Opposition leader Anthony Albanese was named the ‘pub test winner’ following last night’s final pre-election debate, beating Prime Minister Scott Morrison for the second time.

With the debate covering various issues, such as the cost of living, inflation rates, integrity, climate change and corruption, the two remained civilised and polite. A stark contrast to the second leader’s debate on Sunday.

Championing his “good economic management”, Morrison said his government had maintained Australia’s high credit ratings and high employment figures. He said his government had invested in productivity through upskilling, digital strategy, infrastructure, and cybersecurity.

In response, Albanese said Labor intended to boost productivity through childcare, domestic manufacturing, renewable energy, and infrastructure investments.

When questioned about pay increases for minimum wage workers, Albanese proposed a one-dollar increase in line with the current inflation rate, stating that “two cups of coffee a day” will not damage the economy. Morrison debated that a one-dollar increase in wages would push up inflation and interest rates. He went on to elaborate that the increase would be unattainable for small businesses to achieve and would leave workers “worrying about whether they have a job”.

Previously considered out of touch by not being aware of everyday expenses, Scott Morrison explained he helps families ‘make ends meet’ by cutting the fuel tax, providing one-off payments, increasing tax relief and delivering lower taxes.

In response, Albanese said his government will help families with ‘practical steps’ by cutting childcare costs, reducing energy prices, and lowering the cost of medicines.

Throughout the debate, Morrison claimed Albanese had no economic experience, calling him a “loose unit” and stating that “no Labor leader in the past… has ever trusted him with a financial job”.

Arguing that Albanese has “not submitted one policy for costing”, to which Albanese responded, “our childcare policy cost is 5.4 billion over the forward estimates, which is less than the $5.5 billion dollars that you spent on submarines that just ended up with a torn-up contract”. Accusing the government of being the “most wasteful government in Australia’s history”.

The leaders hold a similar stance regarding refugees, who were referred to as “boat people” throughout the debate. Both leaders agreed on turning back boats, offshore processing, and settlement in third countries.

When questioned on the corruption within the parties, Albanese stated that Australia needs a “strong, national, anti-corruption commission”, explaining that “we need to clean up politics”.

Our childcare policy cost is 5.4 billion over the forward estimates, which is less than the $5.5 billion that you spent on submarines that just ended up with a torn-up contract.

Morrison was then questioned on the taxpayer funds used to compensate for Alan Tudge’s alleged misconduct, to which he said he held an independent inquiry. Albanese criticised Morrison, calling on him to confirm if Alan Tudge was still the education minister, as it was ‘unclear’. Morrison confirmed that if the government was to be re-elected, Tudge would resume his seat as the Minister of Education and Youth.

With climate change being one of the biggest concerns for voters across Australia, both Morrison and Albanese say that they will not be implementing a carbon tax despite claims it is the most effective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Albanese said in order to reduce emissions, Labor will invest in renewable energies and encourage electric vehicles by reducing taxes. While the Government say they will invest in technology to combat climate change.

To close the debate, the leaders were prompted to detail one strength of each other. Morrison began by praising Albanese and his “ability to rise to be the leader… to rise from very humble beginnings,” but quickly pivoted and stated that “to do this job, you need to know your stuff… I don’t believe he has been able to demonstrate that he is able to get across the detail to do this job”. Albanese responded by commending Morrison on being “committed to his nation”, and the focus he has placed on mental health.

For now, the debates are finished with Albanese in the lead, having won two out of three. The two will now have to wait until election day to see who the real winners are.

Featured Image by Jasmin Williams