mandate Josh Frydenberg
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

LAST MINUTE CUTS, ANYONE?

The Liberal Party is today planning to announce last minute budget saving measures to pay for its spending promises, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will reveal a plan to fund the Coalition’s campaign promises — including the $308.6 million expansion in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and a $36.4 million increase to the Farm Household Allowance — while allegedly leaving the budget “no worse off”.

Labor has urged the government to “come clean” on its budget plan, suggesting that cuts will be needed to fund the latest promises. With the Liberal Party ruling out a tax increase, this looks likely to be the case.

LNP: CIVIL WAR EDITION

Coalition unity is being tested as both Liberals and Nationals urge voters to vote below the line for their respective candidates on their joint NSW senate ticket. 

Liberal senator Jim Molan has been urging supporters to vote below the line as he sits in the virtually unwinnable fourth spot on a joint Coalition ticket. Though this is supposedly Molan’s own “rogue” campaign, audio and video have emerged of various Liberal figures, including member for Bennelong John Alexander, advising voters to support Molan.

In a Wednesday email, the NSW Nationals urged their members to do the same for Perin Davey, who sits in a more generous third spot, saying they had “no choice but to follow suit.” A militant Barnaby Joyce told The New Daily that the Liberal Party had “fired the first shot” and threatened the viability of the Coalition.

THE MOST IMPORTANT POLL

The final Guardian Essential poll of the 2019 campaign has Labor leading 51.5-48.5 on the two-party preferred measure. Australia’s less-preferred prime minister Bill Shorten closed the gap to 39-32 — the closest it has ever been between himself and Scott Morrison. Both parties’ primary votes are up, with the Coalition’s now at 38.5% and Labor’s at 36.2%, and 59% of respondents think Labor will win on Saturday.

More tellingly, however, has been the “resounding Labor victory” predicted by Burt the psychic croc. The NT News’ “chief electoral analyst” took less than 30 seconds to choose, impressive considering his perfect federal record — the paper notes that Burt successfully predicted Malcolm Turnbull’s 2016 victory.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

If Bill Shorten gets in, it’s the end of life as we know it. Honestly, without question.

Kerri-Anne Kennerley

The Studio 10 host is honestly not being dramatic ahead of Saturday’s election.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

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Electoral Commission warns record number of early votes could delay results

US orders ‘non-emergency’ government employees to leave Iraq

Tech giants pledge unprecedented action to tackle terrorist content

Two of MP’s former staffers say they asked Scott Morrison to help resolve their complaints

Scott Morrison makes fresh play for influential Chinese vote

Bill Shorten: ‘I have been running since I was a teen … I know I can do this’ ($)

‘Everywhere else lost people’: migrants moving out of regional Australia

Clive Palmer gag clause: QN workers told to make no ‘disparaging comments’ if they want entitlements

Liberal candidate Phillip Fusco may be dual US citizen, Labor warns

Australians’ Medicare details illegally sold on darknet – two years after breach exposed

Neighbours discuss ‘global catastrophe’, pointing finger of blame at Australia

Jane Goodall calls for greater action on climate change ahead of federal election

Australia can be ‘superpower of post carbon world’, says Ross Garnaut

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

The road to deportation: inside the Biloela family’s 15-month detention

“Yesterday Priya, the Sri Lankan mother of two young girls from Biloela in Queensland, was at the first play group session her daughters have been allowed to attend since they were removed from their Queensland home last year. Tharnicaa (nearly two) and Kopika (four) had been thrilled to go in the van with Serco guards. It was the first time the girls had left detention for anything besides an urgent medical appointment in 15 months.”


Meet the Labor candidate trying to unseat Abbott

“Harris, on the other hand, is an audio-book of the Labor policy pitch — a compelling speaker, but is so relentlessly on message, so policy-focused that you can feel the energy start to drain from crowds who have been hepped up on big, personal, unequivocal statements. This is not really Harris’ fault. Considering Labor’s prospects federally (expected to win an increasingly tight race) and the party’s prospects in Warringah (never come close in 97 years), Labor needs a disciplined candidate who knows the lines and sticks to them. The last thing Shorten needs in the last few weeks of the campaign is a day fending off questions because a candidate in an unwinnable seat says something weird, or offensive, or just contrary to the party line.”


The five final steps to a Labor victory

“Stay off of Liberal turf. Stop talking about the ALP producing big budget surpluses. No one except convinced ALP voters believe that one.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

A one-man-band win would elevate Morrison to legend Niki Savva (The Australian): “Morrison’s single-minded ded­i­cation to the job at hand and single­-handed execution of it has succeeded in dragging the government back from oblivion. Because he has made the campaign all about himself, more so than any of his predecessors ever dared, if he wins he will have more authority over the government and the ­Liberal Party than even Howard did after he defeated Mark Latham in 2004. Morrison will both lead and control the government. But it will not be without its challenges.”

How serious are Shorten and Morrison about domestic violence? Sherele Moody (The Daily Telegraph): “Less than one week out from the election, we need to ask ourselves how can we have come so far in the battle to end domestic violence and never had a federal government dedicate more than a $110 million a year to the problem?”

Whoever wins on Saturday, Daniel Andrews can’t lose Noel Towell (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Because Victoria’s new-ish status as a battleground state, a place where national elections can be won or lost, is here to stay and if you want to reach Victorian voters these days, you have to go through Daniel Andrews. Unfortunately for Morrison, Andrews wants his new mate Bill Shorten to win the election.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Australia

  • The blackout of all election ads on radio and television will come into effect at midnight.

Canberra

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison will address the National Press Club.

Melbourne

  • Famous artworks by Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Vincent van Gogh, Keith Haring, Franciso Goya and more will be “escaping their frames” and “coming to life” ahead of the Opera Australia’s upcoming production of Il Viaggio a Reims.

  • Melbourne City Mission will host its seventh annual “Sleep At The G”, the mass-fundraising event aimed at putting homelessness in Victoria to bed.

Sydney

  • Bill Shorten will make the last major speech of his campaign at Bowman Hall in Blacktown, where Gough Whitlam delivered his famous 1972 “It’s Time” speech, in a nod to Labor history.

  • GWS coach Leon Cameron will be joined by NSW Minister for Sport and Multiculturalism John Sidoti to launch the Welcome Game at GIANTS Stadium.

  • Housewives of Warringah will take their ironing boards to the streets to remind people of Tony Abbott’s out-of-touch and dated views on women.

  • Carla Zampatti, Australia’s “first lady of fashion”, will host the finale of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, including a performance by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.

Launceston

  • Launceston nurses and midwives will host a rally and press conference at Launceston General Hospital in a lengthy wages and conditions dispute with the state government.