Budget

DEBATES AND SCANDALS

Bill Shorten has won the audience vote against Scott Morrison in an election debate which featured the economics of action/inaction on climate change, tax reform, government services, party preferences, refugee policies and a “gotcha” question on the cost of electric cars.

The debate comes amidst a number of escalating election scandals, ranging from but not limited to: Morrison dodging questions over Clive Palmers’ preferences and unpaid workers while Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack spruiks a Nationals and One Nation preference deal that “just makes sense”; news of Barnaby Joyce sacking an agriculture boss in a self-declared power move amidst new “watergate” details; union demands for Bill Shorten to extend the childcare payment subsidy to health workers; and a Courier-Mail ($) report that Pauline Hanson is expected to sack Queensland leader Steve Dickson over footage of him touching a dancer and uttering sexual and racial slurs at a US strip club.

INVESTIGATIONS CONTINUE IN SRI LANKA

As investigations into the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks continue, President Maithripala Sirisena’s office has introduced a ban on any clothing that prevents identification, such as niqabs and burqas, under the current state of emergency.

The Washington Post, via The Australian ($), reports that military chiefs are monitoring six targets that they believe could be hit as early as today by Islamic State sympathisers who allegedly worked with the bombers, an alleged link Sirisena confirmed in an interview with CNN last night.

POET LES MURRAY DIES AT 80

Legendary Australian poet Les Murray has reportedly died peacefully at the age of 80 at a nursing home at Taree on NSW’s north coast.

The ABC reports that Murray, or “The Bard of Bunyah”, had published nearly 30 volumes of poetry, such as The Ilex Tree, Translations from the Natural World and Waiting for the Past, for which he won, but was uneasy with, a slew of accolades. Murray has also been mourned quite beautifully by The Conversation’s David McCooey, and is survived by his his wife Valerie and five children.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

I’m not suggesting the Greens are terrorists, I’m suggesting they hate our society and their policies are insane.

Greg Sheridan

The Australian’s foreign editor defends equating the Greens with Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer after being fact-checked by Crikey’s managing editor Bhakthi Puvanenthiran on Q&A.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Labor reveals price tag for resolving childcare tensions

“The childcare policies unveiled by Labor yesterday are eye-poppingly big: $4 billion across the forward estimates on subsidies. Half a billion to increase the pay of childcare workers over the forwards — but rising to $10 billion over the next decade as a long-term commitment to a 20% real increase kicks in. It’s a colossal intervention in the sector, and one that deserves more debate than purely about Labor’s political tactics.”


Palmer’s preference deal with the Libs is important for two reasons

“The preference deal between Clive Palmer and the Liberals, expected to be announced with great fanfare by Palmer today, is likely to prove significant in two ways — neither of which involve the actual flow of preferences from the former to the latter.”


Do voters still care about the leaders’ debates?

“Tonight Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten will face off in the first television leaders’ debate of the election campaign. But don’t expect huge ratings or any big, vote-swinging zingers. Instead, tonight’s edition — shunted onto Seven’s second channel — will likely show just how far debates have fallen in importance to the election campaign.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Conflict of interest complaint as RSL revealed to own Tabcorp shares

Migrants to the rescue of Victoria’s economy as housing slump digs in

Liberal candidate Gladys Liu criticised work ethic of non-Chinese migrants

Minister slams ‘diabolical’ Labor R&D pledge ($)

Turnbull’s son dragged into fake polling stoush

Median house prices in all but two of Australia’s capital cities decline in March quarter

Multiple rival broadcaster urging Alan Jones to consider offers to leave 2GB ($)

‘Anyone can buy an ad’: Unions mobilise thousand of volunteers in marginal seats in wages campaign

Queensland hospital boss Stephen Ayre sacked amid overcrowding crisis ($)

John Ibrahim and the tattooed visitor

THE COMMENTARIAT

The wage rates are too low and turnover is too high — Samantha Page (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Childcare, or early childhood education, is a significant sector in Australia. There are approximately 194 000 people working for more than 15,000 licensed employers, providing education and care to 1.2 million children a year. The sector is equal in size to industry sectors such as mining or telecommunications, but not as well understood.”

It could be game over for farmers and their family-operated businesses ($) — Fiona Simson (The Daily Telegraph): “Contrary to the ACTU’s rhetoric, any changes to the minimum wage would be most acutely felt by small business — the dairy farm already battling to make ends meet or drought-stricken family sheep operation battling to keep fodder on the ground and food on the table.”

Leaders’ debate shows we’re back where we started — stick with the known, or risk the new? — Andrew Probyn (ABC): “If, as Scott Morrison saw it, the purpose of the hour-long affair was to find points of attack on your opponent, then the Prime Minister won it narrowly. But if, as Bill Shorten saw it, the night was an opportunity to give a grand tour of your bold suite of alternative policies, the Labor leader won it handsomely.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack will give an election campaign speech at the National Press Club.

  • The National Rural Health Alliance will launch their Federal Election 2019 Charter.

  • Professionals Australia will host a STEM election forum with former ALP senator/current candidate for Bean David Smith and an as-yet unconfirmed member of the Coalition.

  • The Australian’s Troy Bramston will launch his biography Robert Menzies: the art of politics in conversation with colleague Paul Kelly at an ANU/Canberra Times event.

  • Forum Australia will host forum event “Rise of the Far Right in Australia” with speakers including former Liberal leader John Hewson, journalist Alex Sloan and ACT Multicultural Affairs Minister Chris Steel.

Melbourne

  • Labor’s agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon will deliver an election address at the Rural Press Club of Victoria.

  • The Climate Council will launch a report of the federal government’s “failure” to act on climate change over the past five years.

  • The APRA Music Awards will be held at Melbourne Town Hall.

  • McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery will host Shadow Arts Minister Tony Burke and Labor candidate for Dunkley Peta Murphy for a Q&A on Australian cultural policy.

  • The Greens will host a Q&A event with Kooyong candidate and human rights lawyer Julian Burnside, former Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs and former WA senator Scott Ludlam.

Sydney

  • ACTU secretary Sally McManus will deliver the Lionel Bowen Oration at Souths Juniors Club.

  • Former foreign minister and high commissioner in Britain Alexander Downer will speak in-conversation at Centre for Independent Studies event “Britain after Brexit”.

  • Former Trade Minister Andrew Robb will deliver a keynote to the Australia China Business Council.

  • Quantum physicist Michael Biercuk will deliver ‘Building the Quantum Economy’ as part of the 2019 NSW Science and Research seminar series at Parliament House.

  • The Business Publishing Group will hold the inaugural Australian travel industry Sustainability Summit, to feature a range of speakers including Climate Change Council founder Tim Flannery.

  • Opening day of the 2019 Sydney Writers’ Festival, to run until May 5th.

Brisbane

  • Theoretical Geophysicist at the University of Cambridge Herbert E. Huppert will present “Why scientists and politicians are incompatible” at QUT.

Hobart

  • A family violence candlelight vigil will be held at Parliament House.

Geelong, Victoria

  • 94.7 The Pulse will hold a candidates forum for the electorate of Corangamite, currently held by Assistant Minister for Social Services Sarah Henderson.

Australia

  • Deloitte Access Economics will release a quarterly Investment Monitor report.

  • Events will be held across the country this week as part of World Immunisation Week 2019.