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The Coalition has promised big spending in marginal electorates, while a WeChat analysis reveals how political news is resonating with Chinese speakers.

 

Marise Payne:

Our approach, which we will maintain and grow if we are re-elected, is built on resilience, on relationships, and on rules.

We are increasing our national resilience by strengthening our economy and investing in our defence security and diplomatic capabilities, while also supporting the resilience of our partners in the region.

We know that strong sovereign states are vital to the security and prosperity of all.

We have expanded and deepened our relationships because a strong network of partners and allies increases our capacity to exercise positive influence. The sovereignty of our partners is paramount. We don’t lecture them.

We cooperate closely while respecting their sovereign decisions.

We’ve advocated strongly for the rules-based global order because a level playing field is good for both our national security and our economy. Consistency has been vital. Under the Morrison government, Australia has not blinked. We have shown we will not bend to coercion. We have shown our friends and allies that we can be relied on to act in accordance with our clear values.

AEC head travels to Lismore to discuss polling booth concerns

03:42 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”.

 

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.

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.

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.

National Covid summary

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

ACT

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

NSW

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

Queensland

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

Tasmania

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

Victoria

  • 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)

 

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.

 

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.

‘I know there are things I have to change in how I do things,’ says Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison says he knows he needs to change how he does things and blames the pandemic for how he has governed, saying it has been why people haven’t seen him in “other gears”.

Q: You keep saying that – ‘what Australians know’. Is part of your problem that you keep telling them what they should know rather than listening to them?

© Provided by The Guardian Scott Morrison holds a press conference during a visit to a manufacturing facility in the seat of Chisholm in Melbourne, 13 May 2022. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/EPA

Morrison:

It’s very important to be listening to Australians and I have done that all across my political career.

And, you know, over the last three years and particularly the last two what Australians have needed from me going through this pandemic has been strength and resilience.

Now, I admit that hasn’t enabled Australians to see a lot of other gears in the way I work. And I know Australians know that I can be a bit of a bulldozer when it comes to issues and I suspect you guys know that too.

But, you know, over the last few years that’s been pretty important, to ensure we’ve been able to get through some of the most important things that we’ve had to do and land some really big security agreements with the United States and the United Kingdom.

But also I would say with the Japanese government, in the defence agreement, it took me three years to land that agreement and you worked with three prime ministers.

You’ve got to be pretty determined to be able to land those sorts of things but that doesn’t mean – because as we go into this next period on the other side of this election, I know there are things that are going to have to change with the way I do things. Because we are moving into a different time.

We are moving into a time of opportunity and working from the strong platform of strength that we’ve built and saved in our economy in the last three years we can now take advantage of those opportunities in the future.

Resilience and strength is what we needed and that will continue to be needed but it’s also about ensuring the dividend of what we’ve done gets to fix those problems in aged care. Gets to ensure that we are supporting people with disabilities.

That we are investing in the hospitals and the schools. You asked me about Mark McGowan, look, I’ve worked closely with Mark to ensure that they have got the GST that they needed, that they weren’t getting getting their fair share.

I want to see that invested in schools and hospitals and infrastructure in Western Australia because it’s a growing state.

You go up to the north of Perth, I was a talking to a lot of residents in north Perth last night and they want to see roads, they want to see the community infrastructure and that’s why we’ve invested in the new community recreation infrastructure in that part of the country.

 

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…

 

The press conference ends.

‘Bulldozers wreck things,’ says Anthony Albanese

Q: The PM has described himself as a bulldozer. Is he the loose unit? And he also said that “it’s fair to say I know things are going to have to change with the way I do things”. What’s brought that do you think?

Anthony Albanese:

Scott Morrison has today said he’s a bulldozer, that is a bulldozer wrecks things. A bulldozer knock things over. I’m a builder.

That’s what I am and if I’m elected prime minister, I’ll build things in this country. I’ll build better infrastructure, I’ll build a response to climate change. So in partnership with our allies, including the Biden administration, I’ll build the skills capacity of this nation up, I’ll build people’s living standards up as well.

I find it quite extraordinary that this government had been there for almost a decade.

This prime minister has four years in office. And what he’s saying is, if you vote for Scott Morrison, I’ll change. That’s really saying vote for me, and I’ll change well, if you want change, change the government change because we can’t just have three more years of the same and Scott Morrison.

If this government is re-elected. It will be more arrogant, more out of touch. It will abuse taxpayers money and treat it like Liberal party money, even more so than it has during this term.

This is a government of Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison and nothing quite says the law of diminishing returns like Abbott, Turnbull, Morrison. They’ve got worse, they’ve got more arrogant, they’ve got more out of touch. And now the prime minister is putting his hand up and saying, I’ll change. Well, if you want change, change the government on 21 May.

 

Q: In a week’s time you could be prime minister of Australia. The government has long said that the rise of China was posing as a strategic threat in the region. Do you believe that Beijing is trying to [extend] territory and is China a military threat?

Anthony Albanese:

What we’ve said is China is more forward leaning. It’s more aggressive in the region and it’s trying to extend its influence in the region. Australia needs to respond to that. That’s why a failing to respond appropriately in advance to what we’ve seen happen in the Solomons is a foreign policy failure on this government’s watch. Australia needs to work but we’ve got one question Australia needs, Australia needs to respond by upping our presence in the region. We’ve said for example in the Pacific that we will have an Australian Pacific defence school, where it said we will have a doubling of maritime security assistance in the region.

Protecting those fishing areas is so important for Pacific Island nations. We’ve said we’ll restart the parliamentary visits program that Malcolm Turnbull had that’s been abolished by this government will have different migration systems in terms of the Pacific labor market, but also more permanent migration will increase Australia’s voice into the Pacific as well. Something that’s been ridiculed by this government, we’ll increase aid by more than half a billion dollars into the region. We will have a comprehensive plan of engagement in the region. We’ll do that because it’s the right thing to do. But we’ll do that also. Because we need to work with our allies to make sure Australia remains the security partner of choice in the Pacific.

 

Q: Scientists at the moment are saying that certainly needs to have a commitment of a minimum of 50% emission reduction by 2030. Your target is only 43%. So how can you say that you’re listening to the scientists when your target is less?

Anthony Albanese:

Because what what we did, we didn’t come up with a target and then decide how to get there. What we did was we put in place what are the mechanisms that can drive change through the economy? What’s a way we can increase the uptake of electric vehicles? What are ways in which we can have community batteries? What are ways in which we can support renewables. Renewables will be under our plan 82% of the national energy market by 2030. Our plan is a serious plan. It’s one that is fully costed, it’s one that we will implement in government.

 

Q: Mark Dreyfus just gave a speech … where Han Chinese people were dressed up as members of the oppressed Uyghur Muslim community. Do you think that was an appropriate thing to attend? And does that undermine the tough stance that you take on China?

Anthony Albanese:

So I’m not aware of the issue.

What I will say is we’ve been very consistent, very consistent, including Mark Dreyfus has been consistent about the need to stand up for Australian values and Australian values are about human rights. Australia values human rights. We have spoken out about the treatment of Uyghurs, about what’s occurred in Hong Kong, about Taiwan, about other minorities including in Tibet, that are suffering from human rights abuses. We’ll continue to do so. If you turn up at events, you’re not in control of who’s at those events and what they were. That’s the truth of the matter.

Albanese says Labor will end climate wars

Asked about the report showing 90% of the Great Barrier Reef has been impacted by bleaching and action is needed now, Albanese says:

I had seen that report. We haven’t seen some of the other reports on state of the environment that the government is sitting on and not releasing.

I make that point that the government is failing to be transparent about these issues.

This is another wake-up call, along with all of the other facets of climate change that we can see the increased flooding, even in areas it’s unusual to have this much rain in south-east Queensland in May for example and we need to respond to what I’ll make two further points.

The first is that here, the local member Warren Entsch speaks about the Great Barrier Reef and the need to take action. The problem is that he’s part of a government whereby Barnaby Joyce constrains any action taking place. Warren Entsch is hostage to Barnaby Joyce, and Barnaby Joyce is in charge of this government’s climate policy. We will do what we have said in government. We believe it is a good policy. It’s one that’s been welcomed. It will end the climate wars. What it will do is enable good economic and employment outcomes whilst looking after the environment.

 

Q: Would the Albanese government work to restore the climate commission, abolished by the government of scientists back to the heart of policymaking? And a related question on the climate change compact, would you want an Albanese government to look for form or strike for climate change compact?

Anthony Albanese:

Well, what what we will do is exactly what we have said we will do in our powering Australia plan. That’s a plan that is based upon science. It’s one in which we will recognise that we need to respond to the science of climate change. The tragedy of this government is that all Australians I think recognise that we responded to the science when it came to the pandemic, but we’re ignoring it when it comes to climate change.

We do need to respond to it. We do need to work with state and territory governments but also work with the business sector. We want to talk about what a compact looks like to end the climate wars. It’s a policy that’s released that has gained support of the Business Council of Australia, the Australian industry group, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the National Farmers Federation, and the ACTU. That’s the policy that we have.

…What we’ve said is we’ll have a climate change authority. We will listen to the science we will engage with scientists as part of the processes and we won’t have the sort of sidelining that we’ve seen one of the vision statements that I gave in the leader, when we were going through that process was on science. I went to the National Press Club and gave a speech about science and how we need to respond to it in terms of environmental issues, but also commercialise the opportunities that are there from [that].

 

Q: Under the Coalition the 160,000 annual skilled migration cap has barely [been reached] we’re nowhere near it. Businesses are crying out for workers will Labor do better filling that gap.

Anthony Albanese:

So, when it comes to skills, one of the things what we will create is Jobs and Skills Australia. Jobs and Skills Australia will be a body that includes private sector representatives for how we train up Australians as our first priority for the jobs that are needed in the future.

But additionally, that additional two that were a country except for First Nations people of migrants and descendants of migrants skilled migration will continue to play a role, particularly in terms of filling the skill shortages that are there in the short term.

But what I’ve said in the discussions I have with the business community as well, is that there are a range of professions where we’ve had short term responses, which are long term issues. Australia has needed engineers, as new chefs across a range of sectors for a long period of time we should be looking to attract the best and brightest to Australia. That will be consistent with the great migration story here in Australia.

Anthony Albanese press conference

The press conference starts with the threatened species announcement.

Related: Labor pledges millions in funding to protect threatened species and Great Barrier Reef

Before moving to other issues:

Q: [Mark Dreyfus said your integrity commission would have the power to look back] Aren’t you paving the way for your model to investigate current Coalition benches and also including the prime minister himself?

Anthony Albanese:

What I’ve said consistently on a number of occasions is we want a strong national anti-corruption commission and it should have the power to investigate as it sees fit.

What it shouldn’t be is something that’s directed by parliamentarians and that’s the weakness in the governance model is that government ministers will decide whether issues are subject of investigation. That’s why it falls over. That’s why no one serious in the legal profession supports the same model. What’s clear is only Labor will deliver a national anti-corruption commission.

 

There are lots of questions around why violence against women and family violence is not more of an issue this campaign.

Fair Agenda have put out this statement:

Gender equity campaigning organisation Fair Agenda have worked with a range of First Nations and family violence organisations to outline what’s needed for women’s safety; scored the major parties on their track record in the last parliament; and asked all candidates to pledge their support for key policy areas if elected to the next if elected.

Cheryl Axleby, Co-Chair of Change the Record:

Last year violence against women was set to be front and centre of the election campaign. But yet again, we have seen the voices of women, and First Nations peoples, sidelined and ignored as we call for structural changes that would deliver greater safety, equality and justice.

Specialist, culturally safe First Nations family violence prevention and legal services are being forced to turn women away because the Government has failed to adequately fund their services. At a bare minimum if the Government is serious about closing the gap, then our women need somewhere safe to go to get legal assistance, help finding housing, and support for their families when they are fleeing violence.

 

Anthony Albanese is back from his boat trip – that was a quick trip around the reef and is standing up in Cairns.

PM asked if his rhetoric on China will turn away Chinese-Australian voters

Q: You have said you have been one of the most forthright governments, going into this election, Gladys is here in Chisholm, Reid, Bennelong have large Chinese-Australian populations which may not have an affinity with the Chinese government but are proud of their heritage. Are you concerned if you lose some of the seats at the election they have failed to understand or you have failed to communicate the difference between your rhetoric on the Chinese government and Chinese people?

Scott Morrison:

You make a good point, because I am always very careful to make this distinction.

I talk about the assertive and aggressive nature of the Chinese government. Not the Chinese people. You know, Chinese-Australians are the greatest patriots you could hope for in this country. I remember being with Gladys, early on in the pandemic.

You remember we were down at Box Hill, it was February of 2020. I mean the pandemic at that stage had not yet hit the rapid escalation in this country we were seeing in others but, you know, as Chinese-Australians who were coming back out of Wuhan and coming back out of China, and returning, they saved Australia as much as anyone else in the way they came home and the way that they took precautions.

Whether it was here in Melbourne, or up in Hurstville or up there in Ryde or other parts of the country, I’m enormously grateful to the way the Chinese community leaders in Australia worked with the government so carefully during the course of the pandemic and played such an important role in those early phases of the pandemic.

So, I agree with you. I mean, Chinese-Australians, they are Australians, they are Australians and they are proud about being Australians and I’m proud of them. I’m proud of what they have done for our country, I’m proud of what they have achieved for our country.

And so that’s why I draw a sharp and distinct line between the actions of an authoritarian government that is seeking to be cohesive against Australia and to interfere in our region, and the wonderful Chinese people. Chinese-Australians here have family in China, they know what it’s like to live under authoritarian government. That’s why so many of them have come to Australia in the first place. Gladys herself understands and grieves terribly for what we are seeing in Hong Kong. And that’s why the Australian government has stood up for the people of Hong Kong, stood up for the people of Xinjiang.

Stood up for those oppressed in China and stood up for human rights and there is no group of people in Australia more passionate about standing up for their fellow Chinese heritage in China who live under that regime.

Q: Are you concerned, do you share concerns about the rise of China?

Gladys Liu:

Well, the way I look at it is I have come to the country 37 years and I became an Australian citizen 30 years ago. I’ve got my children born and raised here. And I understand now I’m an elected member of the Australian parliament, my job is to help to make this country a better country. For anyone to suggest that Chinese-Australians are not Australians … and still have the loyalty and want to do things that is bad for Australia I think that is offensive, divisive and un-Australian.

Q: We are not saying that. We are specifically asking about the rise of China. I spent some time in your electorate in weeks and I spoke to Chinese-Australian voters there, many said they were concerned about the rhetoric from your government directed at China and they said it was making them less likely to vote for you. So what do you say to them? I mean, how can you reassure those voters?

Liu:

I have been at the pre-poll for four solid days. And I can tell you when you talk to Chinese people in Australia you don’t start by asking whether they are holding a Chinese passport, visiting this place, or come to help their children to look after their children.

Because we do have a lot of Chinese people living in Australia at the moment but they still hold a Chinese passport.

And I’m not talking about those people, I’m talking about those who pledged loyalty to the country. I have seen a lot of people throughout my three years as a member of parliament, at citizenship ceremonies and I hear them pledge loyalty to Australia. So if anyone suggests Chinese-Australians are any different from all other Australians, whether they were born here or not, I think this is offensive, divisive and un-Australian.

Morrison:

Very well said.

No one was saying what Liu was talking about.

 

02:07 Josh Butler

A Kim Jong-un impersonator has gatecrashed Scott Morrison’s visit to an electronics facility in Gladys Liu’s Melbourne seat of Chisholm, claiming the MP is a “communist candidate”.

The man dressed as the North Korean dictator, who gave his name as Howard X, somehow pushed his way into the facility after the PM had finished a press conference, but while the travelling media pack was still in the area.

A member of Morrison’s media staff demanded the man leave, but he continued shouting criticisms of Liu.

Queensland Senate candidate and anti-Communist party activist, Drew Pavlou, claimed responsibility for the stunt. He told Guardian Australia “of course” when asked if he was involved.

Pavlou earlier this week interrupted a Chisholm community forum, shouting “Gladys Liu is taking money from the Chinese government” and throwing Chinese currency on the floor.

Howard X describes himself on social media as “the first professional Kim Jong Un Lookalike & impersonator in the world”.

He made international headlines in 2019 when he stood alongside a Donald Trump impersonator at a stunt in Hanoi to coincide with the first meeting between the two leaders.

The stunt comes a day after Morrison’s security team prevented Trevor Sofield, who was Australia’s high commissioner to Solomon Islands in the 1980s, from approaching the PM at a media event in Tasmania.

Morrison shrugged off questions about that interaction at his press conference this morning, saying he “[follows] protocols with my security team and when they say it’s time for me to leave, that’s what I do”.

 

For those asking when Anthony Albanese will hold his press conference – he is on a boat on the Great Barrier Reef, so it will probably be a little while off.

 

At that same facility Scott Morrison was holding his press conference at, this has happened.

 

Just reminded of this exchange in the first half of the campaign between Scott Morrison and Sky political editor, Andrew Clennell:

Clennell: We’re nearly out of time. You’re a PM known to rely heavily on focus groups and polling, perhaps more than any other PM.

Morrison :

Based on what, Andrew?

Clennell: Well, I’m aware in the formulation of budgets, you often test some of the ideas.

Morrison:

That’s an assertion, which I don’t share.

Twenty-one days later, down in the polls, with focus groups running overtime and reporting back the prime minister is too negative, Scott Morrison says he “needs to change”.

Scott Morrison sells ‘supply chain resilience’ policy

Scott Morrison is now trying out a more positive message:

The last three years, they have been incredibly tough. The next three to five years will be much better.

And the reason they’ll be much better is because of the economic plan that we have been laying out and implementing both during the pandemic to keep us strong, but to ensure post-pandemic the jobs and the opportunities will be there.

Now, one of the key things we have learnt during the course of the pandemic – and we have learnt many lessons, sure we haven’t got everything right, I haven’t got everything right, we have been in one of the most extraordinary times known and there have been so many lessons learned and that’s going to enable us to be better in the future. I have talked a lot about risk in this campaign.

The risk of Anthony Albanese being loose with the economy and things like that, and that’s all true, but by voting for the Liberals and Nationals on 21 May, you’re also giving us the opportunity to put into practice all the things that we of course, have learned during the course of this pandemic, and ensure that the policies and plans that we have been putting in place to secure those opportunities in the next three to five years can be realised.

He is waving a printed “supply change resilience” paper by his head. Not sure if it says anything about climate change in there though (one of the biggest threats to supply changes).

 

And we are back to negative.

Scott Morrison:

That’s what this job is all about – there’s never just one thing or two things you got to do, you’ve got to be doing things everyday and you’ve got to be across many, many issues.

That’s why you can’t afford to have someone who’s loose in the Lodge. You’ve got to have someone who knows to work across all of these issues and how government works.

 

Q: Regional security is an issue you say is important to you. Were you told at any stage yesterday that the former high commissioner to the Solomon Islands was at the event? And why didn’t you talk to him?

Scott Morrison:

Well, I learned that later. When I follow protocols with my security team and when they say it’s time for me to leave, that’s what I do.

…I don’t question that. I have learnt he was there in the 1980s and I’m sure he had many opinions on that, but can I tell you one of the most important things that we have done, when I first became prime minister, [Fijian] prime minister Frank Bainimarama came to Australia and I hosted him at Kirribilli and there was the formal part of the meeting but Frank and I walked out on to the terrace and I said to Frank, ‘Frank, I know that Australia has not always done it the right way in the Pacific. You know, in the past Australia has acted a bit like a colonial overlord and stomped around and I don’t think it’s treated the Pacific peoples and families with respect.’

And he agreed with me. And he said, ‘That was one of the key issues that had been causing angst amongst Pacific leaders’.

He was grateful I acknowledged that. Frank and I have now become very good friends as I have with many of the Pacific leaders and I have sought to change the way that we deal with the Pacific.

You have heard me mention it on so many occasions – family, I think of Pacific leaders as equals and as family working together to address the national security issues which is why when these issues come up, when those threats come up, and when I engage with Pacific leaders, they know I’m doing that out of a shared concern, not just from Australia’s concern.

 

There is another question on immigration, but there is nothing new in the answer and Scott Morrison pivots it to finish with this:

That’s exactly what our economic policies are designed to do. They work together. Twenty-seven policies, I’ve announced during the course of this campaign. Every single one of them submitted for the approval of costings, in it the Parliamentary Budget Office and finance.

Labor party have not submitted one policy for costing during the course of this campaign. That should raise a question in people’s mind.

You can’t afford a loose unit in the Lodge, but what you can afford is to have a government that knows how to run the economy and is setting those opportunities up for the future. We have learnt a lot during this pandemic, and we are going to apply those lessons in the years ahead so we can continue to do better, to be better, and assure that better future which is a stronger future.

 

Truly, that was an extraordinary press conference. Murph will bring you her view very soon.

What we have heard from the prime minister, in the final minutes of the campaign is “I will change”.

That is different from “you may not like me, but I am good for you”.

Morrison has been in parliament since 2007. He has has held several senior portfolios before he was prime minister. He has held the same approach to the job the entire time he has been in parliament – not just through the pandemic.

But now Morrison says, he will change.

NSW and Victoria report more Covid deaths

The prime minister spoke in that press conference about “living with Covid”. NSW has reported 13 deaths and Victoria has reported 18 Covid deaths.

Labor commits $7.5m for national anti-racism ad campaign

01:30 Paul Karp

Labor has committed $7.5m for a national anti-racism plan to include a “Racism: It Stops with Me” style ad-campaign.

The shadow multicultural affairs minister, Andrew Giles, revealed the pledge in comments to Guardian Australia backing calls from multicultural groups and the race discrimination commissioner to fund an anti-racism framework.

In March 2021 the commissioner, Chin Tan, argued the plan would help Australia respond to the legacy of Islamophobia in the wake of the Christchurch massacre and anti-Asian racism during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Giles said the Australian Human Rights Commission’s work against racism had “not been effectively supported by the Morrison government”.

He also took aim at the Coalition’s record including voting for One Nation’s infamous “it’s OK to be white” Senate motion and former attorney general George Brandis’ defence of the “right to be a bigot” during attempts to repeal section 18C of the Race Discrimination Act, which bans speech that offends, insults or humiliates people based on race.

“In celebrating the great achievements of Australian multiculturalism we can’t take it for granted,” Giles said.

In addition to seeking funding for an anti-racism plan, the AHRC has warned that it lacks sufficient base funding to perform its statutory functions, which include handling racial discrimination complaints.

In March the shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, also criticised the AHRC funding gap but declined to make a specific commitment to redress it.

 

Q: Prime minister, the Coalition has traditionally been seen as strong on national security and strong on the economy.

Scott Morrison:

True.

Q: We’re now heading towards a trillion dollars in debt, China signed a security pact with the Solomons. Have you lost the trust of the community when it comes to the economy and national security?

Morrison:

We are living at a time that is – that is unprecedented. In the last 70 or so years and Australia is facing some of the biggest economic and security challenges indeed the health challenges, a one in a 100-year pandemic and look where we are.

We have got an economy that is outperforming all of the seven largest advanced economies, democracies, in the world. We have got 400,000 more people in work today than we had before the pandemic.

We have maintained our AAA credit rating and we’re one of only nine countries to do so and our economic plan has turned around the budget by over $100bn in the last 12 months, unemployment has fallen to 4% and is falling further and youth unemployment has fallen to 8.3%.

We got 220,000 apprentices in trade training right now, the highest level since 1963. We got 1.1 million more women in work today than when we first came … No, sorry you asked me a question about economic credentials and I’m running…

Q: And national security credentials.

Morrison:

You asked me about economic credentials so I think it’s only fair that I’m able to set them out. 1.1 million women more in work today having achieved record levels of female participation in the workforce.

The gender pay gap has fallen from 17.4% to 13.8% which means women working today are $70 a week better off than what they were under the Labor party.

And in addition, on our tax plan, it shows that women are $60 better off today than they were previously. And, of course, we’re ensuring that young people are getting into trades and are getting those jobs. That’s what our economic plan is doing as well as investing in supply chain security and the advanced manufacturing opportunities of the future, getting energy costs down by 10% over the last 3.5 years since I have been prime minister.

That’s what our economic plan is addressing. And as a result, we got issues around the world which has got upward pressure on interest rates, it’s got upward pressure on the cost of living, and so I think Australians can make the judgement about a government that has delivered on all of that, but more importantly, has had the economic plan that has been setting us up for the future to take advantage of the opportunities that are there and realise in the years ahead and on national security you have asked me about that. We’re the first government to achieve access to nuclear-powered submarines of any government in Australia and plenty have tried.

We have landed the first agreement, the Aukus agreement, which is the most significant defence agreement that this country has entered into since Anzus.

We have ensure that we have turned around the massive cuts to defence that we saw under Labor, the massive chaos on our borders to secure our border security for the future. It was Australia that under our government was able to stop the boats and other countries around the world come to Australia to find out how you can achieve that.

So when it comes to national security, when it comes to doing and standing up to the Chinese government, no government has been more forthright than ours whether it’s on protecting us on the security of our communication systems, where we’re one of the first to stand up in the world.

Whether it’s dealing with foreign interference, ensuring we have tight foreign investment rules that we have strengthened over time to ensure Australia’s sovereignty is not impinged. That’s our record. That what we have been doing. Australians know they can trust that, but more importantly they know they see the strength in our government and my prime ministership to stand up on those issues because they have seen me do it in the face of opposition, of critics, and on many occasions that has been from a weak opposition who you know you can’t trust with national security and is just loose on the economy.

 

Q: How many times have you met with Chinese embassy officials since you have been prime minister? Richard Marles had met with them and other officials 10 times in the last five years. Is that a concern to you? Are Labor doing more in this Chinese relationship?

Scott Morrison:

I have not met with the Chinese ambassador in any formal meeting while I have been prime minister and I note those reports about the deputy leader of the Labor party. It comes on top of the concerning reports about him running his speeches past the Chinese government and now we see a very strangely high number of meetings between an opposition member of parliament and Chinese government officials. I mean, something doesn’t sound right that to me.

 

01:21 Christopher Knaus

The aged care sector says none of the three major parties have announced election policies for “effectively tackling the sector’s urgent funding and workforce gaps in the short-term”.

The Australian Aged Care Collaboration, an alliance of industry peak groups, on Friday released its election scorecard assessing the aged care policies of Labor, the Coalition, and the Greens.

The Coalition was easily marked the worst of any party, receiving a tick only for fully committing to fund 200 minutes of care for each aged care resident from next year. Both Labor and the Greens were applauded for making the same commitment, but going much further, by fully committing to funding 215 minutes of care from 2024, funding any aged care staff pay rise decided on by the Fair Work Commission, and funding 24/7 nursing for aged care facilities. The Greens were the only of the three parties to make a partial commitment to provide funding for “current gaps in staffing and Covid-19 prevention costs”, the AACC said.

In a statement, the AACC said:

Recent surveys from the Australian National University and the ABC’s Vote Compass have confirmed that aged care ranks as a top issue of concern for Australians as they consider their vote.None of the parties are effectively tackling the sector’s urgent funding and workforce gaps in the short-term. There are also no comprehensive commitments on allied health for aged care. Addressing these issues are fundamental to improving the quality of care.Labor and The Greens have said they would fund a wage increase for workers and further increases in care minutes and nursing coverage, the Government has stated that it also supports these policies, but has avoided making a clear funding commitment.The AACC will continue to push for a supplement for wages, training, and nursing costs. We are also calling on the Government to fully fund a minimum wage increase for aged care workers.Australians have made it clear – they expect quality aged care for everyone who needs it and they see this as a priority for any incoming GovernmentThe AACC is calling on the next federal government to act on aged care reform in its first 100 days.It’s time to ensure that older Australians get the care they need and deserve, once and for all.

 

Q: You today announced new border protection policies which do include charging foreign criminals, if they’re in immigration detention. You had several years to announce that policy as either immigration minister or prime minister. Why are you doing it now just with a week left to go before the election campaign? Is this more politics than policy?

Scott Morrison:

No, it’s future plans. Because you never rest when it comes to national security and border security.

…We have done it for people smugglers and we made sure it could work with people smugglers and now whether they’re drug traffickers or bikies or others who will as soon as they get out, we’ll punt them, we’ll punt them. They’ll go. Over 10,000…

(Many have been NZ born citizens who have been living in Australia since they were babies/young children who have no ties to NZ beyond it being the place of their birth. The practice has been an issue NZ has raised with Australia multiple times.)

Q: The parliamentary committees in the past have found there was more than $50m owed and about $2m was, you know, received back.

Morrison:

That’s $2m more than there was before, isn’t it? That’s why it’s important. It sends a very strong message. If you come and commit a crime in this country and you’re not a citizen, you’ll go to jail, and when you get out you’ll be in detention. And then you’ll be sent home and we have done that on more than 10,000 occasions. I started the process as immigration and border protection minister.

I turned around the disgraceful record where the Labor party just let people who came to Australia commit crimes and just let them back into the community and didn’t send them home. I started that process as immigration border protection minister, Peter Dutton took it to a whole new level, and Karen Andrews continues that process. We don’t even know who Anthony Albanese would have as their home affairs minister. In fact, with Kristina Keneally, she is each way and every way when it comes to border protection. On these issues she just couldn’t be trusted to follow through.

 

Wow this press conference has been a journey.

Forget the last 3.5 years and the time as social services minister, immigration minister and treasurer before that and the time in parliament since 2007 – Scott Morrison, a week out from the 2022 election, now knows he needs to change how he does things.

 

Q: Just some clarity on yesterday. Was that any way to treat someone that has served the country? And also if you could clarify – is it the job of your security detail to protect you from physical danger or to protect you from political embarrassment?

Scott Morrison:

Well, they know what their responsibilities are and I follow [the protocols].

…I mean, in this job, it’s very important to follow protocols in relation to matters of that nature and I just follow those protocols.

…I have great faith in the team that protects me every single day and you’ll know that it was only a few weeks ago about 200 metres from the very site we were at yesterday where two of my protection detail were involved in a very serious car accident only a few hundred metres from that very site … I follow their protocols and do that on each occasion and I don’t question it.

 

Q: Mark McGowan yesterday was quite forceful about Peter Dutton that he finds his talk about war quite frightening. Is his rhetoric going over the top? Is it damaging relations even further with Beijing?

Scott Morrison:

Our objectives ensure a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific. That’s what our policies are designed to achieve and that is what Peter is working to achieve.

That is exactly why we have entered into things like the Aukus agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom.

It’s why we have restored defence funding from the lowest level we have seen since before the second world war under Labor because they couldn’t control the borders and they couldn’t control the budget.

It wasn’t just that Labor couldn’t control the budget and they had to cut defence, they also couldn’t put important medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. That’s what happens when you have a party that’s loose with finances, loose with the economy.

You can’t afford a loose unit in the Lodge. And because the impact on you is very serious. It impacts on the medicines you can get access to, it impacts on your security as a nation when they can’t fund defence forces.

So we have rebuilt that up to over 2%. We have put in place the partnerships with our allies and our like-minded partners in the region. The Quad arrangement, now this is significant, under our involvement and with a lot of our driving, the Quad which is Australia, India, Japan and the United States, has been taken to a leaders’ level dialogue.

What’s the relevance of that? It was Kevin Rudd who put an end to that at the behest of the Chinese government. Now, he was wrong about that.

We have fixed that by restoring the Quad, by working with Japan, working with India, working with the United States. What that does is it implies an important counter-balance in our region for peace and stability. Our defence policies are all about ensuring peace and stability in our region, not the opposite.

‘We are living with Covid’ says Scott Morrison

Q: Prime minister, you said a couple of times there this morning that we’re almost through the pandemic, we’re at the end of it. Are we really, though? 15,000 new infections in Victoria yesterday, 15 deaths, we are coming into winter. Are we really through this?

Scott Morrison:

That’s why I haven’t said we’re fully through it and I have never said we are.

Because there are, of course, the winter and as you know earlier in the year working with the states and territories, we did our winter preparedness plan to go through all the issues, to support that, and that particularly meant ensuring vaccinations for older Australians, going back into the aged care facilities, and that’s what’s been done.

And that’s the plan being rolled out by the department of health and the states and the territories. And there’s always the risk of other variants.

We have been watching closely some of those variants, even over the course of this campaign as I have been in touch with the chief medical officer.

But where we’re at now is we’re living with it. I think that’s fairly clear.

Yes, there are large numbers of cases each day and sadly we are losing Australians, and as we have said many times back some months ago, when people are passing away, they may have Covid when they pass away, but we all know that that doesn’t mean that was the contributing factor to their death. But that’s how the numbers are recorded and I’m not suggesting any change to that.

So we are living with that virus. And that virus, it’s in the community, but people are getting on with their lives just as they are here and now.

And so I think as we talk about the pandemic, we’re moving into a completely different phase now and, indeed, we’re already living in it.

People don’t want what they have had to live with through the pandemic going into the future and that’s why the next three years we can look forward with optimism and we can look forward with hope because we have come through the worst of this, we believe.

Now, we can’t guarantee against any other circumstances and I wouldn’t be so foolish to suggest that, we always have to be ready and we always seek to be, but the opportunity is there now and we can’t risk that opportunity.

There is the better times that are coming, and that is because we have planned for them.

We have planned with businesses like this to ensure that they can invest in the equipment, the contracts, the technology, the training and the skills.

As a government, we just haven’t been getting us through, we have been setting Australia up and that’s why I’m optimistic.

 

13 May 2022 00:54 Josh Butler

Coalition spokesperson Anne Ruston has appeared to slightly walk back some of the government’s criticisms of Anthony Albanese’s comments on the minimum wage, saying they didn’t necessarily oppose a 5.1% increase – but more that Labor had nominated a specific figure.

For two days the Coalition has blasted Albanese for saying he would “absolutely” back a 5.1% increase to the minimum wage (that’s just $1 an hour).

Scott Morrison and other ministers have voiced fears about what it would do to inflation and interest rates (even though they’ve raised no such fears about the looming $180bn in stage 3 tax cuts), but Labor has turned it around by claiming the Coalition are penny pinching to harm the lowest-paid workers.

A slew of online posts from Labor have painted Morrison and the Coalition as financial scrooges, including one depicting the prime minister as Gollum from Lord of the Rings, clutching a $1 coin as “my precious”.

In a Radio National interview this morning, Ruston – who would be health minister in a Coalition government – recast her side’s attack.

I think you’ll find that the government has been very clear in its condemnation of the comments by Mr Albanese, not because of the figure that he put out there specifically, but the fact that he’s just chosen to put a figure out there without bothering to consult, take advice.

There’s no science around it.

Appearing alongside Ruston in a panel segment, Labor’s education spokesperson Tanya Plibersek also slightly re-positioned Labor’s stance. She said Labor would “welcome” a Fair Work Commission decision to raise the minimum wage by 5.1% – but stopped short of saying her party would explicitly suggest that specific figure in its submission to the FWC on the issue.

 

13 May 2022 00:38

Oh – it is also the PM’s birthday.

 

13 May 2022 00:37

Scott Morrison is campaigning in Chisholm with Liberal MP Gladys Liu.

There are a lot of people wearing blue coats surrounding them

Anne Ruston doesn’t know if Katherine Deves’ SMH interview was authorised by Liberal party

13 May 2022 00:20

Over on ABC RN Radio, Anne Ruston (she is busy this morning) is asked, as the Coalition campaign spokesperson why Katherine Deves is on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Patricia Karvelas wants to know if it is an authorised interview, given how closely campaigns control who speaks, when – and until recently, Deves was not doing any interviews.

Q: Anne Ruston, the liberal candidate for Warringah, Katherine Daves is on the front page of the paper this morning. Is the plan to keep her views on transgender people in the news?

Ruston:

The comments that have been made by Ms Deves, I would distance myself from them entirely.

I think they’ve been insensitive and they have not taken into regard the…

Q: [How did she end up] on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald?

Ruston:

Well, obviously, that’s a matter for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Q: No, it’s not. No, it’s not. It’s a matter for your campaign. You’re a spokesperson for your campaign. How did she sit down and do this interview? Are you trying to get her views on the agenda?

Ruston:

As I was saying, I think the views that have been [expressed], the way that Ms Deves has expressed her views about some very, very important but very sensitive issues has been insensitive. I would not use the terminology that she has used and I would distance myself…

Q: But my question is different. How did she get on the front page? Why did she agree to this interview? Is this authorised by your campaign?

Ruston:

Well, as I said, whether it was how she’s the story has come on to the front page of the paper is a matter for the publication.

Q: But no, it’s a matter for your party. She is your endorsed candidate.

Ruston:

Well, the decision around where the comments are a matter for the paper to decide.

Q: No I’m sorry, but I want to know whether your campaign authorised this interview.

Ruston:

Well, as far as I’m aware, I wouldn’t know necessarily but I would highly doubt that our campaign would authorise the kinds of comments that have been made by Ms Deves because we have distanced ourselves from those comments.

Q: But somehow, she’s on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald in the last days of the campaign. Are you alarmed by that?

Ruston:

Well, the issue that Ms Deves is raising are very important issues for Australians to have a conversation about but as I continue to repeat, some of the comments from Ms Deves, I believe have been insensitive, and they haven’t taken into regard the the impact that they would have on the people, particularly those young people

 

13 May 2022 00:19

Scott Morrison is in Chisholm (Melbourne).

Anthony Albanese is in Leichhardt (Cairns).

 

13 May 2022 00:15

Scott Morrison plans on announcing the Coalition will launch cost recovery from people in immigration detention (which includes asylum seekers) a policy which was in place, but was abolished by the Rudd government in 2009.

Kristina Keneally has been quick to announce Labor supports the policy and question the timing.

How borders have managed to become a key election slug fest when there has been nothing to prompt it but rhetoric and that both major parties believe there are votes in it, says a lot about our nation.

 

13 May 2022 00:14

The flood siren warning has been activated in Grantham warning residents in low lying areas of a flooding risk.

Grantham was the scene of devastating floods in 2011/12 which still haunt residents.

Anne Ruston finesses Morrison’s attack on Labor’s 5.1% wage rise support

13 May 2022 00:07

Anne Ruston, as the Coalition campaign spokesperson is now pretending that Scott Morrison and the Coalition didn’t criticise Anthony Albanese for backing a minimum wage increase of 5.1% itself, but that he made policy on the fly.

I think you’ll find that the government has been very clear in its condemnation of the comments by Mr Albanese, not because of the figure that he put out there specifically, but the fact that he’s just chosen to put a figure out there you know, without bothering to consult, take advice, you know, there’s no science around it.

Ruston is asked whether she could live on $20.33 and avoids the question, instead saying the government has provided cost of living relief.

 

13 May 2022 00:00

Queensland is dealing with floods.

Again.

In May.

 

12 May 2022 23:53

Back to Anne Ruston, she was asked on ABC radio whether or not she believes the role of the deputy prime minister is considered an economic portfolio.

One of the Coalition’s key attacks is Anthony Albanese has never held an economic portfolio. But he held infrastructure and was briefly deputy PM.

So is deputy PM an economic role?

Ruston:

Well, it would depend on the portfolio that the deputy prime minister held. I mean, obviously, there have been deputy prime ministers that have held economic portfolios in the past.

And there are others that have chosen to hold portfolios that are in other areas.

…As I said economic portfolios, are determined by the type of portfolio that it is and we know that portfolios such as you know, finance and treasury are the central pillars of the finance and economic portfolios … it will depend entirely on the portfolio that the deputy prime minister held.

 

12 May 2022 23:44

On what Anne Ruston said, here is some of what Scott Morrison said about the 5.1% figure on 11 May:

Anthony Albanese says that he wants wages to go up by 5.1% and he thinks that Australians don’t know what the impact of that would be on their interest rates, on unemployment or on inflation in the cost of living.

He thinks Australians don’t get the link between these things. He thinks he can just say what he likes and you can have your cake and eat it.

And that is not how you run sensible, sound, responsible economic policy. What prime ministers and treasurers say about the economy has real world effects around your kitchen table.

And a prime minister who would think – if Anthony Albanese was in that job – he could just go around wildly speculating with thoughtless contributions on wages.

What that could lead to is rising inflationary expectations and that feeds through to what you pay in the supermarket, what you pay elsewhere in the economy, and it can even impact on your job. What he said yesterday puts a chain reaction in place. Dominoes fall that lead to higher interest rates and higher costs of living.

And if he doesn’t understand that, that tells you everything you need to know about what he doesn’t understand about the Australian economy.

If he does understand it, he’s playing you for a mug. He thinks he can run around at this election saying you can increase people’s wages and at the same time see cost of living pressures fall and pressure on interest rates to remain down.

Well, it just doesn’t work like that, Anthony. You either don’t know what you’re talking about and you’re not up to the job or you’re taking the Australian people for a ride and I’ve called you out.

 

12 May 2022 23:39

Tanya Plibersek, also on RN Breakfast, was asked about why Labor won’t put a figure in its submission to the Fair Work Commission:

We would put in a submission like every government puts in a submission to the Fair Work Commission in similar circumstances and we would consider not just the current rate of inflation, we’d also consider the other elements where we’re trying to help with the cost of living – things like the very substantial improvement in the cost of childcare, saving families thousands of dollars, like bringing down power bills by $275 a year, like bringing down the cost of medicines, all of those things.

Q: That’s interesting, so all of those things are considered, are you saying that it might not be 5.1% because other things have been effectively cheaper?

Plibersek:

I’m not going to pick a figure out of the air. This is something that we would work through in government to make a submission to the Fair Work Commission and Anthony has been very clear if the Fair Work Commission determines that 5.1% is a reasonable increase for those lowest paid workers, we would welcome that.

I mean, we are talking about people on $20.33 an hour asking for $1 an hour pay increase. The same workers that we’ve been thanking through the pandemic because they kept turning up to work, you know, to clean our supermarkets and clean our trains and keep public transport going and doing all of these jobs that we’re very thankful for in the hardest times, but now we’re not prepared to give them a $1 an hour pay increase, when we’ve got federal ministers saying that $400,000 a year is not enough for them to be paid.

 

12 May 2022 23:24

Tanya Plibersek:

I don’t believe a candidate like this would do a major interview like this without checking in with campaign headquarters in the first place. If that’s your question, is it an authorised interview I’d be gobsmacked if it wasn’t.

 

12 May 2022 23:16

On that back and forth with Anne Ruston:

 

12 May 2022 23:10

Queensland continues to be impacted by floods, as AAP reports:

Heavy rain is forecast to keep drenching parts of Queensland, with the weather bureau predicting falls of 160mm across the southeast that could bring life-threatening flash flooding.

Gympie, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Cooroy, Nambour and Rainbow Beach are all on flood watch on Friday as a surface trough moves across the coast.

“Locally intense rainfall which may lead to dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding is possible with thunderstorms during Friday afternoon,” the BOM said in an alert on Thursday.

© Provided by The Guardian Floodwaters outside the town of Forest Hill, Queensland. Photograph: Darren England/EPA

Major flooding is forecast for Laidley Creek and the Mary River at Gympie, with moderate flood warnings for the Bremer, Lockyer and Brisbane rivers on Friday.

The continued rainfall comes as a man was found safe and well after disappearing near a campsite south of Gympie in the state’s southeast.

Police and swift water rescue crews had been searching for the 36-year-old after he was reported missing at 10am on Thursday.

He was last seen chasing his dog away from the Yabba Creek Road campground near Imbil about 11.30pm on Wednesday.

Floodwaters cut off access to the site with the RACQ LifeLight chopper deployed amid heavy rainfall.

Police confirmed the man had been located “safe and well” on Thursday afternoon.

A woman in her 30s died in floods near Mackay earlier this week as rains up to 10 times the monthly average battered the north and the central interior of the state.

A man in his 60s was also treated for hyperthermia after spending Wednesday night clinging to a tree after his car became swamped by floodwaters near Bundaberg.

Heavy rainfall across Queensland is the state’s sixth major flood event since December with a combined death toll of 28.

The BOM warned of further heavy rainfall over the next 24 hours before lowering in intensity and easing following the weekend.

 

12 May 2022 23:00

Q: Katherine Deves, should she apologise for saying what she said?

Anne Ruston:

Well, as I said, I think the comments Ms Deves has made in the past, you know, could definitely, you know, have been insensitive.

I mean, it’s a very important issue that she raises and she’s raised a number of important issues that Australians, you know, shouldn’t be afraid to have a discussion about, but if we’re going to have a discussion about sensitive issues then I think it is absolutely incumbent on us all to be very mindful of the language that we use and the impact of that language that – that it has on others particularly those that are more vulnerable and more sensitive to the commentary.

 

12 May 2022 22:59

Over on ABC Breakfast TV, Anne Ruston was asked why Scott Morrison isn’t doing more street walks in this campaign:

Trevor Sofield said he just wanted a civil conversation. What was wrong with that?

Ruston:

Well, I mean, obviously I wasn’t there and I was not confronted with the situation that the security detail was confronted with, but they do their job in very hard circumstances and often very dangerous circumstances as we saw in the situation in Tasmania a few weeks ago. [The security detail was involved in a car crash.]

They take their role seriously and do an amazing job in protecting all of us that are out on the campaign trail. And, you know, I think, you know, we need to respect the fact that they were – they were doing their job and there are other mechanisms through which people are able to get access to our leaders. I mean, certainly I know that my door is always open and my phone lines are always open should people want to contact me and provide me with their views on particular issues and so I would certainly encourage anybody who wants to put their views forward to do it through a way, but I would also say, you know, the Australian federal police are an amazing service that protect everybody.

Q: Federal police had their job to protect the Prime Minister and also the opposition leader, but I guess it goes to the broader question, doesn’t it, Senator Ruston – why isn’t the prime minister engaging with random voters, random people, more often?

Ruston:

Well, look, obviously the prime minister is on a number of occasions made himself – has engaged more broadly, certainly his visit to the Royal Sydney Show.

Q: That was one occasion, what were the other occasions?

Ruston:

Well, I mean, the prime minister meets with many people on the campaign trail at many times, but I suppose one of the things that probably is a reflection on the sad reality of modern-day politics is the need, the quite significant need, for close personal protection, not just of the prime minister, but also of the leader of the opposition and other …

Q: I have seen him in campaign trails in the past with the AFP and doing a great job and other members of the security team walking down suburban shopping strips allowing, in this case, the prime minister to speak to, expose himself to the views of random voters. Why aren’t we seeing that?

Ruston:

Well, as I said, unfortunately we’re seeing a time these days where, you know, the people are perhaps not as safe to be able to be walking down the street. But as I said, the prime minister did go to the Royal Sydney Show and engage with a number of people that were at the show, which was a fantastic opportunity for him to engage with people out on the ground during the Easter break.

But, you know, this is a very serious campaign with very serious issues that we – we want to talk to the Australian public about the decision and the choice that they have at the next election and I think both leader, but the prime minister particularly, has engaged on a platform to make sure that he is able to provide that message in the best possible way to the most voters across Australia, and using the platform that you have, and that’s through the media to make sure that message is very clearly broadcast across the whole of Australia.

Good morning

12 May 2022 22:44

There are eight days left in the campaign, with the leaders now looking to consolidate their messages.

For the Coalition, that message is “who do you trust with the economy” as it continues its spend-a-thon, with Sarah Martin and Nick Evershed reporting it has made $3bn in spending promises for 10 marginal seats.

Related: Coalition targets marginal seats with almost $3bn in election spending promises

Sarah and Nick have gone through all the funding announcements and discovered that along with the big headline announcements made each day, there are hyper local ones aimed at winning key seats.

The promises range from those in the tens of thousands, such as $100,000 for a playground upgrade in Kiola in Gilmore, to those in the hundreds of millions, such as the $336m regional road package targeting marginal seats in northern Tasmania.

Labor, for its part, has pledged close to $1bn for its top 10 marginals, with McEwen leading the list of commitments at $150m, as it seeks to fend off the challenge from the Liberals, followed by the Labor-held seats of Corangamite and Moreton.

Does anyone else smell roast pork?

Meanwhile, Australia’s relationship with Solomon Islands continues to haunt the campaign, after Trevor Sofield, the high commissioner to the Solomons from 1982 to 1985 (and our second) said he was “manhandled” by the PM’s security after he tried to approach Morrison at a Tasmanian cheese shop yesterday.

Sofield, 78, said he wanted to raise his concerns with how the government was handling the relationship with Solomons.

Labor is bracing for another day of wages questions, and trying to shift the dial to the environment

Related: Labor pledges millions in funding to protect threatened species and Great Barrier Reef

Labor has said it will release its costings after the Coalition’s campaign launch (to be held in Brisbane on Sunday) with the Coalition trying to push the message Labor’s pledges haven’t been costed. That included a press conference with Simon Birmingham and Josh Frydenberg with a costings “score board” yesterday – 22 to 0.

Eight days to go.

You have Murph and the team to guide you through the day. I am already on coffee number three, so let’s jump straight in.