An empty chair represents the Coalition alongside Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe (centre) and Labor MP Linda Burney (right) at NITV's The Point election special.

An empty chair represents the Coalition alongside Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe (centre) and Labor MP Linda Burney (right) during filming of NITV's The Point election special. Credit: NITV

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Coalition criticised for missing NITV debate as policy costings dominate campaign day 37

An empty chair represents the Coalition alongside Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe (centre) and Labor MP Linda Burney (right) at NITV's The Point election special.

An empty chair represents the Coalition alongside Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe (centre) and Labor MP Linda Burney (right) during filming of NITV's The Point election special. Credit: NITV

Published 17 May 2022
Source: SBS News
5:01pm2 months ago
That's a wrap! Here's what happened on day 37 of the election campaign
Thanks for joining the SBS News' live blog on day 37 of the federal election campaign.

Here's a rundown of what Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese and their teams were up to:

Where the leaders campaigned

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison: Darwin (Lingiari)
  • Opposition leader Anthony Albanese: Perth (Hasluck, Swan)

What the Coalition wanted to talk about

Its policy costings, which commit $2.3 billion over the next four years for election promises.

What Labor wanted to talk about

Its election pledge to establish a $1.5 billion Medical Manufacturing Fund.

What made news

The latest Roy Morgan Poll shows Labor leading the Coalition 53 to 47 on a two-party basis.

A re-elected Coalition aims to save an additional $1 billion over the next four years by requiring the public service to make more savings in the way they manage their operations.

Mr Morrison dismissed suggestions a federal integrity commission would operate with the same open justice process as courts.

Mr Albanese said his political legacy will be positive action on climate change, regardless of the outcome of Saturday's federal election.

What they said

Anthony Albanese: "All of our costings will be outlined on Thursday. We'll have more announcements to make ... you might like to consider that we have a prime minister who isn't even giving you the respect as the national press gallery of appearing at the National Press Club before an election. The first prime minister, who has not done that, who is ducking that responsibility."

Scott Morrison on the Coalition's housing policy: "The Labor Party, they hate this. They want big union funds to control your money. I want you to control your money. I don't agree with the Labor Party that it's a gamble. I believe it's the best and smartest thing you can do."

Join us again tomorrow for more news from the campaign trail!
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4:05pm2 months ago
Australia-China relations will be challenging for Labor or Coalition, former foreign ministers say
Australia's relationship with China will be a challenge for whichever party wins the election on Saturday, two former foreign ministers have told oil and gas leaders.

"It's going to be a challenge for whomever forms government," former foreign minister and deputy leader of the Liberals Julie Bishop said on Tuesday, just days out from polling day.

China's trade bans have hit key agricultural and resources exports and Australia would face further challenges if China and Russia split off from the West into a future financial, technology and trading bloc.
Labor's Stephen Smith, speaking alongside Ms Bishop on an election panel at an oil and gas industry conference, said he cannot see the relationship changing until China changes.

"There can be a more nuanced approach in terms of how Australia conducts itself," he told the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association event.

"We don't need to be engaging in megaphone diplomacy on a daily basis."

Ms Bishop said Solomon Islands and its new security pact with China represents a broader power competition in the region, where China sees itself as equal to the United States.

"Over my 20 years in politics we've seen China become far more assertive, far more aggressive, with the emergence of wolf warrior diplomats," she said.

- AAP
3:43pm2 months ago
'Absolutely pathetic' that Coalition didn't participate in NITV debate, says Labor MP Linda Burney
Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe and Labor MP Linda Burney have criticised the Coalition's failure to provide a representative for NITV's The Point election special.

The episode will cover issues impacting First Nations communities and as no representatives attended, the Coalition will be represented by an empty chair.

Ms Burney called the situation "pathetic".
"I think it’s absolutely pathetic that the Coalition didn’t see this as important enough to actually get someone to participate in the debate," she said.

"I would be insulted if I was SBS about the Coalition not providing a person for the Q&A today."
Ms Thorpe also condemned the decision as disappointing.

"It is disappointing. I think we need to show accountability and transparency to our people, and given we have a minister for Indigenous Australians, it’s a bit disappointing he couldn’t make it," she said.

2:10pm2 months ago
Labor stays tight-lipped on costings announcement
Anthony Albanese has remained tight-lipped on whether his party's costings will be higher or lower than the Coalition's.

While speaking to reporters in Perth, the Opposition leader was asked about Labor's costings to be revealed on Thursday.

"This government made $70 billion of announcements with no offsets. Not a dollar of offsets between December's MYEFO [Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook] and the March budget that they brought forward," he said.

"In terms of what this government has done is $70 billion, they have added. They will leave a legacy of $1 trillion of debt. Now, what we have done during this campaign is be responsible.

"We've been fiscally responsible in all of the statements that we've made, including today's announcements.

"We said what dollars would go, and we have done that throughout this campaign. We have a couple more announcements to go. We have until Saturday. But we will be releasing our costings announcement on Thursday."
2:05pm2 months ago
'This is my vision': Anthony Albanese says Labor’s $1.5 billion industrial fund will boost economy
Anthony Albanese has continued his campaigning in Western Australia, speaking to media from the Metronet Manufacturing facility in Perth.

The Opposition leader told reporters he would strengthen the Australian economy by creating more jobs through manufacturing.

"We need to make more things here - whether it be medical manufacturing, defence industry, transport, whether it be in renewable ... all of this is an opportunity for us to strengthen the Australian economy, to create jobs here, to skill up Australians, while we are doing it," he said.

"We will have a $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund. It has a number of funds within it as well. The Medical Manufacturing Fund. Our Resources Fund of $1 billion, looking at ways in which the resources sector can have value-add here. Our $3 billion that (we will) have connected with our Powering Australia Plan, including green metals.
Anthony Albanese speaking to reporters while wearing high-visibility clothing in a factory.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese has been campaigning in Western Australia ahead of the federal election. Source: AAP / LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE
"$500 million for agriculture, making sure that we can value-add and make more things here, taking advantage of our science and innovation that we have in this country. Of course, $1 billion for critical technology, and $1 billion for advanced manufacturing.

"Together, this is my vision for the country. A vision in which we make more things here. A vision in which we skill up Australians. A vision in which we're less vulnerable, at the end of the global supply chains. We know that we've had a global pandemic, and there may well be future pandemics down the track.

"I want to see a stronger national economy. I want to see more jobs created here. I want to see higher wages in those high-skilled jobs. That's the key."
1:23pm2 months ago
Coalition to be empty chaired for NITV election special
The Coalition has not provided a representative to appear on NITV’s The Point election special tonight, and will be represented by an empty chair.

The episode will be hosted by John-Paul Janke and Narelda Jacobs and will cover the issues impacting First Nations communities.

The hosts will be joined by Labor’s Linda Burney and the Greens' Lidia Thorpe.

SBS News understands the Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt is unavailable to attend on behalf of the government.
On the campaign trail in Lingiari - the seat with the highest percentage of Indigenous voters in the country - SBS political correspondent Shuba Krishnan asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison why no-one from the Coalition was made available to appear on NITV.

“We are investing $30 million in supporting connectivity, particularly for Indigenous communities right across the country,” Mr Morrison said

“That’s how you close the gap, the connectivity for Indigenous Australians.”

When asked directly whether somebody from the party would appear on the program, he did not respond.

12:27pm2 months ago
'It’s not a court': Scott Morrison says federal ICAC not comparable to courts
During his press conference in Darwin this morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison dismissed suggestions a federal integrity commission would operate with the same open justice process as courts.

"It's not a court," Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison opposes the way the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption operates, previously labelling it a "kangaroo court" that could do irreparable damage to an innocent person's reputation.

He doubled down on his criticisms when pushed on whether open justice was a key pillar for a federal anti-corruption commission.

"Where matters were to proceed under our model that involved criminal behaviour, they would go to court and that's where that process would be followed," he said.

"That's how we've designed it. That's consistent with how the justice system works."
NSW established its Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in 1988, and there have long been calls for its model to be adopted at the federal level, despite the prime minister's objections.

Earlier this month, NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption commissioner Stephen Rushton told a parliamentary review that references to the ICAC as a "kangaroo court" were misleading and untrue.

People who made those comments were "buffoons", he told the parliamentary review.

- AAP
11:31am2 months ago
Labor pledges $1.5 billion for medical manufacturing fund
Labor has announced a $1.5 billion medical manufacturing fund if it wins the election.

It says the plan will help to shore up medical supply chains including vaccines and will form part of a $15 billion national reconstruction fund.

Anthony Albanese made the case for revitalising industry and manufacturing capabilities across a range of sectors.
"Australians should be able to access medicines, vaccines and medical supplies when we need them," he said.

"We cannot afford our health and wellbeing to be hostage to global supply chains. But more than that, we have medical innovation and world-class science happening right here."

- AAP
11:19am2 months ago
Anthony Albanese says he will ‘refer to Hawke and Curtin’ in final pitch to Western Australia
Anthony Albanese has promised to lean on the leadership stylings of former Western Australian prime ministers in a final pitch to Perth voters.

Speaking at a business breakfast event on Tuesday, the Labor leader promised to be a prime minister for WA, much like former leaders John Curtin and Bob Hawke.
Close up of Anthony Albanese speaking
Australian Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has promised to lean on the leadership stylings of former Western Australian prime ministers in a final pitch to Perth voters. Source: AAP / LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE
"When I refer to Hawke and Curtin, it's not an act of nostalgia, but a reminder of what can be done when you come to the table with courage, vision and ambition," Mr Albanese told the audience.

"A reminder that good government can create profound and lasting change that improves lives. A reminder that with a better government, we can build a better future."

- AAP
11:14am2 months ago
Labor defends costings release, labels Morrison government a 'laughing stock'
Opposition Treasury spokesperson Jim Chalmers has hit back at the Coalition, defending Labor's decision to release its policy costings on Thursday.

He spoke to the media after the Coalition's policy costing announcement on Tuesday morning, with the prime minister, treasurer and finance minister all criticising Labor for not revealing its policy costings.

"You can't take this government seriously on the economy or the budget given their record. This Morrison government has become a laughing stock on the budget and the economy given the failures over almost a decade in office now," Mr Chalmers told reporters.

"Now, what we see in the budget and what we see in the government's costings today is a budget which is absolutely heaving with rorts and waste and $1 trillion in Liberal debt. Now, Josh Frydenberg and Scott Morrison, they want to bang on about Labor's costings as a desperate attempt to distract from their own failures on the economy and on the budget.
"We will release our costings on Thursday consistent with the practice established by the Coalition. The Coalition released their costings the Thursday of the final week of the last election, and the last two times that they were in Opposition. We will release our costings in the usual time, in the usual way, consistent with the practice which has been established by the Coalition.

"So all of this bleating and banging on about Labor's costings can only be seen as a desperate distraction from the Government's own substantial economic and budget failures."
10:39am2 months ago
Labor has 'lost touch completely' with Australian families: Scott Morrison
At his Darwin press conference, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is continuing to promote the Coalition's new Super Home Buyer scheme.

Mr Morrison said the most important thing any family can do is own their home.

"Now, we know that provides stability for a family. It provides stability for a community. It's the most important investment that can be made - helping families take that first step," he said.

"It's always the hardest step. It always has been. And it's even harder today. And what our policy is designed to do, our Super Home Buyer policy is to ensure that young people can use their own money."

"They don't want the government to own their house. They want to own their house. They want to have the freedom to live in their home and do it up as they wish and ensure that they can keep all the benefits of doing just that or, so they can build their family life for their future.
"I was disappointed yesterday when I heard Penny Wong talk about this policy as saying people would take a gamble on their house. A gamble? The most important investment you make in your entire life, as a family, is owning your own home.

"If Labor thinks that's a gamble, then they have lost touch completely with the aspirations and goals of Australian families who their first objective is to ensure that they can own a home and the advantage of this policy is it not only helps Australians get into their own home, but it also preserves their retirement savings for the future."
10:31am2 months ago
Prime minister spruiks Coalition's economic credentials, attacks Labor over policy costings
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is speaking to media in Darwin.

Mr Morrison spoke about the Coalition's policy costings, highlighted his government's responsible economic management.
"This is something the Coalition has been demonstrating throughout our course in government," he said.

"Now, that responsible economic management, which sees us having paid for all of the commitments we've made in this election and to ensure that we would actually have a lower deficit as a result of the sensible savings and sensible management of our economy and ensuring the government lives within its means, particularly our departments so we can actually pay for the things that we've said.

"We've submitted our policies for independent costing throughout the course of this campaign. Labor still has yet to submit one policy for costing.

"How can you trust an Opposition that says they want to take the reins of the Australian economy when they haven't been prepared to share with you what their policies cost and submit them to independent costing as we have done?"
10:23am2 months ago
Treasurer swears 'hand on heart' Coalition’s housing policy won’t result in price rises
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has promised "hand on heart" that house prices won't rise significantly, after he was questioned about the Coalition's housing policy.

"I can say hand on heart that we don’t expect this to have a material impact on house prices," he told host Patricia Karvelas on ABC's RN Breakfast.

On Monday, Minister for Superannuation Jane Hume conceded the Coalition's new superannuation for housing plan could result in a "short-term" bump in prices.
"What we’re saying is people have their own money stored away in super, and that the retirement incomes review has found that if people own their own home, they have less of a likelihood of living in poverty in retirement or being under financial stress," Mr Frydenberg said.

"So for many of us, buying your first home, owning your own home is your single most important asset and it gets you on that ladder earlier by being able to, in a responsible way, access your super."
10:21am2 months ago
'We know they will spend more': Treasurer attacks Labor’s delay on election costings
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Finance Minister Simon Birmingham have criticised Labor's policies and costings, saying they "lacked transparency".

"Ask yourself the single question - and hopefully 26 million are asking the simple question: 'why has Labor not put forward these policies for costings? Why?' There's no reason other than they do not want to be subject to scrutiny," Mr Frydenberg said at a press conference.

"We know they will spend more. We know they will tax more. We know they will deliver a budget after the next election. But they're not telling the Australian people before they vote what will be in that budget.

"And we have detailed where all these spending pressures are with respect to Labor's commitments. And we also know from recent experience what Labor will do to fund these increased commitments. They will put in place higher taxes."

"So we have been both accountable and responsible in putting our policies forward for costing. And today, we are reconciling our spending commitments with the efficiency dividend which will more than offset those spending commitments and again improve our budget bottom line.

"You have not seen the same responsible approach from the Labor Party."
9:03am2 months ago
Coalition unveils policy costings
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Finance Minister Simon Birmingham have announced the Coalition’s policy costings, saying $2.3 billion in new spending commitments have been made.

This would be offset by an increase in the efficiency dividend to 2 per cent - up 0.5 per cent.

FRYDENBERG BIRMINGHAM PRESSER
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (left) and Finance Minister Simon Birmingham address the media during the release of the Coalition's election costings, in Melbourne, Tuesday, 17 May, 2022. Source: AAP / JAMES ROSS/AAPIMAGE
"What we have done is put 35 policies forward for costing and Anthony Albanese and Jim Chalmers have put a big fat zero," Mr Frydenberg said.

"And thousands, hundreds of thousands of Australians are voting right now. And they're not able to see the cost of Labor's policies."
8:44am2 months ago
2.59 million people have already cast their vote: AEC
Early voting officially opened on 9 May and is already proving popular.

As of Monday night, 2.59 million Australians have already voted at pre-poll centres, AEC data released today shows.

This represents around 15 per cent of the 17.2 million Australians who are enrolled to vote.

The AEC said 2.56 million postal vote applications have been received.
8:35am2 months ago
Welcome to the live blog!
Good morning. Welcome to today's SBS News federal election live blog.

It’s day 37 of the federal election campaign, and we are here to keep you updated on the newsworthy moments as they happen.

Today, the coalition government is expected to present its election costings, ahead of the opposition doing the same later this week.

Mr Morrison appeared on the ABC’s 7.30 program last night, where he was questioned over whether he would stand down the prospect of a hung parliament or Liberal loss on polling day.

"That's not something I'm contemplating because I'm not contemplating that being the scenario," he said.

"I'm focused on one thing and that's ensuring our government continues."

Meanwhile, Greens leader Adam Bandt has for his party should it hold the balance of power after Saturday's federal election.

Taking urgent action on climate change, dealing with and providing justice for Australia's First Nations people by progressing the Uluru Statement from the Heart are among the list of demands.

Mr Bandt will call on the party that wins the federal election to sign United States President Joe Biden's Global Methane Pledge, to phase out methane gas.
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