boss Sally McManus also spoke to the ABC this morning, where she was asked whether Anthony Albanese, if he was elected, would have to focus on raising wages:

Absolutely he’ll need to because there’s a final opportunity to do so. Today is actually the hearing day, like the major hearing day, it’s the last opportunity to do so just before the decision.

Unfortunately most of the considerations of the Fair Work Commission have happened over the last couple of weeks and it has been Scott Morrison’s government who has put in their submission and this submission has a whole section that talks about the value of low-paid work and why it’s good because it’s a stepping stone for high-paid work. Well, tell that to an aged care worker.

Australia slaps more sanctions on Russia over Ukraine invasion

Ben Butler

Ben Butler

The foreign minister, Marise Payne, has slapped sanctions on additional Russian politicians, businesspeople, media figures and organisations, including the notorious Wagner private military company, over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Among those included in the new sanctions, imposed yesterday, are one of Russia’s most prominent TV personalities, Sergey Brilyov, and Aleksandr Zharov, the chief executive of the country’s biggest media group, Gazprom Media holding.

Also banned is the St Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, better known as Russia’s “troll farm”; the company was indicted by US authorities for meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Wagner, which has operated in both Syria and Ukraine, has been linked by Guardian reporting to far-right groups including the white supremacist Russian Imperial Movement.

The RIM was itself sanctioned yesterday as part of a separate action taken against far-right terror groups. Also sanctioned under this measure were two US groups, The Base and the National Socialist Order (which is probably better known as Atomwaffen Division) and the UK’s Sonnenkrieg Division.

PM continues sanitised campaign tactics

Paul Karp

Paul Karp

Scott Morrison is visiting a housing estate in Armstrong Creek, south of Geelong in the Labor held marginal of Corangamite. With him is Jenny, Sarah Henderson, and Stephanie Asher, Liberal candidate for Corangamite.

In attendance are several first homebuyers and Connor North, a tradie who used the early release of super during the pandemic who has said he would support accessing his super again to purchase his own home.

This is the formula: no unknown people or samples of the general public, no street walks, nothing uncontrolled. Pre-vetted happy first homebuyers or aspirants only.

David Littleproud, reminded of the people governments do employ, is asked about the increase to the efficiency dividend which will see the APS have to make further cuts:

Public service shouldn’t be exempt from running the ruler over about how they’re spending money over accommodation or technology. That’s what businesses do. That’s what the Australian public service should do. It’s a privilege to work for the Australian government and Australian people. It doesn’t make you exempt from running the ruler over like businesses have to do every day. To make sure they continue to provide and sell the services to the customer who is the Australian people. No reason why the Australian public service shouldn’t do that.

(To be clear the APS do do this, regularly. There is a lot of justification needed for travel and upgrades (including OH&S) already, and there was an early adaption of virtual meetings to cut down on travel.)

David Littleproud says best way to address cost of living ‘is to have a job’

David Littleproud also claimed that “government’s don’t employ people” (which might be news to the 2.1 million or so public service employees across the nation).

Littleproud:

Well, the best way to be able to attack the cost of living as an individual is to have a job and we have been able to bring that unemployment rate down now for 4% and hopefully it will have a “three” in front of it soon.

That’s put tension in the marketplace where employers have had to pay more to keep their employers or get new ones.

That’s what we have been able to do in the economy, not just shoot at the hip and put it at 5.1%. There’ll be unintended consequences for that.

You have to work with the Fair Work Commission, which the Labor party set up as the independent arbiter and they take into account much of those factors, those economic factors, around inflation, around interest rates, around unemployment rates.

You need to make sure you’re methodical around this. If you shoot from the hip you can have an unintended consequence.

We’d like to see this – we want to make sure the Fair Work Commission does that but the best way we can do that is to make sure we drive unemployment down by growing the pie, investing in businesses who employ people. Governments don’t employ people, businesses do and so what we tried to do is do that and we have done it, achieved it, over a million new jobs we have been able to create.

We’ve got more people in employment now than before the pandemic. Australians should be damn proud. And that just doesn’t happen overnight. There’s no silver bullet to this and we shouldn’t think there’s any silver bullet. It takes calm, methodical work to make sure you get the foundations right. That’s what we have done.

Real wage growth has been stagnant in Australia since before the pandemic, and lags many in the OECD.

Minister for agriculture David Littleproud.
Minister for agriculture David Littleproud. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Given the billions Barnaby Joyce has been spending on the Wombat trail (the Nationals campaign trail) is this an example of what we can expect the Nationals to get every time there is a climate rumble?

David Littleproud:

This is an acknowledgment from the government of what regional and rural Australia has done over the last 2.5 years and what it will continue to do.

We paid the bills for this nation. The resources and agricultural sector – while many industries sadly were put under the doona for a couple of years, agriculture and the resource sectors paid the bills.

So what our budget is about is empowering that growth of where we actually find the new frontiers of growth in our economy and invariably that’s in northern Australia where we’ll build water and dams, infrastructure to actually grow agriculture, but we’ll fill in those supply chain gaps in our infrastructure to make sure we can get our product from a pit or a paddock to port. So we can pay the bills to have those services that Australians enjoy and want to improve. And that’s what we have decided in terms of our budget is an acknowledgement of what regional and rural Australia does.

All this is is an investment in Australia’s future. Not just regional Australia’s future because that is a return on investment to the Australian taxpayer that they get back in better services.



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