There may not have been a clear winner of the leaders’ second debate in the federal election campaign, but there were certainly triumphs and difficult moments for the prime minister and the opposition leader when they faced off.
Here are some of the key issues debated by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese in The Great Debate in a 60 minutes special on Sunday night.
Unsurprisingly, the first question for the duo was about how each leader would alleviate the rising cost of living that affects people across the country.
The prime minister cited “international factors”, such as the war in Europe and the COVID-19 pandemic, having a big impact on the price of groceries, fuel and other essentials.
“We can’t control all the forces that come from abroad, but what we can do, by managing money well, pushes inflation down,” Morrison said.
He also said the Coalition will not extend the fuel tax beyond six months.
Albanese said the fuel tax was a “temporary measure” and essentially confirmed that Labor would not extend it if elected.
“We said we’re going to hold the same position on this,” he said.
The opposition leader said his party will focus on job security.
When asked if this week’s interest rate hike was his job – the prime minister again referred to external pressures.
Albanese was then asked why the Labor Party is attacking the government for its spending but matching it in many policy areas.
He pointed to investments in areas such as day care and other female-dominated industries, which Labor says will ease the pressure on inflation.
Likewise, the leaders were asked about the price of electricity and soon started yelling at each other.
The labor leader accused the PM of not having a plan for the Snowy Hydro 2.0 to be connected to the grid on opening day, which the PM denied.
“It won’t, you don’t have a plan to get on the grid on day one and that’s the problem,” said Albanese.
“The easiest fruit, you didn’t touch. The easiest fruit when it comes to fixing energy in this country is fixing the transmission.”
The pair then yelled at each other for about 30 seconds before Abo interrupted telling them, “We’ve given both of us latitude. Plenty of time to discuss this topic.”
Nine political editor Chris Uhlmann asked the prime minister about his leadership, saying he should unite his party.
“The hard truth is that a lot of people don’t like you,” he said, adding that people on Morrison’s political side called him a hypocrite, a liar and a horrible person.
“When I became prime minister, our party needed to be united and that’s what I did,” Morrison replied.
“We haven’t seen the revolving door under my leadership.”
“How do you define a woman?” Deb Knight asked the leaders.
Morrison said, “A female member.”
Albanese’s definition was “an adult woman”, which he said he didn’t find “confusing”.
Knight then asked a question about the women’s issues that dominated the last parliamentary year but weren’t mentioned much during the election campaign.
“Prime Minister, do you have a problem attracting women, do you think?” she asked.
Morrison responded by citing statistics on the rate of domestic violence against women, citing government funding in this area and for diseases that predominantly affect women.
The PM was asked whether the issue of the treatment of women in parliament has been resolved.
“No, I don’t believe it’s been resolved,” he said.
Albanese was asked why he would not investigate the late Senator Kimberley Kitching’s allegations of bullying.
He described her death as a “tragedy” and referenced the Kate Jenkins [email protected] report, saying the Labor Party would implement recommendations to improve the safety of women at work.
The main political correspondent of the The Sydney Morning Herald and The ageDavid Crowe asked leaders what they are doing to help young Australians facing “rising rents, out-of-reach housing prices, student debt”.
One leader talked about housing while the other focused on jobs.
“Young people are making it very difficult, no doubt,” said Albanese.
He said the Labor Party has a “comprehensive plan”, including increasing investment in social housing through an additional 20,000 housing.
“We have a plan for 10,000 affordable housing for essential workers,” he said, before Crowe pointed out that the policy is for all Australians, not just young people.
Morrison said, “The biggest thing I think we can do for young Australians is make sure they get jobs.”
“That’s why we have 800,000 training spots as part of our budget just this year, and that’s securing these $3.7 billion worth of training spots that come on top of the support we’ve received from apprentices in commercial training. “, he said.
“We have more apprentices in commercial training today, 220,000 of them, than since records began in 1963.
Photos reminiscent of federal politicians
Morrison said his mission was to “put young Australians to work”.
“I know, as a minister of social services, that if you don’t get a job for a young person in their 20s, the chance of them spending their entire lives in well-being increases,” he said.
After a fluctuating vote count, the final numbers had the leaders sitting neck-to-neck at 50% when nine spectators were asked who won the debate.