Week five in five: What happened on the election campaign this week?

Week five in five: What happened on the election campaign this week?

Two parties, both alike in dignity, in fair Australia where we lay our scene.

Elections are a lot like Shakespearean plays with their theatrics, drama and conflict.

And our two main characters, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, are about to clash in a final battle in which only one will be victorious.

Much like a Shakespearean play, the election campaign has been full of drama, theatrics and conflict.Credit:Monique Westermann

So, before the climax on May 21, what are the main plot points from this week? And, what can we expect in the final week of preparations?

Before we jump in, why not test your knowledge of this week with our quiz?

What are the key points from this week?

  • The second and third leaders’ debate happened in quick succession, but the two were vastly different in tone. In the second debate, Morrison and Albanese spoke over the top of each other and accused each other of misleading voters. But Associate Professor Andrew Dodd from the University of Melbourne said that the debate “allowed us to glimpse a politician speaking not through the filter of the media”. The third was more placid according to The Age and the Herald’s Jacqueline Maley, who said that the cost of living was the focus coming into the final stretch of the campaign, but the difference was that Albanese focused on the squeeze on households, while Morrison zoomed out to talk about tax cuts and his economic record.
  • Albanese backed an increase to the minimum wage of at least 5.1 per cent to keep up with inflation. Wages, inflation, and cost of living have dominated Labor’s campaign rhetoric, with Albanese reinforcing that “everything is going up except your wages”. Morrison criticised Albanese’s economic credibility, saying that he is a “loose unit” and “what we saw from Anthony … was reckless”. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg refused to say what the minimum wage should be under a Liberal government, saying that “has not been our practice and that is not our policy”.
  • The next round of Labor’s policies are targeted at new economic measures to achieve gender equity with salaries and to improve career options for women. Speaking to the Herald and The Age’s David Crowe, Albanese said that “if you lift up the economic status of women, you lift up the entire national economy”. Labor has also promised to pass laws that were recommended by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins in her [email protected] report, which includes making sure employers take reasonable steps to eliminate sex discrimination, harassment and victimisation in the workplace.

They said it

What can we expect from the final week of the campaign?

Just like our Shakespearean dramas, in an election, all the major themes come together at the end.

  • Cost of living: Inflation, interest rates and wages have dominated election dialogue, from both parties. Ever since the Coalition and Albanese delivered their budgets in March, the economy has been at the forefront of the campaigns. Labor has been focusing on cheaper childcare and higher wages, while the Liberals have reinforced tax cuts and their “low deposit scheme” for first home buyers. With all four big banks matching the RBA’s interest rate rise, and more rises expected to come, promises about wage increases and tax cuts will be in voters’ minds heading to the polls.
  • Federal ICAC: Morrison and Albanese were both asked during the second debate whether they had witnessed corruption during their time as party leaders. Morrison answered, “No, I haven’t”, while Albanese said that the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption had “found corrupt conduct, and that’s a good thing, whether they’ve found it against Labor or Liberal members of parliament”. The question came off the back of a week when Morrison called the NSW ICAC a “kangaroo court”, dividing the Liberal Party, with NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet agreeing to increase funding to the NSW ICAC.
  • National security: Traditionally a Liberal stronghold, the fallout from Solomon Islands’ deal with China has allowed Labor to have greater control over conversations on national security.
    As David Crowe said, Albanese had no choice but to throw everything into a fight on national security, despite the party not classically dominating that area of politics. The repercussions of the deal will continue past the election result, and only recently a former high commissioner to Solomon Islands, Trevor Sofield, spoke to the Herald and The Age after trying to speak to Morrison, saying that he wanted to tell the prime minister that “I have voted for the Liberals in the past, but I am very, very concerned in the way in which you have not managed our relationship in the South Pacific”.

Want to test yourself on the campaign so far? Test yourself with last week’s quiz:

Catch up on the campaign so far

  • Week one: Gotcha and government
  • Week two: Bluesfest and mines
  • Week three: Isolation and inflation
  • Week four: RBA and ICAC

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