Turnbull’s secret weapon in the regions…
There is a soft spot in my heart for Queensland, this is what the travelling pack with Shorten are waking up to in Townsville:
Greens may dismiss forming government with the Liberals, but when it suits them they do not mind teaming up.
The Herald-Sun is reporting the two parties are negotiating a deal where the Liberals would preference them in the Labor seats of Batman and Wills, and the Greens’ seat of Melbourne.
In return, the Greens would issue open tickets — not preferencing Labor ahead of the Liberals — in outer-suburban seats.
Updated at 9.23pm BST
And we’re off…
Good morning, another day dawns on the election trail with leaders (and readers) waiting with bated breath for…well, for a stuff-up, for a policy announcement that turns everything on its head, for the killer line that sinks the other’s campaign. We’re only on day two, so feel free to breathe a bit.
I’ll be guiding you through the early hours of the morning until Katharine Murphy’s steady hand on the till takes charge at 8.30am.
The big picture:
This morning is all about the economy, economy, economy. As well as the hypothetical of what would happen not just if either party won the election, but if there was a hung parliament – hey, it was only a few short six years ago that it happened.
Shadow treasurer, Chris Bowen, is giving a speech to the National Press Club today and in it he will say Labor will deliver a mini-budget within three months of being elected because the numbers the government is using are too malleable. He has even invoked the AAA rating saying Australia could be at risk of losing it.
In an economy where confidence is low and the Reserve Bank has repeatedly expressed concerns about the lack of investment, losing one or all the AAA ratings would be a real body blow to confidence.
Bowen will also announce that a Labor government would have the Parliamentary Budget Office take control of economic forecasts in budgets so it is at an “arm’s length process”.
Greens leader, Richard di Nitale, has been talking about the possibility of a hun parliament. He says it is “inconceivable” the Greens would negotiate with the Coalition to form government but the door would be open to Bill Shorten. The Australian is running the story as a potential return to the “Gillard-era”.
My own view is, given this government’s record on things like global warming, on their cruel treatment of refugees, on making inequality worse rather than better, that it is inconceivable we could enter into an agreement with the Coalition.
If the Labor Party is interested in taking this country into a more progressive, more sustainable direction, then obviously we would be happy to have those negotiations closer to the time.
The possibility of a hung parliament loomed large on Q and A last night where Melbourne MP Adam Bandt backed his leader and said the Greens would be open to forming a coalition government with Labor.
Labor shadow assistant treasurer, Andrew Leigh, who was also on the panel immediately tried to distance himself from that saying he was “not inclined” to believe it was a good path to go on – of course each major party would ideally want to win in its own right.
Although, a hung parliament is no pie in the sky stuff, yesterday’s polls had the Coalition and Labor neck and neck and today’s Guardian Lonergan poll has the two major parties at 50%-50% on the two party preferred vote.
Among younger voters the reaction to the budget was quite harsh, with 61% of 18- to 24-year-olds saying it made them less likely to vote Liberal, while 30% said they were more likely to support Turnbull and 9% were unsure.
Over at the Daily Telegraph Labor members and candidates are apparently “in revolt” over asylum seeker policy and Bill Shorten’s campaign is off to a “nightmare start”. A key one? The Labor candidate in the Greens-held seat of Melbourne has “concerns about turnbacks. I don’t think they should be on the table.”
In too-weird-to-make-a-joke-about news, there may be a bust of Phillip Ruddock installed among the water fountains in a western Sydney playground, which is already named after him.
On the candidate front, dumped Liberal MP Dennis Jensen has announced that he will run as an independent and that “branch stackers should be jailed”.
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On the campaign trail:
After spending yesterday blitzing marginal seats in Brisbane, Malcolm Turnbull will be on the move this morning, possibly going south. Shorten is expected to camp out in north Queensland for the next few days, he arrived in Cairns yesterday and spent the night in Townsville. He is expected to visit at least one school this morning.
The race you should be paying attention to right now:
Nick Xenophon is making both parties very nervous in South Australia, including Liberal Jamie Briggs – who you may remember as resigning last year after improper conduct in a Hong Kong bar – who hold the seat of Mayo with what would usually be a very comfortable 12.5%.
However, the Nick Xenophon Team has identified Mayo as a key target. Xenophon polled 28.3% of the Senate vote in Mayo at the 2013 election. Briggs could be in trouble if the NXT candidate can overtake Labor and benefit from Labor and Greens preferences.
And another thing(s):
Murphy has spent countless hours and weeks (no, really, they are countless) on this stunning piece about Bill Shorten and the nature of leadership. She says it is an essay three years in the making and is the sum of her observations and meditations since Shorten became leader.
There are truly too many great quotes to pull out from it but this was one of my favourites:
Shorten claims to lead institutionally but not factionally, which in the ALP is a bit like saying you tried marijuana in your youth but didn’t inhale: preposterous, in other words.
This piece from Buzzfeed should come with a vulgar content warning, but it has been shared by so many staffers from both sides of politics in my social media feeds with the message “advancing has become a nightmare” (advancing is when staffers go to a spot where a leader will be photographed and make sure there’s no signs that say “reject” or “last exit” if the leadership is being threatened. They basically look out for bad photo opportunities). An example of the extra layer of unpredictability social media and smartphones have added to the campaign.
I recorded a podcast with Kristina Keneally and my colleague Gabrielle Jackson about how to survive an eight week election campaign. There are lots of interesting insights from Keneally about what it is like for the leader, emotionally and physically, on the trail.
Alanis Morissette ironic moment of the day:
Updated at 9.30pm BST
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