Debate. Speaking from a tribune, confrontation.

The Third Leaders’ Debate: How It All Went Down

Last night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten engaged in their third and final live debate.

While there wasn’t a conclusive winner, there definitely were some winning — and losing — arguments being tossed around.

Here are the highlights of the key issues the two men covered.

Both parties promise Surplus

Moderator Sabra Lane from the ABC was direct in bringing up the topic of economic management in the debate:

Whoever wins, there are no doubts there are very strong economic challenges ahead. There is a global slowdown happening and a trade war will only exacerbate that.’

Both leaders then haggled over their thoughts on protecting the Aussie budget from future deficit.

Shorten claimed Labor ‘can go for better surpluses than the Government’s proposing because we’re willing to actually future-proof our economy’, referring specifically to the tax revenue created by removing negative gearing repayments.

We don’t want to keep spending taxpayers’ subsidy on people to make a loss on their investment’ he said.

As for Morrison, he took the opportunity to emphasise the Coalition’s vote-worthy clincher, saying ‘It’s about how you keep a Budget in surplus’.

The supposedly impartial Sabra Lane then butted in, clarifying that the Coalition’s surplus is next year’s projection, not a current state.

But Morrison finished strong regardless, saying the way you maintain a surplus is ‘you keep your expenditure under control, and you back Australians who go out there and create economic activity’.

Way to fit in a couple of good blows, ScoMo.

Who will win the election? Cast your vote in our election poll here. 

Tax versus gifts

Understandably, the tax topic in the debate fast became a ‘how well can Shorten defend himself’ segment. Our verdict is, not very.

Morrison asked Shorten directly whether Labor’s plans to ‘abolish negative gearing and increase the capital gains tax by 50 per cent’ would in fact lead to property prices falling.

Shorten’s response was that Labor were ‘not making changes to people who have currently invested in negative gearing’ and that ‘the biggest falls in house prices have happened under this Government’s watch’.

Morrison was quick to jump on the dance around:

Morrison: ‘So I take it that’s a no? That’s a no?’

Shorten: ‘You heard the answer.’

Morrison: ‘So there’s no guarantee?

Shorten: ‘No. You heard the answer.’

As for franking credits, Shorten honed in on the refunds as being a ‘gift’ rather than ‘a principle of tax law’.

Morrison argued it is ‘real income that… millions of Australians are relying on. And Labor is callously taking it away’.

But that won’t win over anyone who’s never had a franking credit refund. So we’re calling a moot point on this one.

As for climate change, however…

Still no price tag on Labor’s climate change policy

Yes, that’s right. ScoMo put it best:

It’s been now well over three weeks during the course of this election campaign, it’s about 10 or days so that everyone will go to the polls. And we still haven’t heard what the cost to Australians is.

Bill Shorten said it was a dumb question the other day. I don’t think it is. I think it’s a fair question.’

Shorten said the actual figures would be released on Friday. And frankly, he should’ve left it at that, because his argument just didn’t hold up:

There was a cost to stop using asbestos in buildings. But I tell you what the advantage was — it saved lives. When we’ve look at the debate, cost is a dishonest argument when you don’t look at the net benefit.’

No, Shorten, cost is only dishonest when you don’t give it to us.

A practical or modern government: you decide

For Morrison, it’s all about fulfilling goals. Hitting the 2030 emissions target, getting an additional 2.5 million Australians employed, investing in hospitals, schools, mental health services, having affordable medicines.

Granted, nothing too exciting to snag some extra voters.

Shorten, however, has a more Utopian outlook:

I want my kids to grow up in 2030 and see a more modern Australia.

I want them to see a nation which has embraced climate change and action on climate change. I want to see half of our energy coming from renewable energy.

I want to see a country where your postcode, your gender, your parents’ wealth, the faith you follow and how many generations you’ve been in this country are not the predictors of your success.’

It isn’t hard to see a clear demographic of voters that will respond well to this vision.

But I wonder, what will they make of Shorten’s views on Israel Folou?

Folau was found guilty of breaching Rugby Australia rules when he pronounced that homosexuals would go to hell unless they repented their sins.

Shorten claim Folau was ‘entitled to his views. And he shouldn’t suffer an employment penalty for it’.

There goes the LGBTQI+ votes.

So it’s still anyone’s game, I guess.

PS: The Australian federal election is fast approaching, and we want to hear from you on what you think the results will be. Cast your vote in our election poll here. 

The Australian Tribune Editorial

The Australian Tribune Editorial

The Australian Tribune is an unorthodox news service. Your Australian Tribune editorial team deliver the unfiltered stories that could impact your daily life — political and economic stories you’re unlikely to get anywhere else. And we’re not afraid to step on some toes to do it. We are honest, conservative and never dull. We are an independent service, meaning we don’t answer to shareholders or outside advertisers. This helps avoid conflicts of interest that inhibit mainstream sources, which keeps our voice independent. The Australian Tribune is owned and operated by Port Phillip Publishing.
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