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Penny Wong won the debate coin toss and speaks first:

Our region is being reshaped. This generation of political leaders has a responsibility in this reshaping to secure Australia’s interest today and in the future. It IS our job.

We don’t have time for more of the same, and more of Mr Morrison means more of the same defence capability failures. More of the same “it’s not my job to pick up the phone to the region”.

More of the same chest-beating while letting Australia get beaten to the punch. And we are seeing the consequences of those failures.

Just as we saw with the bushfires, with the floods, with vaccines, with rapid antigen tests, now we see in Solomon Islands that Mr Morrison’s inaction has made things worse.

The fact is the risks Australians face will be compounded by three more years of Scott Morrison. More of the same excuses, the same political buck-passing, the same political games ahead of the national interest, whilst our problems just get bigger. And the rest of the world trust Mr Morrison as little as Australians do.

AEC head travels to Lismore to discuss polling booth concerns

Tamsin Rose

The head of the Australia Electoral Commission has travelled to Lismore this week to hear from concerned members of the flood-ravaged community as the body struggles to find suitable polling locations just a week and a half out from the federal election.

Commissioner Tom Rogers also used the trip to thank staff members at the university where the first and so far only pre-polling station has opened in the city still rebuilding. The Guardian this week revealed residents have raised concerns over booth options, citing concerns over accessibility and poor communication.

Following the story, the AEC confirmed it had organised extra signage for the polling booth already in place and added extra information about the best ways to get there.

AEC media director, Evan Ekin-Smyth, said the commissioner “wanted to get to Lismore to see and hear about the conditions firsthand”.

He said:

A major part of the visit has been to also express appreciation to the university directly who is accommodating us on short notice to provide one of the two early voting options to local residents. There is a significant impact of the floods local residents with the university already also accommodating others who couldn’t find alternative arrangements, not just the AEC. We are incredibly grateful.

He said the agency was still working to “finalise the polling day options in the local area”.

Updated at 22.42 EDT

Foreign affairs debate

Marise Payne and Penny Wong are debating each other at the National Press Club.

Daniel Hurst is there, but I will cover it off here as well.

If you haven’t seen it yet:

Natasha Fyles named as NT’s next chief minister

The NT has a new chief minister, as AAP reports:

A former school teacher and mother of two boys will be the Northern Territory’s next chief minister following Michael Gunner’s surprise resignation.

Former health minister Natasha Fyles, 43, was selected by Labor’s 14-member caucus on Friday following days of behind-the-scenes wrangling between the party’s left and right factions.

“This morning the caucus has selected me as the unanimous choice for leader of the Territory Labor party,” Fyles said in a statement.

She will be sworn in as chief minister by the territory’s administrator later on Friday.

Fyles, from the left faction, is the second woman to be appointed chief minister and the third to lead Territory Labor.

She is also the second of the NT’s 12 chief ministers to be born in the territory since the Legislative Assembly’s first election in 1974.

No one publicly nominated for the top job but it was expected to go Gunner’s right-aligned deputy, Nicole Manison.

Fyles was viewed as her likely deputy.

Former union boss and AFL player Joel Bowden is also understood to have expressed an interest in the top job from the back bench but his left-faction challenge faded on Thursday.

Updated at 22.21 EDT

National Covid summary

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers from around Australia today, as the country records at least 48 deaths from Covid-19:


  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 1,217
  • In hospital: 74 (with four people in ICU)


  • Deaths: 13
  • Cases: 12,020
  • In hospital: 1,398 (with 60 people in ICU)


  • Deaths: 12
  • Cases: 6,555
  • In hospital: 407 (with 11 people in ICU)


  • Deaths: two
  • Cases: 1,118
  • In hospital: 39 (with one person in ICU)


  • Deaths: 18
  • Cases: 13,181
  • In hospital: 491 (with 25 people in ICU)

Western Australia

  • Deaths: 3
  • Cases: 15,565
  • In hospital: 279 (with 12 people in ICU)

Updated at 22.11 EDT

The press conference ends.

Q: Is what we’re seeing from the prime minister today, a sign of desperation and if Scott Morrison is feeling desperate, does that mean you’re feeling pretty confident at this point?

Anthony Albanese:

We have a mountain to climb. Labor has only formed government three times from opposition since the second world war, it is hard for Labor to win from opposition.

That’s the starting point.

But when it comes to desperation, you know, desperation is if you look it up online, you’ll see a photo of Scott Morrison because everything he does is desperate.

Everything he does, is just focused on the next 24-hour media cycle. It’s based upon scaring people. It’s based upon fear.

I want a country where hope and optimism are the major emotions projected from our national government into the Australian people.

A government that has the foresight to actually plan for the future beyond the next media cycle.

This guy has no plans for the future. He struggles with the present and he never learns from past mistakes. That’s why he keeps repeating them. And that’s why if you want change, don’t look for Scott Morrison to change because that’s not going to happen, just change the government.

Updated at 21.49 EDT

Anthony Albanese takes another question on climate and says:

We will always lobby and engage with international bodies in a national interest. It is in Australia’s national interest for the Great Barrier Reef to not be listed as endangered. We supported the actions that the federal government took, but what it needs is a bit more than lobbying. Because the game is up.

The world knows that this government aren’t serious about climate change. They know it, they’re onto it. It’s like the prime minister saying, you know, vote for me and I’ll change.

He’s saying that because the Australian people [know him]. They don’t trust him. They know that he is trying to get through an election campaign without a single positive agenda for a fourth term.

We are now just eight days out from polling day and all this bloke has is fear and smears, fear about the alternative government.

No plan for the future. No plan for climate change. No plan for skills, no plan for nation building infrastructure, no plan to grow the economy, no plan for national reconstruction, no plan to increase the economic participation of women, no plan to deal with the cost of living crisis that is in this country.

And he’s now saying, Scott Morrison is saying wages will always be lower under the Liberal party. That is what he is making very clear. This is a guy who during the last election campaign said if we take action on climate change, the sky will fall in we support electric vehicles. There’ll be no weekends in Australia. And now he’s saying if we give people who are on the minimum wage an extra dollar an hour, the sky will fall. What they know about this bloke is that he is not on their side, will just get more arrogant, more out of touch, less trustworthy.

Updated at 21.51 EDT

Q: On today’s announcement, it seems like most of the money here is going towards treating the symptom rather than the cause of climate change here. How do you marry up what you’re putting out there as a pledge to protect the Great Barrier Reef when you are also committed to the coal and gas industries in this state?

Anthony Albanese:

You need to do both. You need to address climate change not just by domestic action, but both by being a part of international action as well. And the difference is that a Labor government that I lead will work with the Biden administration, will work with people who want to respond to climate change, will work with Boris Johnson’s government in the United Kingdom, will work with what Jacinda are doing at the moment.

Australia goes to international conferences, Scott Morrison gives an empty speech to an empty room. That’s what happens at the moment. We know that’s what happens at the moment.

We have a serious plan to deal with climate change. And we also have specific plans of working when we drove from Cairns earlier this year. We met with people in the agricultural sector including sugar cane. We met with the industry in each of those towns along from north to south Queensland. And one of the things that came through is that industry and farmers and business want to work in these areas. The tragedy about climate change and the debate in this country is that the government is trailing business. It’s trailing farmers. We can end the climate wars but to end the climate wars we need to end the government…

Updated at 21.45 EDT