Religion has continued to capture the federal election campaign conversation with Scott Morrison accusing Bill Shorten of taking a “cheap shot” at him over Monday’s “do gay people go to hell?” non-answer, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
While Morrison clarified that he does not, in fact, believe that gay people go to hell, he added, “I’m not running for Pope, I’m running for prime minister.” Shorten — along with much of the media — had leapt on the comments, with the opposition leader telling reporters, “I cannot believe that the Prime Minister has not immediately said that gay people will not go to hell,” adding that he himself did not need a law to tell him.
TRUMP PROUD OF BARR
U.S. Attorney-General William Barr has ordered an inquiry into the origins of the Russia investigation, to determine whether surveillance on the Trump campaign was “lawful and appropriate”.
Donald Trump said he was “proud” of Barr for appointing Connecticut prosecutor John Durham to conduct the inquiry, according to Bloomberg. It’s the third inquiry to date into the origins of the Mueller probe, Reuters notes, amid a broad effort to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the FBI.
The House Judiciary Committee last week voted to recommend holding Barr in contempt of congress for his response to a subpoena relating to the handling of Mueller’s report.
THE OTHER EARLY BIRDS
One in six Australians have already voted as of Tuesday morning according to the AEC, with 2.6 million early votes being cast — almost double that of the last federal election, the ABC reports.
Both major parties have expressed concern about the election’s three-week pre-poll period, with both hinting at a post-election review of early voting. As Crikey noted, a delayed result on election night may been seen to affect the eventual winner’s mandate and authority in office.
The AEC has previously promised that the record number of pre-poll votes will be counted on election night and will not lead to a delay.
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THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Paul Keating almost destroyed my Dad’s small business with his heartless mismanagement of the economy & he inspired me to join the Liberal Party.
READ ALL ABOUT IT
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“Some politicians surprise you when you meet them. Abbott, on the other hand — notwithstanding that this is campaigner/media Abbott — is exactly as you picture him. That throaty little “ah” which sits like a verbal comma in his speech. His tendency to fall into a deathly, distant stare when he’s not talking, like he’s remembering some terrible, terrible sight he’s seen. That awkward looming presence of his, an odd mix of imposing, powerful physicality, and a distracting discomfort in his own skin.”
“This is an election Labor should have locked down weeks ago; that it could still lose at this point despite its opponent being a literal one-man band with no policies suggests the Labor campaign strengths we’ve been hearing about for months are more imaginary than real.”
“What’s so frustrating about ScoMoBank is that it’s of a piece with how bad, inept, idiotic housing policy has been in Australia for decades. A desperate political party, which has been waging war on young Australians on behalf of wealthy older voters on climate change, on taxation, on health insurance, on housing, on education, decides at five minutes to midnight it needs to make a token effort to pretend to give a damn about people under 30, and proffers a half-arsed policy without research, modelling or cabinet consideration, one that if it actually works will just add another subsidy to the demand side of the equation on housing.”
Open letter to Australia from Bob Hawke ($) – Bob Hawke (as shared in The Australian): “While Bill’s political opponents argue his trade union background is a liability for a future Prime Minister, I consider it an asset, as it was for me. It gives him the experience to achieve consensus with business, unions and community-based organisations for the challenges that lie ahead.”
A politician always wins, but this time the choice really matters – Ross Gittins (The Age): “It’s true that, if you judge the pollies by the way they behave, they’re just as bad as each other. Both sides refuse to answer the question, never say yes or no when they could dissemble, keep saying tricky things calculated to mislead, claim to “feel your pain” when they don’t, keep badmouthing each other and answering a question about their policies by attacking their opponents’ policies, and make promises they’re not sure they can keep.”
Careful what you wish for, Abbott haters – Maurice Newman (The Australian): “This intense, sustained attack on Abbott is probably unprecedented and has done serious damage to his re-election prospects. So significant has been the diversion of resources, it has taken pressure off candidates in other Coalition seats.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Postal vote applications will close at 6pm ahead of the federal election.
The Fair Work Commission will hold a hearing into minimum wages. ACTU president Michele O’Neill will address the hearing.
The CFMEU will protest at Port Adelaide’s historic Shed 26 as developers seek to push ahead with demolition.
Federal Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher and Country Liberal Candidate for Solomon Kathy Ganley will make a funding announcement for young NT jobseekers.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will address a Perth business breakfast during a campaign stop.
We Ride Australia will host its 2019 Bicycle Summit and Cycling Luminaries Awards, with award winners to be announced at a gala dinner.
Nationals Senator Steve Martin and Braddon candidate Sally Milbourne will announce work beginning on female change rooms in Devonport. Martin and Lyons candidate Deanna Hutchinson will also announce election commitments for the southern midlands council.