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LIVE – Updated at 03:31

Anthony Albanese reveals plan to boost primary health care as Scott Morrison prepares for Sunday’s campaign launch.

 

And in case you have missed it, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has tested positive for Covid.

It comes at an inopportune moment for the PM, who will need to isolate while her government introduces an emissions reduction plan and a budget next week.

You can read more at the story below:

Related: New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern tests positive for Covid-19

Western Australia reports 13,162 new cases

Western Australia has recorded 13,162 new cases overnight, with 292 people in hospital, and 10 in ICU.

 

We have a question about change! Anthony Albanese is asked if he will change if he wins the election:

Scott Morrison got asked a question the other night to say something nice for a minute. He couldn’t quite get there, but he did try. But one of the things he said about me was that I have never forgotten where I came from, and I haven’t. What you see is what you get. The values that I was raised with are the values that I hold dear and they are the values that I will take into government.

With two key themes to that: No one left behind, because I believe we should look after the disadvantaged and aim to lift people up, but also no one held back, that Labor is the party of aspiration and opportunity, that we should look for ways in which people can be the best they can be, and that will be my driving force. I don’t believe this prime minister can change. It is a desperate statement that he made.

© Provided by The Guardian Anthony Albanese speaks to the media during a press conference in Darwin. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

 

And not to be out-press-conferenced, the defence minister, Peter Dutton, has announced a press conference for 1.15pm.

Labor holds comfortable lead in Newspoll

Before we head to the NT, I just wanted to bring up some Newspoll numbers this morning, which shows Labor is still in a comfortable lead over the Coalition, with Anthony Albanese’s approval dipping slightly.

Labor leads on a two-party-preferred basis of 54 to 46, with the Coalition’s primary vote still at 35%. Labor’s primary vote fell back a point, to 38%.

Albanese’s approval rating dropped by three points to 38%, while Scott Morrison’s approval rating rose by three points, and is now level with Albanese on minus 11 points on approval. Morrison leads Albanese by one point on preferred prime minister, 43% to 42%.

 

And Anthony Albanese has finally stepped up for today’s press conference, and begins by acknowledging retiring NT Chief Minister Michael Gunnar, welcoming his replacement, Natasha Fyles.

Anthony Albanese says PM ‘broke trust’ with US by delaying briefing Labor on Aukus

OK, we are into questions, and the first is if the government had an “ulterior motive” in announcing yesterday that Australia had spotted a Chinese warship off the coast of Western Australia.

Anthony Albanese, though, switches to discuss a report on the Aukus deal:

Look, Labor shares concerns about the presence of an intelligence ship off the coast of Western Australia from the Chinese government. We have asked for a fuller briefing, but I make this point about national security issues: There is a report today in Nine Newspapers – it is a serious report.

What it indicates is that for four-and-a-half months in the lead-up to the announcement about Aukus, the United States government was saying to the Australian government very clearly and repeatedly that they wanted the opposition, Labor, to be briefed and that they wanted to have the confidence that this would be a bipartisan issue in terms of support.

And the Biden administration sought reassurance from the Australian government that Australian Labor had been consulted on these issues. It is extraordinary that the prime minister broke that faith and trust with our most important ally by not briefing Australian Labor on these issues. We were briefed on the afternoon of the Wednesday before the 7am announcement. I was contacted by Scott Morrison only the day before and asked to fly to Canberra, which I did, with Richard Marles and Penny Wong and Brendan O’Connor was also there, remotely, to be briefed on the Aukus proposals. It was a good, comprehensive briefing by officials.

But the fact that the United States had made a request to Australia that was ignored for four-and-a-half months shows that this is a prime minister who always plays short-term politics, is not interested in the national interest.

 

Anthony Albanese continues, saying Scott Morrison has used national security issues for short-term political gain, and is followed up with a question on whether he thought Morrison was again thinking in the short term when announcing the ships yesterday:

I’m not suggesting that. I am suggesting that it is an issue of concern that this ship was off the coast of Western Australia. It is appropriate that we get proper security briefings on those issues. Brendan O’Connor has made it clear that he has requested that issue. It is not an issue that was raised with me in any of the briefings …

 

We return to discussions of foreign policy once again, this time on whether Anthony Albanese would be talking to state premiers about China, after the Western Australian premier, Mark McGowan, waded into the discussion yesterday:

Well, I do note that Peter Dutton’s rhetoric is very different from his own government’s rhetoric. It is very different from Marise Payne, who is in charge of foreign policy in the government. She is the foreign minister. Her rhetoric is very different from Peter Dutton.

What we see going on here – we’ve seen it for some period of time – you notice the really subtle things, that you can’t be leader if you haven’t been treasurer, when Josh Frydenberg is sitting behind the prime minister. There is tension within the Liberal party. It is being played out day after day.

There is tension within the National party whereby people are doing the numbers, where they win or not, over who is either deputy prime minister or leader of the National party, depending upon the seats and the outcomes. And the Liberals and Nationals don’t like each other.

The Australian government is in charge of our national policy, but I will be engaging in a constructive way with business, with state premiers, with civil society about our relationships. Mark McGowan is doing a great job as the WA premier. I stand with Mark McGowan. Scott Morrison stands with Clive Palmer.

 

Anthony Albanese is then asked about implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and what he’s made of Scott Morrison’s rejection of a voice to parliament:

The only voice that Scott Morrison wants to hear is his own. It is not surprising that he has ruled out a voice to parliament because the only voice that Scott Morrison ever wants to hear is his own.

That’s why even in the parliament he shuts down other voices. So it is not surprising, given he won’t have any debates in the parliament, that he doesn’t want a voice to parliament. This is a generous offer from First Nations people. First Nations people are just asking to be consulted on issues that affect their lives, on health, on education, on housing, on those issues.

It is a generous handout from First Nations people, and what they are asking for is a partner, is just a joining of hands in our common interests. This is the same political party that said if we apologise to the stolen generations it would be divisive. Peter Dutton walked out of that apology. What we need to do is bring this country together.

 

Will Anthony Albanese be reaching out to the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, if he wins the election?

I am not getting ahead of myself and the relationship with China will remain complex and will remain challenging, regardless of who wins the election. I tell you who I will be reaching out to.

I will be, if we are successful, I will be reaching out to the United States and the Biden administration, and what the Biden administration will get from me, as our most important ally, is straight answers. What is very clear from today’s revelations is that they didn’t get straight answers from the Morrison government.

 

A final question about Andrew Charlton in Parramatta again, first referring to a previous statement the Labor leader made on a Liberal candidate found living at a different address to the one listed.

At the time, Anthony Albanese said it was a “very serious” issue for the PM. Does the same standard apply to Charlton?

The electoral commission took action on that and referred the candidate for Lilley to the AFP. I expect the rules to always be upheld. Thanks.

 

Well, after a week in which Labor’s Sally Sitou was mixed up with Tu Le, they have come together on the campaign trail in Reid in Sydney’s inner west:

Queensland authorities provide flood update

And we jump straight from Albanese to Queensland authorities who are providing a flood update.

Shane Chelepy, the acting Queensland disaster coordinator, says there are still 87 buildings affected in Warwick, with 49 people in shelter in Condamine:

The district disaster group and local group are meeting today and as the river drops further they will be moving in towards those recovery efforts there.

At Gympie, as we indicated, we are still seeing rises in the Mary River at Gympie. Planning is well under way there and we are predicting a moderate flood level in Gympie. It is expected that the town bridge may divide the town again to the south. We have pre-positioned our emergency services and disaster management capability to both sides of the town.

We are expecting minor impacts but not expecting with the predicted peaks any significant impacts particularly to dwellings in the Gympie area, but obviously the disaster management group there will continue to monitor that and we will keep the residents informed.

 

Mark Butler is also at the presser, and is asked when some of the money announced today will actually be made available:

The GP grants flow immediately. They will start flowing this year and next year to strengthen GP practices. The Medicare Fund will start to flow from 1 July next year. Now there are a range of improvements in our general practice system, some of which Emma talked about earlier, they were identified in the 10-year plan, and what the taskforce’s job will be to do between now and the end of the year is to pull out the key priorities. AMA and the college have talked about priorities of strengthening the relationship between a general practice and particularly patients with complex and chronic disease.

As I said, the taskforce will report by the end of the year, identify the key priorities out of this long-term 10-year plan that should be addressed immediately. That report will flow into 2023 and funding will start flowing on 1 July 2023.

Video: ‘Australia has performed well’: Morrison promotes government’s achievements (Sky News Australia)

‘Australia has performed well’: Morrison promotes government’s achievements
What to watch next

 

We need to provide [GPs] with more support, which is why our $220m fund of strengthening Medicare GP grants is an important contribution, with grants from $25,000 to $50,000 to make sure that our GP practices can continue to thrive. In many areas, it is getting harder to see a doctor, not easier, and what we need to do is to make sure that people can get that care when they need it.

It’s one of the reasons why we announced our urgent care clinics to take pressure off emergency departments to work with existing GP services and community health clinics. It’s one of the reasons why we are announcing this funding today of almost $1bn to make a difference to the health sector.

It’s important that we do it here in the Northern Territory. It adds to the specific announcements that we’ve had – $111m First Nation’s health package that Penny Wong gave on my behalf when I was out of action due to a health concern, she went to Alice Springs to make that announcement on the First Nations health package – 500 additional health workers in Aboriginal communities, making a difference to people’s lives.

Anthony Albanese pledges $970m investment in Medicare

Anthony Albanese calls Labor’s investment in health a “significant” one:

I have said that Labor wants to strengthen Medicare. We understand that Medicare is at the heart of our health system. Universal healthcare is something that is a Labor creation, and Labor will always defend it and Labor will always strengthen it.

Today’s announcement is aimed at just that – strengthening Medicare taskforce and fund, $750m – $250m each year between, starting from next year, 2023 financial year, will make an enormous difference. It has been supported by the AMA and we have worked with the health sector to make sure that we do strengthen Medicare, which is why this funding will be available.

 

Back to questions about changing gears, a clear theme today. So, can we epxect a change beyonf economic recovery and oppoprtunity, as the PM has been rattling on about today?

I have told the story a few times, so forgive me if I tell it again. Jenny refers to it as the Morrison men. My father, my brother and I, we go in and fix things. And sometimes when we go in and fix things, people can get the impression that perhaps we are not as aware of many of the sensitivities that can be around these issues. We see a crisis, we see a problem, we see a need. My brother is a paramedic. He turns up on the scene and sees a child in great danger. He just gets to work. I must admit I am a bit the same. I go in and I seek to solve the problem.

I get it about the job of seeking to fix. I know that sometimes that makes it look like I am just pressing on, but has a prime minister, you’ve got to get the stuff done. You’ve got to get the stuff done. I will seek to be and to explain my motives and my concerns and empathise a lot more, but I tell you what, at the end of the day, what matters most is that I get the job done.

 

PM announcing $20.2m for Sporting Schools

The prime minister is in the Melbourne electorate of Deakin, and is announcing $20.2m in funding to expand the sporting schools program, along with local MP Michael Sukkar.

Morrison begins by saying there is nothing “more uplifting” than spending time with kids on a Saturday morning, saying nobody did it “tougher” during the pandemic than kids, particuarly kids in Melbourne.

But he says they are putting it behind them, its “exciting” the PM says.

© Provided by The Guardian Scott Morrison kicks a ball at Norwood Sports Club on Saturday. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

 

The PM continues, saying the country has also faced tough times, and that we are now heading into “better days”:

We have had to come through and toughed it out and push through as hard as we possibly can, and as a Prime Minister and as a government we have had to do that as well.

But as we go into this time of opportunity, and that is exactly what it is, and the kids reminded me of that again this morning, as we go into that time of opportunity, as a government, we change gears, as a Prime Minister, I change gears, and we go and secure those opportunities ahead.

This seems to be a continuation of yesterday’s “changing approach” discourse from Morrison.

 

14 May 2022 00:55

Anthony Albanese is in the Northern Territory to spruik his announcement on health spending, and we will bring you that as soon as it begins.

Three dogs and their two owners rescued from Queensland floods

14 May 2022 00:42

Two men and their dogs have been dramatically rescued from rising floodwaters in Morwincha, Queensland.

Police footage showed officers from Ipswich rushing to aid the dogs and the men, who were trapped in their van, wedged between a tree, with one man clinging to the passenger door.

Victoria records 22 deaths and 12,160 new cases

14 May 2022 00:35

Victoria is reporting 22 deaths overnight, as well as 12,160 new cases:

 

14 May 2022 00:35

And with that the PM wraps up his press conference.

 

14 May 2022 00:33

So, why has the PM decided to change gears in the last week of the campaign?

I have been listening to people. I have been listening carefully to people. And over the course of this campaign, it has been the opportunity to do that which, frankly, over the course of the last two years, we have all been locked up in Canberra. Most of you are from Canberra. We were all locked up there. The opportunity to get out and be with people in the community has been one bout we have not had, and it has been a very unusual time, an unusual time, where each and every day, we were dealing as a government with, often, quite existential crises.

It is not perfect and I think Australians need to know that I know that, as we gear-change into this next phase than the policies we have diligently put in place, our understanding of the economy and how it works, people know I’m not loose with the economy. People know that I’m not a loose unit when it comes to the economy. People know, even if they don’t like me, they know that I understand the economy.

 

14 May 2022 00:31

So changing gears from fixing things into also fixing things, but now it’s different.

 

14 May 2022 00:28

The PM is now asked about his “red line” comment on China, and whether yesterday’s so-called “act of aggression” (Peter Dutton’s words) was a crossing of said red line:

I thought I was very clear yesterday. Of course freedom of navigation is permitted all around the world. As nobody has made any suggestions that any rules were breached in relation to the international law of the sea.

But what yesterday highlighted, particularly when you take it in the context of economic coercion, foreign interference, pushing into our region, and asserting Chinese government seeking to impose its will across the region, this highlights the challenges that we face. This is why I did Aukus.

He then says he is “very clear eyed about the threats” three times in a row.

 

14 May 2022 00:25

We are discussing change extensively today, the PM is next asked if Australians can honestly believe he will change after the election:

What you have seen from me, especially over the last few years, is what Australians have needed. And I think Australians would agree with that stop the strength to get us through the pandemic and where we are today, obviously our government has played a significant role in that, but can I tell you, the thing that is always guided me as a politician, as a political leader, as a minister, is a treasurer and as a Prime Minister, is my fundamental belief in the resilience and strength and character of Australians.

We have had enough of government interfering in every aspect of our life, particularly here in Victoria. I think they have had a gutful of it here in Victoria, it is fair to say. I am hearing a few “hear hears”. They have had a gutful. What they want now is governments not telling them what to do, they want to buy a house.

They want governments which enable you to go out there and succeed. That is what the liberals are Nationals have always been about, fuelling a people’s ambitions, getting government out of the way, so that they can go and secure the opportunities ahead of us.

 

14 May 2022 00:25

Of note there is the minor shift in discourse from the PM, mentioning again that he needs to “shift gears”.

 

14 May 2022 00:23

Asked for what mistakes he has made that he would take back, Morrison falls back onto an oldie but a goodie:

Now, in hindsight, bringing in Lieutenant-General Frewen was something I would have done earlier, because when I put him in charge, we fixed the problem and we ended up ensuring the highest vaccination rates in the world and we met our target, ensuring that every single person in Australia who wanted a vaccine could get one, and we originally set that goal in late 2020 as being by October of 2021.

 

14 May 2022 00:22

Now the PM is saying he is looking forward to a “golden decade” of sport in Australia:

Whether it is the Fifa women’s World Cup in 2023, the women’s basketball World Cup happening this year, the cycling road World Championships, also happening this year, we have just won both the women’s under the men’s Rugby World Cup, with the government directly providing that sport, with the assistance needed to insular that they can bring that bid home.

We have the Commonwealth Games here in Victoria, we have the world transplant games here in 2023, the world cross-country championships in 2023, we have got the UCI BMX World Championships, and those of you who were able to join me at the BMX track over in Western Australia will know that we’ve got some great young champions emerging there, and of course the biggest of them all, we’ve got the T20 World Cup in 2028 and in 2022, but the Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games, which I can tell you, wouldn’t have happened where it’s not for the first mover in the Federal Government in making sure that we went forward without bed, working closely with the government

 

14 May 2022 00:22

OK and we are in questions. First question is a solid “how will your leadership change after the election” question:

The first one is, as we have been effectively dealing with a global crisis for the last two years, that was a time for me as prime minister in my government to be in the year of pushing through. And that was necessary to ensure that Australia was able to not just come through this pandemic and make many decisions and make many decisions quickly, and that frankly has not been the time during that period of crisis to undergo the broad-scale consultation and engagement which is my preference, but in these times, that has not been the opportunity for that. I have had to act quickly with Josh Frydenberg.

I have had to take decisions not all of which were popular and not all of which people would agree with and not on every occasion were right, because we were dealing with a global pandemic and we had to move fast and we had to get things as right as we possibly could. Now, the result of that is where we are at in terms of the strength of our economy and where we go to next.

The next stage is very different to where we have been. We are coming out of this pandemic, just like those kids understand. We are coming out of it and does a government, I’m looking forward to changing gears of our government to secure those opportunities that I had of us, and that means being able to engage more with local communities. We’ve been locked up in Canberra just as people were locked up here in Victoria. And that has all changed.

That means that my team and I in particular can do more of what we’ve been doing lately over the course of this campaign and indeed before, when we have had the opportunity, I have revelled in the opportunity to be back out and connecting with Australians, because while there were great fears during the pandemic, and that strength was necessary, where we are going next is a gear change, where we are securing opportunities and realising the ambitions and aspirations Australians have their future. I said at the last election, how good is Australia? Well, are about to find out just how much better it is going to be because of the work we have done together and we move into this optimistic mode where we are able to seize the opportunities ahead of us.

RACGP welcome’s opposition GP plan

14 May 2022 00:20

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has released a statement backing Labor’s $970m investment in GPs, saying it was important to enshrine “continuity of care.”

RACGP president Adj Prof Karen Price said that while details were a little light, the RACGP would work with the opposition to implement the plan:

Whilst we need to see further details of the scheme, the RACGP will work with the Opposition should they form government. We need to ensure all investments will work in practice for clinicians and achieve high-quality patient care.

Ask any GP and they will tell you that they regularly see some patients with multiple chronic conditions as different problems arise week to week over a long period of time. Enshrining continuity of care and drawing on the best available evidence base to help achieve long-term patient health outcomes are vital components of achieving necessary health system reform.

It is vital that the taskforce chaired by Shadow Health Minister Butler is led by GPs and consumers. This will help avoid unintended consequences by making sure there is a vital feedback loop back to government. It is great news that GPs and general practice teams will have a seat at the table because we will be the ones making sure that this model is functioning effectively and reaping beneficial outcomes for the patients who need it most.

 

14 May 2022 00:15

Morrison has unfurled his famous boomer dad vibes, snorting at young people using “devices”:

I still remember the mates are used to play with when I was a kid, when I used to go play sport, I used to look forward to it every Saturday and be there with mum and dad, come and be on the sidelines, it is those great experiences of family life which creates strong families and strong communities.

And by investing in a healthy lifestyles of our children, and doing that with the highly successful sporting schools program, this means we can get more and more about into healthy lifestyles, we need to get them off those phones and get them on the field. I hear some noise from parents who know exactly what I am talking about. And sure, they can have fun with their devices, that has to be on the timing at all the rest of it, you guys struggle without as much as I am sure we all do, but we want them out there running around, we want them living healthy lifestyles.

NSW reports 10,954 new cases and 19 deaths

14 May 2022 00:01

NSW is reporting 19 Covid deaths overnight, and 10,954 new cases:

 

13 May 2022 23:54

Sticking with Zimmerman, he’s asked if Morrison isn’t a liability, would Trent have him campaign in his seat of North Sydney?

I have said I would be happy for the prime minister to join me. Of course, he puts his head down on a bed in my electorate every night that he is in Sydney. But my campaign has really been a grassroots campaign, and I am focused on talking to voters about what we are going to offer them in the next parliamentary term and also what I am offering them locally.

 

13 May 2022 23:48

Next, Zimmerman is asked about Katherine Deves, and in particular about earlier comments he’s made, where he has said he was “angry” and “disappointed” at her previous comments.

Asked if her comments have put his re-election in doubt, here is what Zimmerman had to say:

I don’t think so. I obviously condemn the language she has used and I think it is inappropriate, but voters in my electorate know where I stand on these issues. It is one of the reasons I crossed the floor on the religious discrimination act, to protect gay and trans students and also teachers. I have no regrets about that and I would exactly same thing again if I were re-elected.

… I think it also points to why electorates like mine wants to have a moderate voice in parliament.

Good morning

13 May 2022 23:34

Good morning, Mostafa Rachwani with you for the last Saturday blog before the election. With only seven days to go, the finish line is within view, and both leaders are gearing up to finish with a flourish.

We begin with Labor, who will enter the final week of campaigning with a new $970m investment in primary health and a boost for infrastructure upgrades in GP practices. Labor leader Anthony Albanese is promising greater access to GPs under the plan.

Meanwhile, prime minister Scott Morrison is preparing for his campaign launch, and is expected to announce financial support for 700,000 children to play sports, part of a $20m plan to expand sporting programs.

Elsewhere, we’ll keep our eyes on Covid numbers, especially as the flu season begins to pick up, with many people questioning what is making them ill if they keep testing negative to Covid.

There is still much going, so let’s dive in.

 

13 May 2022 23:33 Josh Butler

The Greens have referred three Labor campaign ads to the Australian Electoral Commission over alleged “misleading and deceptive” conduct, in the latest escalation of election hostilities in a trio of three-cornered contests in Brisbane.

Greens senator Larissa Waters has written to the AEC to complain about Labor communications in the seats of Brisbane, Ryan and Griffith, which claim the “only way” to remove the Coalition from government is to vote for the ALP. Waters claims this is incorrect, and accused Labor of misleading voters about how to fill in their ballot papers.

“The Greens are concerned that this misleading and deceptive information confuses voters about the consequences of giving their first preference to a minor party,” she wrote in a letter to the AEC on Thursday.

The Greens have explicitly ruled out supporting the Coalition in the event of a hung parliament.

It is clearly incorrect that the “only” way to change the government is to mark the ballot paper with a 1 for Labor … I believe that Labor’s messaging goes beyond encouraging people to vote Labor and seeks to directly mislead electors about how to mark their ballot paper to achieve a change of government.

Labor’s campaign headquarters has declined to comment.

An AEC spokesman confirmed the commission had received the complaint, and would “look at it and respond as required”.

 

13 May 2022 23:32

First out of the blocks this morning Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman, appearing on ABC News, and was asked to what extent Scott Morrison’s unpopularity was affecting the Coalition (this being after the PM promised to change his approach yesterday).

This is what Zimmerman had to say:

Well, I think what is more important is the performance of the government and how we keep the economy strong, how we provide the services that our communities need.

And over the last two years we have seen circumstances that no government has faced in our lifetime, and that has meant that has been crisis decision-making, so there have been decisions which have happened in those circumstances like closing our international borders, like investing the money into jobkeeper, the largest economic support program run by I think any government in the world, so that has required a very firm and strong leadership by the prime minister.

In a process that you would normally expect to see happen in the normal run of affairs, and I think the point the prime minister was making was that the next term of parliament, we will be going back to the normal decision-making process so long as we are out of the woods with the pandemic.