Isolation and inflation pretty much sum up week three of the election campaign.
With 22 days until you can get your democracy sausage and vote, there are still plenty of things for each party and its politicians to deal with.
Puppies, coal power and policy dominated the conversation on the Coalition this week. Credit:Illustration: Marija Ercegovac
As Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese emerges from iso and Prime Minister Scott Morrison doubles down on rhetoric around a carbon tax, let’s take a minute to review the week gone by, starting with our week three quiz:
What are the key points this week?
- The seat of Kooyong in Victoria, whose incumbent MP is Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, stepped into the spotlight this week for a debate that never happened. Frydenberg refused to take part in a Kooyong Candidates Forum on Wednesday night that was organised by a climate change group. Independent Monique Ryan took to Twitter to say that she was “disappointed” that Frydenberg didn’t attend the forum, and that, “As your MP, I’ll always be accountable to our Kooyong community.” She said that she would “relish the opportunity” to debate him on Channel Nine. Frydenberg was caught up in controversy this week after the head of Guide Dogs Victoria was temporarily stood down for appearing in Liberal Party campaign material endorsing the Treasurer.
- Nationals Senator Matt Canavan caused controversy among the Coalition after saying that net zero targets were “dead” and, “We need reliable power now, and that’s why we should be building the coal-fired power stations.” Canavan’s comments come despite the Coalition’s commitment to net zero by 2050. Morrison said the commitment was “the government’s absolute policy”. Labor has used the comments to reiterate its climate policy, but one of Australia’s largest coal miners warned that Labor’s emission policy could bring about a carbon tax on the sector. Popular climate independents such as Allegra Spender in Wentworth and Zoe Daniel in Goldstein are using their climate action commitments to try to win over traditionally blue-ribbon voters.
- Solomon Islands’ deal with China has sent shockwaves through Australian politics and it’s started a broader conversation on foreign policy and national security. This week, Labor pledged a Pacific defence school to train neighbouring defence forces in a push to combat China’s growing influence in the region. Labor criticised the government for its inaction over the deal and Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said, “We continue talking with Solomon Islands’ government about how the Pacific family is best placed to provide security assistance to the region.” Although national security has traditionally been a strong suit for the Liberal Party, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age’s chief political correspondent David Crowe said in an analysis piece that Albanese has no choice but to throw everything into a fight on national security.
Memorable quotes from the campaign this week
What will we see next week?
- With Albanese leaving isolation and flying to Perth on Friday night to launch his campaign in Western Australia on Sunday, we can expect to see Labor’s campaign back in full swing. After a week in isolation the Labor leader made his first appearance on Channel Seven’s Sunrise on Friday morning, from his home suburb of Marrickville, and took the chance to criticise the government, saying it has been “complacent” on cost of living and, “We know that the cost of everything is going up, but people’s wages just aren’t.” After Morrison’s criticism that Albanese had had a “quiet week” compared with when he was in isolation, Albanese will be looking to be active in the community.
- We can look forward to some more debates with Morrison wanting another one against Albanese on the Nine Network, pending Albanese’s response. Frydenberg has also come to the table on debating Ryan, which will be live on Sky News next Thursday. The independent candidate previously said she wouldn’t do this after Frydenberg declined to participate in the community forums. Ryan wanted to debate Frydenberg in Kooyong, in front of the people of Kooyong. The traditionally blue-ribbon seat is having a shake-up with Ryan, who is backed by Simon Holmes a Court’s Climate 200, trying to win over voters who want more action on climate policy.
- Inflation has already played a significant role in the election campaign and both Albanese and Frydenberg have addressed cost-of-living pressures in their budgets. With inflation rising to 5.1 per cent this week, its highest since the GST was introduced in 2000, the pressure is on both parties to introduce policy that will tackle inflation and alleviate financial stress on Australians. The Reserve Bank is meeting on Tuesday to consider whether to raise interest rates, which could have a big impact on the election campaign. The last time the RBA moved on interest rates during an election campaign was in 2007, when John Howard lost to Kevin Rudd. Morrison has said that Australians should trust the Coalition during these economic challenges, which have been heightened by the pandemic and war in Ukraine, while Albanese is pushing for wages to keep up with inflation.
Think you remember everything that happened last week? Take our week two quiz and test yourself!
Need to catch up on the rest of the campaign?
- Week one
- Week two
Jacqueline Maley cuts through the noise of the federal election campaign with news, views and expert analysis. Sign up to our Australia Votes 2022 newsletter here.
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