DAY BY DAY
Replacing the head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, holding a job summit with business and unions (hey, it worked for Bob Hawke), and restructuring departments to start writing legislation on climate change, infrastructure, skills, employment, an integrity commission, and Indigenous constitutional recognition — these are the highlights of Labor Leader Anthony Albanese’s 100-day plan should he win on Saturday, The Australian ($) reports.
But there’s work to be done yet — yesterday Albanese flew into western Sydney to support Kristina Keneally against popular independent Dai Le, The Australian ($) reports. No party is preferencing Keneally on their how-to-vote cards except the Greens — so she’ll have to get about 45% of the vote. But the Oz ($) points out even if Liberals come third behind Keneally then Le, preferences from conservative minor parties could rob Labor of the seat. To Higgins in Melbourne’s south-east now, where all the candidates are women — the blue ribbon seat formerly held by two PMs (Harold Holt and John Gorton) is marginal with sitting Liberal member Katie Allen defending the seat against Labor’s Michelle Ananda–Rajah. We’ve seen the likes of Penny Wong, Kevin Rudd, and John Howard all fly in to back their candidates so far — and it’s shaping up to be game of preferences here too: if the Libs take first place with around 30%, Labor or the Greens in second or third place could bolster each other to take the seat, The Age muses.
By the way, is it getting a bit too, erm, personal for Nine Newspapers? Eyebrows were raised when national affairs editor James Massola wrote a breathless story about how Jenny Morrison would win the election (“When she smiles the ice is instantly broken…”), and this morning the paper is running two swooning stories that read like personal references about Morrison and Albanese written by their friends — literally, the PM is godfather to writer Karen Harrington’s kids. Interesting insight into the leaders or a bit too close for comfort? You decide.
CLIMATE OF CONCERN
Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt — who has refused to say whether he accepts climate science — wants more oil and gas projects, WA Today reports. He made the comments at a conference yesterday, where he also didn’t say we need to cut emissions. The paper added that Pitt failed three times to answer whether climate change made floods and droughts worse. Dismal. Meanwhile Australia’s tropical rainforest trees have being “dying at double the previous rate since the 1980s” seemingly because of global warming, a new report has found. Guardian Australia reports the study found the average life of tropical trees in north Queensland had been reduced by about half over the past 35 years. Indeed the BBC has a story this morning about how the climate is making Australia “unlivable”, with record-breaking bushfire and flood events killing more than 500 people and billions of animals in just three years.
And it seems the speed at which our climate is changing is actually outpacing our adaptive measures. Lismore resident Jo Groves told the ABC she raised her home four metres off the ground for flooding but it didn’t help during February’s “one-in-1000-year-floods” — a climate scientist told the broadcaster statistical measures like that are “essentially worthless” now. In more positive news, both Labor Leader Anthony Albanese and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have promised to double the cash for flood recovery in the wake of February’s flood disaster, bringing the total to $1.76 billion to rebuild roads, recreation, accommodation, and fund mental health help, The Courier-Mail ($) reports. It’ll be a welcome development for swathes of Queensland’s south east and NSW’s north, including Lismore who are still dealing with the aftermath, as Guardian Australia reports.
BY THE NUMBERS
Two things we can expect from today — Labor’s costings which will probably show higher debt, and the latest unemployment figures which will probably show the jobless rate has fallen below 4% for the first time since the ’70s. Both would be good news for Prime Minister Scott Morrison as we enter the last two days of the campaign, though it’ll be too late for some 6 million voters (out of 17 million) who have already cast their ballot, the AEC adds via the Newcastle Herald ($).
Could we be about to see a two-tiered minimum wage hike? It would see lowest paid workers get a wage increase while higher wage earners would get a lesser one, as AFR reports this morning. How? Through a flat dollar increase, rather than a percentage — the idea was floated yesterday as a possible salve to the fear that wage increases could be further driving up inflation. It comes as Labor Leader Anthony Albanese called wages increasingly by a measly 2.4% (while inflation is more than double that) “the biggest cuts to real wages in more than 20 years”, SBS reports. Indeed yesterday’s Wage Price Index revealed only 15% of private sector jobs (mostly in real estate and telecommunication) received a pay rise between January and March, the paper adds.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
As we near the end of the election campaign, it’s a time for reflection… on all the extremely funny things that have happened so far. Guardian Australia’s Matilda Boseley did a call-out on Twitter and the answers are a crack up. Firstly, Prime Minister Scott Morrison tackling a child during a game yesterday (it wasn’t even rugby — it was soccer!). Then there was Morrison calling a journalist in a press conference “Mr Speaker”, not once but several times (reminds one of accidentally calling their teacher “mum”, does it not?). The mic drop moment when Greens leader Adam Bandt clapped back with “Google it mate” after a journalist attempted a gotcha! question.
What about when a Josh Frydenberg campaigner did a bang-on kookaburra imitation at the end of a press conference, apropos of nothing? No one will be able to forget CurryGate, when a photograph of Morrison’s homemade korma dinner for his family appeared to include some raw pink chicken. Have you seen One Nation’s how-to-vote card in Hawke that has two boxes labelled 10 and none labelled 8, possibly voiding your vote? And the AEC really found its voice this election, sassing Twitter users left, right, and centre.
Want more? Check out this roundup of the 15 craziest moments in politics ever — there’s former PM Tony Abbott eating a raw onion, then-minister for trade Craig Emerson bursting into song during a serious press conference, the infamous “bonk ban” from Malcolm Turnbull, Bob Katter’s marriage equality speech about a thousand blossoms blooming (but he ain’t spending any more time on it…), and of course, the saucy leaked text messages allegedly sent from Barnaby Joyce’s (married) assistant minister to woman that read “I pull you close, run my strong hands down your back, softly kiss your neck and whisper G’day mate”.
Oh boy, sometimes you gotta laugh. Hope your day brings several more ahead.
He does seem to be getting a bit ahead of himself and, you know, Australians will make this decision, Anthony. You don’t get to make it before the election
Que? Just three days ago the PM told ABC’s Leigh Sales he was refusing to think about any scenario where he doesn’t win Saturday’s election, but figured it was fair game to accuse his opponent Anthony Albanese of getting ahead of himself and being “presumptuous”. The PM has also accused Labor of not having a plan several times — so which is it?
“In an exclusive, Australian-first interview with Crikey, Albo says that he’s lost track of the times that he’s been accidentally mentioned or tagged by people mistaking him for Anthony Albanese, and that it intensified during the election … Large Australian media accounts are among those who mistakenly tag him. Unprompted, Albo mentions that conservative social commentator Prue MacSween tags him more than any other user.
“Albo professes to not understand much about what’s happening in Australian politics. He knows who Albanese is, who’s currently prime minister, and that there’s an election this weekend. The artist has mixed feelings about the election. Despite his lack of familiarity, Albo says he’s rooting for a Labor win because the party’s policies align with his own personal politics. But, he admits, that this would also lead to more confusion online.”
“What does he need? He needs several things to go his way: The teal independents fall short … The Nationals hold off independent challenges in seats like Groom … Expected Labor gains evaporate off the back of a falling Labor vote in the last fortnight of the campaign and the flow of Clive Palmer preferences to the Coalition … Predictions of a surging Greens vote in Queensland, too, cruel Labor: Terri Butler loses Griffith …
“There are surprise gains for the Liberals in NSW: Andrew Charlton loses to his rival, fellow out-of-seat challenger Maria Kovacic; the high-profile Andrew Constance wins in Gilmore (in fact, I wouldn’t tip that as a surprise — I’d wager he’ll win, if not comfortably). That kind of scenario leaves the Coalition on 74 seats.”
“Both party leaders had setpiece events today — the prime minister addressed the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Anthony Albanese addressed the National Press Club (NPC), a traditional pre-election address Scott Morrison is refusing to do, possibly given he was caught out by cost-of-living questions last time he appeared there.
“However, the theme of the day was wages and how Australian workers are falling behind — and fast. The Australian Bureau of Statistics released Wage Price Index (WPI) data for the March quarter this morning, showing wages growth stuck at 0.7%, and 2.4% in the year to March. That means real wages have fallen, on average, by 2.7% over the year to March given the March inflation result of 5.1%. That was manna from heaven for Albanese …”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Tribunal orders gay Balinese woman be deported (NZ Herald)
Dow falls more than 1000 points after disappointing retailer earnings (The Wall Street Journal) ($)
Is Elon Musk actually going to buy Twitter? Can he just walk away? (The Wall Street Journal) ($)
Election 2022: PM turns up heat in battle for super control — Peta Credlin (The Australian) ($): “The Coalition has never been comfortable with compulsory superannuation but has never really known how to deal with it. To the Coalition, people’s super balances have always been their money – not money the government should mobilise for its own objectives such as investing in infrastructure or, indeed, reducing the government’s overall pension liabilities. Hence the Howard government limited planned Hawke–Keating era increases in further mandatory contributions; and later the Abbott government postponed planned Rudd–Gillard era ones.
“Still, backed by most economists’ enthusiasm for a large pool of national savings, compulsory super has continued to grow despite most Liberals’ instinct that the money really belongs to the individuals who earn it, not to the government that takes it away or to the funds that manage it massively to their own benefit as well as that of superannuants. Scott Morrison’s 11th-hour election bid to give first-home buyers access to up to $50,000 of their existing super savings towards a deposit has injected a rare note of philosophical difference into a campaign previously characterised by both sides’ attempt to scratch electoral itches by throwing government money at them.”
The MAGA formula is getting darker and darker — Thomas B. Edsall (The New York Times): “The chilling amalgam of Christian nationalism, white replacement theory and conspiratorial zeal — from QAnon to the ‘stolen’ 2020 election — has attracted a substantial constituency in the United States, thanks in large part to the efforts of Donald Trump and his advisers. By some estimates, adherents of these overlapping movements make up as much as a quarter or even a third of the electorate. Whatever the scale, they are determined to restore what they see as the original racial and religious foundation of America …
“Who are the people who fall into the high conspiracy theory category? ‘Nearly 6 in 10 white high conspiratorial thinkers identify as Republicans,’ the report says, ‘and more than half voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.’ Based on the racial resentment scale, the survey found that 55 percent of white high conspiratorial thinkers score in the top 25th percentile of racial resentment, compared with 21 percent of white low conspiratorial thinkers. Samuel Perry, a sociologist at the University of Oklahoma who has written extensively about Christian nationalism with Andrew Whitehead, a sociologist at Indiana University, observed in an email that ‘there is tremendous overlap between Christian nationalism and The Great Replacement theory.’”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Greens Leader Adam Bandt will talk about about how Australia can transition to a clean energy economy and move beyond fossil fuels in a webinar for the Australia Institute.
Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)
Liberal MP for Paul Fletcher, independent candidate Nicolette Boele, and Labor MP David Brigden will address the NSW Jewish community in a federal election debate.
Kulin Nation Country (also known as Melbourne)
Writers Clem Bastow, Margot Tanjutco, Nkechi Anele and several more will put a queer and sexy spin on fan fiction inspired by iconic books, films, and pop culture, held at The Wheeler Centre.
Yuggera Country (also known as Brisbane)
Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Michael de Brenni will speak at the Large-scale Solar Forum 2022.