Morrison Vs Shorten: 10 Moments Of The Election (So Far)
Monday morning and the first votes to decide Australia’s next Government will be cast, before the final ballots close at 6pm on May 18.
The Federal Government gets to spend about half a trillion dollars each year, decide how much tax workers and businesses pay and represent the nation on the world stage.
The choice for the next Prime Minister is between Scott Morrison or Bill Shorten, and here are ten observations about each of their, and their parties, performance in the campaign so far.
Scott Morrison & The Coalition
Lost In Translation
Scott Morrison said hello to a woman on Day Three of the campaign, she responded but he clearly didn’t hear her properly. Thinking he had a chance to show off his foreign language skills he chimed “Ni Hao” (Chinese: Hello), before she told him, “I’m Korean."
Just Loves Love
In amongst the flutter of selfies when Morrison drops by the pub for a few frothies, he has become quite partial to dishing out relationship advice. He adores his wife, Jenny
The Pub Test
On ANZAC Day at a Townsville pub, Scott Morrison received a roaring reception and locals quickly broke in to song. They started chanting, “He’s a ScoMo he's true blue, he’s a piss pot through and through.” The singing and pressure to down a beer the way former PM Bob Hawke so famously did kept ramping up, but Morrison resisted. That was met with one pub goer yelling “He’s no Bob Hawke.”
Scott Morrison continues to be haunted by Prime Ministers past. After his ousting, Malcolm Turnbull described past PMs Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd as “miserable old ghosts” for the way they meddled after being booted from the top job. But it seems Turnbull cannot help himself when it comes to voicing opinions, going on a tweeting spree about the Government’s energy policy, before rounding out with a picture of a wombat and another of his granddaughter Alice.
We Have Changed The Rules
On an almost daily basis Scott Morrison is emphasising that he, if elected, will be the Prime Minister for the full term, unlike the last two Liberal PMs -- elected by voters, then dumped by the Liberal Party.
A water buy back deal from 2017 is haunting the Government. The company that sold the water is linked to now Energy Minister Angus Taylor. The story took a troublesome turn when Barnaby Joyce, who was Water Minister at the time, went on radio and sounded “unhinged“, according to many.
Dual Citizen Fiasco
After losing several politicians in the last parliament because they were dual citizens, it was surprising when four Liberal candidates in Victoria were forced to withdraw over fears they would fall foul of the law.
A Matter Of Faith
On Easter Sunday, Scott Morrison let the cameras in to the Pentecostal Horizon Church, which he attends with his family in Sutherland, in Sydney’s south. Lights flashed across the stage, as upbeat music played, and the Prime Minister raised his hands
Morrison has shown his sporting credentials scoring goals in several codes of football, taking on a resident of a Mornington Peninsula aged care home in a game of snooker, smashing it at tennis and even acing barefoot lawn bowls.
Happy & Relaxed
On the campaign trial, Morrison has appeared happy and relaxed. The former Immigration Minister puts his calm approach down to years of facing tough questions and selling unpopular decisions. The PM continues to describe himself as the “undisputed underdog.” He leads a coalition that has been behind in the polls since he took the Prime Ministership in August 2018. He even found time to invite the travelling media to watch Game of Thrones. Perhaps hoping for some strategic inspiration from the epic plot twists.
Bill Shorten & Labor
The Political Merry-Go-Round
A trip to Lunar Park in Melbourne with his children was a great picture opportunity for Bill Shorten. But the spin got out of hand when he took a ride on a merry-go-round. Scott Morrison and the Liberal Party quickly seized on the opportunity to claim he was taking voters for a ride.
Too Young To Vote
On Easter Sunday, at an egg hunt with the cameras rolling, Bill Shorten made his pitch to a group of children: “We are going to do more on renewable energy.” The Opposition Leader may have thought he had an easy audience, but how wrong he was. One young girl responded, “But if you shut down a coal mine then there will be a lot more people for the Government to pay the dole to.” That triggered this from Shorten, “Well, we don’t want to shut down the coal mines.”
Bill Shorten is surrounded by talented women; wife Chloe Shorten, Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek and Senator Kristina Keneally. As he tries to take Government from a coalition with a “women problem", this trio -- along with Labor’s army of impressive women -- could be just the weapon. Mrs Shorten has dazzled by her husband's side, helping to show a softer side of the man who hopes to be PM.
Run, Shorten, Run
A signature feature of his 2016 campaign Bill is back pounding the pavement. Before rallying the party faithful and campaigning, he goes for a run. In North Queensland, which is key election battle ground, Shorten enlisted some star power for his morning jog, braving the sweltering Townsville heat with former NRL player Johnathan Thurston.
Do You Want To Have A Photo?
You have to have thick skin to be a politician. Shorten has been caught by TV cameras on several occasions offering passers by a photo with a potential Prime Minister, only to be politely declined.
Answer The Question, Please
Shorten had a heated exchange with Network 10’s Federal Political Reporter Jonathan Lea. The Opposition Leader was pressed for the cost of Labor’s policy for reaching its emissions reductions target. When he did not answer the question, a fiery exchange followed. Shorten tried to move on, saying: “I’m going to give someone else a go.” Lea replied “answer the question” and again, “Why can’t you answer the question, Mr Shorten?”
One day Bill Shorten appeared to be pledging no new taxes on superannuation, the next he’s saying he misunderstood the question and should have chosen his words more carefully. The policy mysteriously disappeared from the Labor website after that.
Bill Shorten told a worker earning $250,000 he would look at tax relief, when he is actually going to be hit with the deficit levy. Oops.
During his six years in Opposition, Labor has mapped out a slew of alternative approaches. Unlike the Government’s policies already tested in practice and the court of public opinion, Shorten has a bold and ambitious agenda to sell. Centrepieces include a ramped-up spending on health and education. The challenge is selling tax changes. Shorten calls it closing tax loopholes, but the Government will keep attacking him for being higher taxing.
The Weight Of Expectation
Bill Shorten leads a party that is more popular than the Government, but he himself has not been able to win in the preferred Prime Minister stakes. Still, he is the favourite to be the next PM. He watched champion racehorse Winx the other day, commenting on her victory, “I love it when a favourite wins.”