ABC misses out on final leaders’ debate; key independents back call for robodebt inquiry – as it happened

Last modified: 09: 04 AM GMT+0

What we learned: Monday 2 May

With that, we will wrap up the blog for the evening. Amy Remeikis will be back bright and early tomorrow. With all eyes on the Reserve Bank, it’s likely to be another busy day.

Here were today’s major developments:

  • The opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, spent Monday marching in Brisbane’s Labour Day parade alongside Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, and secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Sally McManus. Labor officially announced it would match the Coalition’s senior health card announcement.
  • Meanwhile, Scott Morrison fronted the media in Geelong, where he batted away a potential interest rates rise to be determined by the Reserve Bank tomorrow, telling reporters “it’s not about politics” while also acknowledging “it’s always hard” to buy a first home – “but last year, 164,000 Australians did”.
  • The third and final debate between the pair has been secured by Channel Seven this evening, to be chaired by Mark Riley and to air at prime time on 11 May.
  • Robert Sisilo, Solomon Islands’ high commissioner to Australia, said the countries had endured “testing times” since the draft security deal between Solomon Islands and China was leaked in March, but affirmed that Australia remained the “partner of choice” for the Pacific country.
  • And Labor’s call for a royal commission into the robodebt scandal has won the support of lower house independents, Indi MP Helen Haines and Clark MP Andrew Wilkie.

Updated

Meanwhile, the deputy leader of the Nationals party David Littleproud has been in Casino, announcing $6m for major agriculture events.

I wish I had been a fly on the wall when someone suggested taking the group photo in front of the somewhat comical cow statue.

Proud to be in Casino to announce $6m to support some of our country’s biggest ag events.

Casino’s Beef Week, LambEx & Hort Connections will all benefit from this.

They’ll use it to grow their events & show off Australian ag! 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/IMOeW991Os

— David Littleproud MP (@D_LittleproudMP) May 2, 2022

Updated

AGL Energy has just sent us a comment on the move by Grok Ventures.

What’s interesting is that AGL hasn’t been contacted by Mike Cannon-Brookes’ company, an AGL spokesperson said:

The AGL board is committed to delivering the proposed demerger, which will ensure the value created through Australia’s energy transition stays with our shareholders.

The AGL Energy demerger is on track to be completed by the end of next month.

The timing is interesting, given shareholders are soon to vote on that demerger plan, splitting the generation assets from the retail one.

“It’s now or never,” is how one insider put it.

Energy issues may be about to resurface in the election campaign.

Just days after the electricity market operator showed wholesale power prices had doubled from a year ago and were heading even higher, it seems tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes is having another crack at AGL Energy, Australia’s biggest electricity generator.

Hours after AGL announced what is effectively a profit downgrade of as much as $100m following a unit failure at its Loy Yang A plant in Victoria (yes, it’s coal-fired, and no, it’s not so reliable), MCB has weighed with another bid for AGL stock.

According to the AFR which broke the news, MCB’s Grok Ventures wants to snap up as much as 11.5% in AGL. Unlike the previous skirmish, Grok is going it alone rather than teaming up with Canadian asset manager Brookfield.

Interestingly, AGL is not aware of the approach, except through the media.

As we reported in March, AGL did not think they had seen the last of the Atlassian co-founder, who has made renewables and climate change a regular feature of his public comments, including on Twitter.

So far, neither Grok nor AGL have said anything public about the share purchase. It’s worth noting in March, the offer was for a full takeover at $8.25 a share, valuing the company at about $8.5 billion, including debt.

Today AGL’s share price closed at $8.62, down 0.7% for the day, and before the news of a possible bid surfaced. The AFR says the share purchase appears to be aimed at blocking AGL’s plan to split itself into a mainly generating business and a retail one by 30 June.

Cannon-Brookes has been building a range of businesses that could well benefit from having access to AGL’s customers. The 185-year old company claims some 3.95 million “total services to customers”.

More details are expected before the market opens tomorrow. No doubt politicians will be asked their views.

More to come.

Updated

The Seven network has secured the third election debate between the leaders and will broadcast it on 11 May in prime time.

Seven’s political editor, Mark Riley, will moderate, it was revealed on Seven’s 6pm bulletin.

Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese are facing off for the second leaders’ debate on Sunday on Channel Nine.

The hour-long debate will be moderated by 60 Minutes presenter Sarah Abo, and feature a panel with Nine’s Chris Uhlmann, the Sydney Morning Herald’s David Crowe, and Radio 2GB’s Deb Knight.

Riley said details of the Seven debate would be revealed closer to the date.

The first debate, hosted by Sky News and the Courier Mail, was held on 20 April in Brisbane.

Updated

Hard to argue with this.

Can't be a good thing there won't be an election debate on the national broadcaster, it just doesn't seem right

— Luke Henriques-Gomes (@lukehgomes) May 2, 2022

Final election debate to be hosted by Channel Seven

The third and last leaders’ election debate will be hosted by free-to-air broadcaster Channel Seven and moderated by Mark Riley on Wednesday 11 May.

The National Press Club and the ABC have also been pushing to host a leaders’ debate, however last week the prime minister indicated he would only debate on commercial channels.

🚨Breaking: Political Editor @Riley7News announces ‘The Final Showdown’ - the last leaders debate of the election campaign to be hosted by @Channel7 moderated by Mark Riley on Wednesday May 11. @ScottMorrisonMP and @AlboMP go head-to-head. It’s gloves off! 🥊🥊

— Jennifer Bechwati (@jenbechwati) May 2, 2022

The second leaders’ debate is set to be held this Sunday on Channel Nine, employing a panel of three journalists for an hour-long discussion.

Updated

The opposition leader has released a statement to Muslim communities celebrating Eid ul-Fitr.

Anthony Albanese:

The celebration of Eid al-Fitr ... stands as a beautiful and enduring testament to Australia’s multicultural society, itself a profound success story built on the beliefs and experiences of communities from around the world.

As a nation, our breadth is our strength - and you are a deeply valued part of that strength.

Eid Mubarak Australia. pic.twitter.com/ZXCDZgVsw3

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) May 2, 2022

Reporter Mostafa Rachwani earlier today followed the prime minister’s visit to Eid ul-Fitr prayers in Parramatta. Scott Morrison is the first sitting prime minister to attend an Eid prayer, drawing mixed receptions.

Former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd was also there, as were candidates Andrew Charlton (Labor) and Maria Kovacic (Liberal), as well as the immigration minister, Alex Hawke.

Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and it’s the first time in recent history that it has coincided with an election campaign.

Updated

Earlier today, the prime minister was asked directly why he said five years ago the Victorian government pursuing a similar housing scheme to the one announced by Anthony Albanese was a good idea. He said:

What I was referring to in 2011, I think it was, was in the middle of a global financial crisis when there was a squeeze on credit so I was proffering sensible interventions that would enable the private sector to give people more choices. If people want to take the choices up, that is up to them, but in terms of the federal government effectively becoming an owner of your home – and there are questions about this.

A reporter followed with:

Just on that, you had a similar idea of a government or a private equity scheme in 2008. What has changed between now and then for you to be slamming Labor’s policy?

Scott Morrison:

I had no plan for the government to own people’s homes. Shared equity schemes have been around for a long time and some people choose to do them in the private sector. During the global – global financial crisis there was a squeeze and there was a focus on a Bendigo Bank because of the lack of liquidity in the debt market that was enabling them to provide the products they wanted to provide and the people by providing and seeking. So, that was a very different set of issues.

Updated

Scott Morrison, 2008, suggesting the government divert $500m already taken aside for “residential backed securities” and invest it into shared equity mortgages:

Shared equity mortgages are a really good opportunity ... if you do get into mortgage stress you can reconsolidate your mortgage and you ... can have the bank take effectively a portion of equity in your property and that way you can reduce your payments.

Video has resurfaced of Scott Morrison suggested a shared equity housing scheme in 2008. The Liberals attacked Labor’s shared equity scheme yesterday as sharing a a house with Anthony Albanese and the government looking to make money off your renovations. #auspol #ausvotes pic.twitter.com/wcy8qzI0zt

— Dominic Giannini (@domgiannini_) May 2, 2022

Updated

Meanwhile in Victoria, premier Daniel Andrews is doing the media rounds in the lead-up to the state budget tomorrow.

Victorian Premier @DanielAndrewsMP will join @Raf_Epstein on Drive after 5:30pm.
📻Tune in: https://t.co/6pF9DOfg1P #SpringSt pic.twitter.com/BwvQebtg8u

— ABC Melbourne (@abcmelbourne) May 2, 2022

It comes as Victoria’s treasurer Tim Pallas has chosen food bank OzHarvest as his official Victorian Budget charity for 2022. He confirmed the selection with a donation made today.

Pallas:

OzHarvest is an incredible Australian success story that prevents good food from going to waste every day and puts it on the tables of families across our community.

Here’s the latest on what we can expect tomorrow from AAP:

Health spending will be a centrepiece of the Victorian budget, setting the scene for an election stoush on the issue after two pandemic-plagued years.

Andrews described the 2022/23 state budget, the eighth to be handed down by Pallas on Tuesday, as a pandemic repair plan. He told reporters on Monday:

The centrepiece will be … a massive investment in health and hospitals to repair the damage that the pandemic has done.

This is all about making sure we’ve got more staff to treat more patients to catch up on some of the care that had to be deferred for safety’s sake.

Although scant on details, Andrews alluded to changes to encourage Victorians to see a GP for specialist referral sooner, ensuring fewer end up in the public hospitals:

These are the legacies of a one-in-100-year event and the best way to deal with those is to invest. Some would urge us to cut. That’s not what we do.

The opposition has flagged health will be a key election plank, previously promising to build a $750m hospital in Mildura and fix the state’s embattled triple zero call service if it wins office in November.

Updated

Looks like they brought the weather with them!

The travelling media party following @AlboMP’s campaign has landed in Sydney this afternoon after the Labor leader’s quick trip to Queensland for an appearance at Brisbane’s Mayday event. @westaustralian @sevenwestmedia #auspol pic.twitter.com/m0OEhOCmNH

— Caitlyn Rintoul (@caitlynrintoul) May 2, 2022

Pyne and Emerson were also asked about tomorrow’s interest rate announcement. Earlier today, Morrison said if the RBA lifted rates to tackle inflation, it would have “nothing to do with politics”.

The last time the rates were lifted was November, 2010. They were also lifted during the election campaign in 2007, which John Howard went on to lose. Pyne said interest rates were much higher at the time than they are now.

Asked in a word which side a rate rise would hurt more, Emerson replied:

It hurts the Coalition. It’s the direction. Christopher is right about the size but it’s the direction. If it’s going up people will say it’s going to go up again and again and again.That’s probably what the Reserve Bank will say. Even if it doesn’t increase it tomorrow.

Fran Kelly:

That wasn’t exactly one word, but Christopher?

Pyne:

It hurts the Coalition.

Emerson:

That was three, four.

Pyne:

A lot less than yours.

Updated

A fun “blast from the past” on ABC News.

Campaign veterans Craig Emerson and Christopher Pyne were just up weighing in on where their former parties are placed.

Pyne said Labor was in the “box seat” but three weeks is a long time in politics (as is three years). He also said he found it “curious” Labor chose to launch their campaign in Perth.

If you had already believed you were going to win the two or three seats that you need to win to form government out of Western Australia, you wouldn’t need to have the launch in Perth. I would have thought you’d have it in Queensland or in Sydney. So I found that an interesting aspect to the launch. They obviously still feel the need to work hard in those Perth seats. They haven’t got them in their column yet that was my takeout from the launch. I thought the launch was muted. They didn’t go for a glitz or glamorous campaign launch. They usually do. That’s an interesting development. We’ll see how it plays out.

Anthony Albanese at Optus Stadium in Perth, where he launched Labor’s 2022 election campaign. Christopher Pyne says the lack of glitz and glamour at the event was ‘an interesting development’.
Anthony Albanese at Optus Stadium in Perth, where he launched Labor’s 2022 election campaign. Christopher Pyne says the lack of glitz and glamour at the event was ‘an interesting development’. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Updated

Today’s campaign catchup is up – hooray!

As we reach the halfway point of the election campaign, political editor Katharine Murphy has been following the opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, around the country. She speaks to Jane Lee from Brisbane about who Albanese is trying to convince to vote for his party and where Labor needs to win to form government.

Updated

Crossbenchers back call for royal commission into robodebt scandal

Labor’s call for a royal commission into the robodebt scandal has won the support of two lower house independents.

Indi MP Helen Haines and Clark MP Andrew Wilkie told Guardian Australia they supported a royal commission into the fiasco which saw the Coalition government forced to reach a $1.8bn settlement over the unlawful Centrelink program.

Haines said:

I support a royal commission into the robodebt scheme, which has caused harm to hundreds of thousands of Australians.

I support transparency and good governance, and from everything we have seen in the past seven years, this program has not had either of those things.

While there have been a number of inquiries and court processes surrounding robodebt, an independent, thorough investigation with the powers of a royal commission would provide the level of scrutiny needed to ensure future governments learn lessons from this program.

Wilkie, who was one of the first MPs to raise concerns about the robodebt scheme back in 2016, said:

I support the ALP’s commitment to a robodebt royal commission should they win government. Too many people were hurt, some even taking their own lives, for this matter to be consigned to history.

There is also the worrying element that robodebt is a symptom of a bigger and still ongoing systemic problem. Centrelink debt notices are still being raised which are accompanied by no explanation and in many cases seem to be unfounded.

Other lower house crossbenchers were more circumspect when quizzed about the royal commission proposal by Guardian Australia.

Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie said she supported the “creation of an enquiry into robodebt. I believe there are major lessons to be learnt from this failed scheme that can applied to other areas of public administration”.

“However, I have concerns about any incoming government politicising royal commissions,” she said:

We are still implementing recommendations from previous royal commissions, including on aged care and youth detention, which the community is waiting to be seen through.

Zali Steggall, who holds the seat of Warringah, said only that repeated calls for royal commissions into questions of government integrity reinforced the need for a federal Icac.

Zoe Daniel, who is running a high-profile campaign against Liberal Tim Wilson in Goldstein, said:

This was a shocking episode and should never be repeated. If I’m elected, I would want to see the exact terms of reference being proposed before making a decision.

The Greens were the first to call for a royal commission in June 2020, a few months after Guardian Australia revealed the government had privately accepted the scheme was unlawful.

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, said on Saturday he believed the saga had been “addressed”.

But Labor’s government services spokesman, Bill Shorten, who helped organise a class action into the scandal, said the royal commission was needed to get to the bottom of how the fiasco had occurred and who was responsible.

Updated

Q:

There were a few grumbles within the Victorian Liberal Party last time around that Josh Frydenberg might have drawn a few resources or a few too many resources into the protection of Kooyong to try and save him, given his seniority. Would that equally apply that criticism this time around, given the struggle seems even more intense for him?

Paterson:

I think that’s an unfair criticism if anyone has made it. I haven’t heard it directly. Josh Frydenberg funds and resources his own campaign and then some. He’s one of our most compelling supporters of any candidates in Victoria, whether that’s through fundraising, or volunteering. He’s very highly regarded by the Victorian people. He remembers how he stood up for them during the pandemic and they recognise him on the national platform.

Updated

Paterson is asked how much trouble Josh Frydenberg is in at the moment in Kooyong, who is “pedalling particularly hard” while facing off against Independent Monique Ryan.

He says Frydenberg has “never taken the people of Kooyong for granted”.

I live in Kooyong and I’m a constituent of Josh’s and a colleague. It’s amazing how he’s been able to maintain a very high level of commitment and work in the local electorate while balancing the incredibly important job of being treasurer of Australia, particularly during the pandemic when he was called upon so much to design policies like jobkeeper and others.

He’s working very hard to earn the support of the people of Kooyong and I think he’s got a very compelling offering because if they vote for him they’ll continue to be represented at the highest levels in Canberra and have influence over the direction of the country.

Woman walks past shopfronts with election posters for Josh Frydenberg
Josh Frydenberg, ‘pedalling particularly hard’ in Kooyong. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP

Updated

Liberal senator and chair of parliament’s Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, James Paterson is appearing on ABC News, in the wake of reassurance from the Solomon Islands high commissioner that Australia remains the security of partner of choice for the pacific nation.

Paterson says he “welcomes” the comments and statements about the two nations’ shared values.

I welcome his commitment the government of the Solomon Islands will release their security agreement with China. I think that’s important. I welcome him restating Australia is the Solomon Islands partner of choice when it comes to security matters. That’s how we’ve regarded the relationship and it’s good to have that official confirmation.

When the Solomon Islands needs assistance it is Australia that steps in and provides it, whether it’s the Ramsay intervention over many years which successfully brought stability and security to people of Solomon Islands or more recent assistance provided by the Australian federal police and their armed forces when we were called upon to do so.

Updated

In WA seats - 153,654 people have registered to vote by post, so far that's less than 2019.
BUT record postal numbers in key seats: Pearce, Hasluck and...Curtin. 🗳️
Election night could turn into a long week. #ausvotes

— Jessica Page (@JessicaPage7) May 2, 2022

The seat of Corangamite, where the prime minister is today, is currently held by the Labor party’s Libby Coker with a wafer thin margin of 1%.

Final stop of the day: Morrison at Torquay surf club announcing $6.5m for its redevelopment pic.twitter.com/iNzIrOxj45

— Andrew Brown (@AndrewBrownAU) May 2, 2022

See also:

Regardless of who wins the federal election on 21 May, the real winners of the campaign so far are sports facilities in marginal seatshttps://t.co/uQHAZr3QbN

— Nick Evershed (@NickEvershed) May 1, 2022

Updated

Some behind the scenes footage of our Queensland reporter from today, who will go to great lengths – including grass stains – to keep readers informed.

For those who think journalism is a glamorous job, here's a photo of me kneeling on the grass to interview @sallymcmanus because I needed to charge my phone 😂 pic.twitter.com/l5ksbDfjfU

— Eden Gillespie (@edengillespie) May 2, 2022

Updated

Here’s some more on those ANZ job ads.

While PM Scott Morrison seems to be softening the ground for an RBA rate rise tomorrow, ANZ has released its latest job ads survey results to give some context about the state of the Australian economy.

In effect, the number of ads, at just over 242,500 in April, was down slightly on the previous month – but still very elevated compared with levels over the past decade:

In economic news today, ANZ job ads basically flatlined last month, @ANZ_Research says. They remain though not far from their peak just prior to the Global Financial Crisis. #ausvotes #auspol #ausvotes2022 pic.twitter.com/0odJZLJZWb

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) May 2, 2022

David Plank, head of economics for ANZ, said the job ads tally was still 57% above the prepandemic level, and that labour markets were very tight.

The jobless rate for March was just below 4%, or the lowest since 1974, as we reported here.

What the Reserve Bank has to consider is not just current statistics but also where things are headed. Bank governor Phil Lowe has said he wanted to see wages rise before lifting the official cash rate target from its record low 0.1%

While we (and Lowe) won’t see the ABS wage prices index data until 18 May - just prior to the final polling day – Plank said the trends are clear:

“We expect strong labour demand to lead to solid employment gains in the coming months,” he says in a briefing note:

We see the unemployment rate dropping well below 4% in the second half of 2022, which should reinforce the momentum toward higher wages growth.

The trouble for the RBA that is it will lose credibility whether it lifts rates tomorrow – as most market economists and the market itself expects – or it holds off another month. The credibility issues are explored here, in case you missed it.

Speaking of credibility, don’t bet on the promises by Clive Palmer that rates could be held at 3% for five years if his United Australia Party gets up.

Updated

Speaking with the Guardian Australia, McManus also said she’d support a wage increase for public sector workers to keep up with the rising rate of inflation:

People don’t want to see their wages go backwards. People want to make sure they can get pay rises that deal with the inflation that we’ve got.

Her comments come as key public sector unions in Queensland undertake salary negotiations with the state government, with a series of public sector worker agreements set to expire this year.

The current annual salary increase is capped at 2.5% for public sector workers in Queensland. McManus said wage caps should go and that fair bargaining should occur in its place:

Having wage increases in both productivity and CPI is what’s really important in some sectors ... like aged care ... Those jobs have been undervalued, and so they need to be reevaluated to reflect the skills and the importance of the work.

.@sallymcmanus says the ACTU is calling for a raise to the minimum wage & “asking for a 5% pay increase.”

“The second thing [Morrison] could be doing is supporting aged care workers getting a pay rise… [he could be] closing the loop holes that let [companies] rip us off.” pic.twitter.com/u7xVifanEo

— Eden Gillespie (@edengillespie) May 2, 2022

With just 19 days until the election, there’s no doubt that this year’s Labour Day was an important rallying cry for the union movement to keep pushing towards the finish line.

As Albanese told union members: “No pressure folks, but I’m relying on you.”

Updated

Albanese marches in Brisbane Labour Day parade alongside premier Palaszczuk

I’ve left Brisbane’s Labour Day festivities but can somehow still smell the strong scent of sausage sizzles and hear echoes of union members singing Solidarity Forever in my head.

The Labour Day parade kicked off in Brisbane’s CBD, with workers and Labor politicians erupting in chants of “union power” as they marched down the street.

When we finally arrived at the Brisbane Showground, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk gave a stirring speech, warming up the crowd before Labor leader Anthony Albanese made an appearance.

The Queensland premier is here too. Union members are treating her and Albanese like celebrities - lots of cheering! pic.twitter.com/saVLWxj1Xg

— Eden Gillespie (@edengillespie) May 2, 2022

Before introducing Albanese as the “next prime minister of Australia”, Palaszczuk listed all the ways she believed Scott Morrison had “failed Queenslanders”.

She said they included the delay in securing the vaccine and RATs, a lack of funding for quarantine centres and flood recovery.

Albanese then took to the stage. After battling Covid-19, he spoke with a croaky throat but still managed to receive a roaring reception from union members.

Anthony Albanese is speaking to media at the Labour Day parade in Brisbane.

“Labour Day [is] a day where we celebrate that working people have fought to earn better wages and conditions … a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.” pic.twitter.com/vwQUrfVDB9

— Eden Gillespie (@edengillespie) May 2, 2022

“Friends,” he addressed the crowd. “In three weeks’ time, we can give this country a better future with a better government.”

Albanese credited essential workers for their contribution to the pandemic but said they deserved more than thanks:

You deserve a government that cares about secure work ... that wants to increase your pay. You deserve a government that wants to give your family cheaper childcare.

Sally McManus, secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, was also met with rowdy cheers as she lambasted Morrison and suggested he would be “sacked” if he worked in the union movement:

[Morrison] should be doing the hard work ... closing the loopholes that have allowed so many jobs to be insecure ... and allow permanent jobs to be called casual jobs forever. Stopping endless fixed-term contracts, giving gig economy workers jobs.

McManus promised unions would push for a 5% increase for those on the minimum wage and said they’d also call for the salaries of aged care workers to be bolstered.

Updated

Some pictures of Brisbane’s Labour Day march, attended by the opposition leader are rolling in.

Here is Anthony Albanese alongside Queensland’s premier Annastacia Palaszczuk sporting a cap. Everyone is looking very sun smart.

Today we celebrate the work and effort of the thousands of workers who’ve turned up everyday to help see us through a worldwide pandemic.#auspol #LabourDay #LabourDay2022 pic.twitter.com/UuPRsSwpJX

— QCU (@TheQCU) May 2, 2022

Interesting insight from our economics correspondent Peter Hannam.

While all eyes are on the RBA cash rate, ANZ job ads flatlined in the past month.

In economic news today, ANZ job ads basically flatlined last month, @ANZ_Research says. They remain though not far from their peak just prior to the Global Financial Crisis. #ausvotes #auspol #ausvotes2022 pic.twitter.com/0odJZLJZWb

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) May 2, 2022

Also worth noting that while the jobless rate has fallen significantly, the long-term jobless rate tends to lag...as it is this time too. @ANZ_Research #auspol #ausvotes #AusVotes22 pic.twitter.com/a7frEvTs5u

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) May 2, 2022

Thanks as ever to the lovely Amy Remeikis. I’ll be with you for the rest of Day 22.

Caitlin Cassidy is going to guide you through the afternoon – so make sure you keep checking back for updates.

I’ll be back early tomorrow morning for Day 23 – also the day the RBA makes its rates decision, so get ready for a big one.

Thank you all so much for joining me – take care of you Ax

Scott Morrison likes to say that it has “always” been tough to buy a first home, and often uses his own first purchase as an example.

He often neglects to put that in context. As Lech Blaine writes in his Quarterly Essay Top Blokes:

The late bloomer didn’t move out of home until the age of twenty-four. In 1995, now twenty-seven, he departed to be deputy CEO of the Australian Tourism Taskforce. It was a fruitful period; he also joined the Liberal Party. That same year, Scott and Jenny bought a unit on Pacific Street in Bronte. They negatively geared it for leverage, and bought a Californian bungalow on Lugar Brae Avenue, two streets from where Morrison grew up.

Their second property cost $330,000. The median national house price was $129,800. They sold Lugar Brae Avenue for $985,000 in 2009. Morrison hasn’t spoken about when or for how much they sold the Pacific Street unit.

“I remember the first place I bought with Jenny,” he said in 2018, neglecting to clarify whether he was talking about his negatively geared investment property or primary address.

“It was 53 square metres, it was not very big. It was very, “very small. But that was what we could afford, and that’s how we made our start.”

Updated

Scott Morrison ends the press conference there.

Like Anthony Albanese, there are still questions being shouted.

No one managed to get a question in about the family which approached him asking about Afghanistan visas earlier today.

Updated

Q: You campaigning parameter as a superior economic manager. Are voters supposed to believe that you will separate yourself from what happens tomorrow and claim you have no response ability for the conditions?

Scott Morrison:

I think I have set up the position pretty clearly about the macroeconomic environment that is impacting on rates in Australia. I think I’ve been very clear.

I also didn’t claim credit [when rates dropped].*

These are driven by macroeconomic factors but also the alignment of fiscal and monetary policy in this country to take us through the pandemic. I don’t see all that through a political lens.

What I do see is the need to ensure that we have a strong economic plan that deals with the real pressures, the pressures on interest rates I think highlight just as we have got the pressures on cost of living, highlight just why the economy is so important in this election.

And why it really is a choice about a strong economy or a weaker economy under Labor, about the certainty of our economic plan and the lack of an economic plan under Labor. And the certainty of what you know about what we have been able to do and how we have been able to take Australia through in our plan for the future and what people don’t know about the Labor party is what I said yesterday at Homebush. There are two reasons why Mr Albanese he won’t tell you about his economic plan, the first one is he doesn’t have one. He just doesn’t have one. And the second is he doesn’t want to tell you after at the last election when Bill Shorten told the Australian people what they were going to do, the Australian people rejected it. We have an economic plan that Australians know and Labor do not have an economic plan. We have been waiting for three years for one. Then a month after the budget. And now even after their campaign launch, Labor, still no economic plan**.

*Direct credit may not have been claimed but low interest rates have been mentioned repeatedly by Morrison and Josh Frydenberg when laying out the government’s economic record and credentials in parliament and out.

*There is a plan which Labor has put forward.

Updated

Potential rate rise 'not about me' claims Morrison

Q: The Reserve Bank raises interest rates tomorrow, do you think that will hurt the Coalition’s chances at the polls?

Scott Morrison:

You know what, it is not about politics. It is not about politics.

What happens tomorrow deals with what people pay on their mortgages. That is what I am concerned about. It is not about what it means for politics. I mean, sometimes you guys always see things through a totally political lens. I don’t. And Australians don’t.

Australians are focused on what they are paying for and who they think is going to be best able to manage an economy and manage the finances so they are in the best possible position to realise their aspirations. Australians know that there are pressures on interest rates.

That is why many of them, so many of them have been switching to fixed rates. That is why many of them have been trying to get ahead of their mortgages to ensure they are protected. And we have help them do that so they can be in that position because they understand, there are many pressures on our economy. What tomorrow’s decision is about, we have cash rates, at least I know what it is, the cash rate, we know what it is and we know it is at a historic low and it has been there since November 2020. We note the Reserve Bank in monetary policy and the federal government through fiscal policy have been pulling in the same direction to ensure we could come through this pandemic.

It has been important that a line of perspective that has helped Australia to be one of the most successful advanced economies in the world today coming out of the pandemic. So tomorrow, it is not about me. It is not about Mr Albanese. It is not about the treasurer or the shadow treasurer. It is about Australians themselves and the decisions they are making and understanding the pressures on the economy and who they think is going to be better able to manage those pressures into the future.

Scott Morrison at a press conference after visiting Lifestyle Communities Mount Duneed retirement village in South Geelong, in the seat of Corangamite on Day 22 of the 2022 federal election campaign.
Scott Morrison at a press conference after visiting Lifestyle Communities Mount Duneed retirement village in South Geelong, in the seat of Corangamite on Day 22 of the 2022 federal election campaign. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Updated

Q: Many pensioners would like to work more. Obviously, pensioners are out there struggling at the moment and cost of living is increasing and things are getting tough. Many pensioners would like to earn more but they can only earn roughly an extra $300 a fortnight and keep their pension. Why isn’t the government trying to make it easier for pensioners to fill those skills shortages when they would like to earn more but they currently can’t?

Scott Morrison:

This is something we have been looking at carefully and it is something that we are talking to older Australians about.

We have had programs, particularly during the pandemic, where we did ease those restrictions and the take-up wasn’t that great. Those who have worked hard all their life and are on a pension or a self-funded retirees don’t necessarily want to be forced back to work. And that’s why, and when they do, and earn, certainly what they are earning far outweighs what they get in their pension.

That is why they would choose to do that. But equally, we are encouraging the skills training that enables people over the course of their life to move between different jobs and take those opportunities and when they get to their retirement they can have their retirement.

They can have their time like they are having here. The solution to our economic challenges is not to send retirees back into work. That is not my plan.

I am not looking to put pensioners or self-funded retirees back to work. What I am seeking to do is ensure that in their retirement that they have worked hard for that they can have life a little bit easier through the sorts of things that I am announcing right here today. And self-funded retirees in particular, they benefit from things like our tax cuts.

They benefit from the many other benefits we put in place. We are looking closely at those issues. I would say. I want to be very clear that anything in that area is not about sending pensioners back to work.

Where people want to make those choices, they are choices that they are making now. But when we have eased those things in the past, we haven’t seen a very significant change in the amount of people taking on that choice because when people get to retirement they would like to have their retirement.

Updated

Q: Hundreds of thousands of Australians may go into mortgage stress if the Reserve Bank increases rates tomorrow. If that happens, will you take personal responsibility for the financial pain they may feel?

Scott Morrison:

Explain to me the numbers. You said hundreds of thousands of people will go into mortgage stress ... What are these reports?

Q: There are reports in the paper today that if mortgage rates go up then it puts pressures on them because they have maxed out their mortgages. Will you take responsibility if rates go up?

Morrison:

When I became prime minister the cash rate was 1.5%. It is 0.5%. We are talking about the average discount of around 3.6 but many people will be on lower mortgages than that.

We have got people that have moved from 20% fixed rates to 40% fixed rates, and you know what that tells me? Australians know what is going on.

They know there are pressures that are coming from outside of Australia on interest rates. I mean, 0.1 has been an historically unconventionally low rates and it has been there since November of 2020.

So, these rates are very low, and Australians know that there is pressure on at these rates and they know that over time, how we manage the economy, how we manage the government’s finances will impact, potentially, and what happens to rates, and they could go higher than they might otherwise go.

That is why economic management and financial management as a government is going to play a key role in just how much more people are going to pay, and so the bank will decide.

The Reserve Bank – the independent Reserve Bank – should rightly decide where cash rates are set.

They are at historic lows at the moment at 0.1%, but what I do commend the Australian people for – they have in making the choices to move to fixed rates to ensure that they can get ahead of that mortgage and to be paying down and ensuring that they have been building up buffers.

I mean, you can also see on household balance sheets hundreds of billions of dollars on household balance sheets as Australians have been insulating themselves over the course of the pandemic to deal with these shocks that they knew would be coming, and so, my commendation to the Australian people is they have been following the same a prudent financial management that the government has, and that has built up protections, and that is what we have been doing.

Could you imagine how much harder it would be to pay a mortgage if we had not have jobkeeper and 700,000 people were out of a job, or we did not do the cash flow boost which would have seen small businesses collapsing all around the country, all the support we are providing to first homeowners to get in and own their home in the first place?

I mean, we have been taking steps to strengthen the resilience of our and the resilience of household family balance sheets and a small business balance sheets so they can deal and whether with the challenges that we are going to face.

Updated

Q: If you are re-elected will you commit to an Indigenous Voice referendum in the next term of parliament?

Scott Morrison:

I have answered that. It is not a referendum on the voice in our policy so why would I be doing that?

Q: Five years ago you said the Victorian government doing a similar government scheme was a good idea, so what has changed?

Scott Morrison:

I think I have made it ... There is a scheme like this in Western Australia. There is a scheme like this in South Australia and the take-up of the schemes are very limited and one of the reasons for that is people want to own their own home. They don’t want the government to own their home. If people want to go into a shared equity mortgage, those products have been around for a long time.

The private sector provides those products and what I was referring to in 2011, I think it was, was in the middle of a global financial crisis when there was a squeeze on credit so I was proffering sensible interventions that would enable the private sector to give people more choices.

If people want to take the choices up, that is up to them, but in terms of the federal government effectively becoming an owner of your home – and there are questions about this. So, what happens if you decide to renovate your home? I mean, what Labor have been very clear about is that they have a share in your home, and so, as your home value increases, they are making money off you.

So, as your home price goes up, your home value goes up, they are taking a cut, and so you have to pay the government back on their equity and with the capital appreciation. I mean, they are basically riding on your decision to buy your own home and it is for 10,000 people, and so you will be going along to an auction, and there will be someone who is bidding against you, and they will be bidding with the government and you will be bidding on your own, so, I don’t think Labor have thought these things through*.

We have seen these things. We have seen their health policies that were not costed and other policies in this campaign full apart after about 24 hours. The aged care policy fell apart after 24 hours of their budget in reply.

The problem with Labor – this is what happens when you have not done budgets and you have not held a financial portfolio like Mr Albanese – you don’t know how these pieces go together and you don’t think them through and that is too big of a risk for Australians to be facing with the many pressures that are on interest rates, and cost of living, and it really is a choice about who do you think will be able to better manage those very significant pressures in the years ahead? A government that has taken us through the worst crisis we have seen in a three generations or a Labor party that does not know how to manage money?

*The same could be said of the government’s first home owner loan guarantee.

Updated

Q: Just on that, you had a similar idea of a government or a private equity scheme in 2008. What has changed between now and then for you to be slamming Labor’s policy?

Scott Morrison:

I had no plan for the government to own people’s homes. Shared equity schemes have been around for a long time and some people choose to do them in the private sector. During the global – global financial crisis there was a squeeze and there was a focus on a Bendigo Bank because of the lack of liquidity in the debt market that was enabling them to provide the products they wanted to provide and the people by providing and seeking. So, that was a very different set of issues.

Updated

'It's always hard' to buy a first home says Scott Morrison

Given house prices, is the “great Australian dream” of owning your own home dead?

Scott Morrison:

Absolutely not. Absolutely not. It is hard to own your first home but last year, 164,000 Australians did.

They bought their first home. Now, when Labor was last in office. In the last year, there were 91,300 Australians who bought their first home, and under our government, and to be home guarantee scheme, under the HomeBuilder scheme, under the First Home Super Saver Scheme, two of those schemes Labor opposed.

We have ensured that 200,000 Australians over the last three years have been able to get into their first home, or into their own home, at a time when it has been hard to do so. So, no.

About two-thirds or thereabouts, it moves around, about two-thirds of Australians either own their home outright or paying it off through their mortgage. It is always hard.

If you talk to the people I was talking to before, they were talking about when they bought their first home. It has always been hard and it is hard particularly today but what the figures show is that 164,000 Australians last year getting into their first home – that is up almost 70,000 on what Labor was achieving when they were in office, and it is – I’d say – even harder now than it was then, but because of the targeted support and be well-designed policies that we have put in place we have been able to help them do it, and we have done it in a way where they own their own home.

Labor has a plan where they want the government to own your home, it’s not only that, you are last in line when it comes to your home. The bank has the first call over it. The government has the second call over it, and you come last when it comes to your own home.

See, when you design these policies you need to understand the housing market and you need to understand the economy, and you need to understand the banking and financial system and that is how you can run a plan and programs as we have had that has seen over 300,000 Australians get into their own home – not one that the government owns.

Scott Morrison has previously supported schemes like this, including when Victoria floated it five years ago.

Scott Morrison speaks to the media on Day 22 of the 2022 federal election campaign, in South Geelong, in the seat of Corangamite.
Scott Morrison speaks to the media on Day 22 of the 2022 federal election campaign, in South Geelong, in the seat of Corangamite. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Updated

Scott Morrison is now doing that thing where he states things as if they are facts.

He says Labor “does not have an economic plan”. Labor announced its economic policy last week.

Updated

Scott Morrison:

There is not a lot we can do about things that are happening overseas that are impacting our economy, but these practical things we’re doing as a government makes those cost living pressures just a bit more able to be dealt with, whether it is in tax relief, whether it is direct support to those on fixed incomes and pensions or easing the burden of the cost of medications and the eligibility for the commonwealth seniors health card.

This is a permanent change.

It is indexed and it means that Australians, and more Australians, will continue to get access to the commonwealth seniors health card. It differs by state.

There are different additional concessions that are provided, and in some states – they provide travel discounts on public transport. Some, you can even get a cheaper fishing license. So, these are the additional things that many other states provide. So, I think it is a good change. It is a sensible change. It is an affordable change, but it recognises that self-funded retirees have worked hard.

They have saved for their retirement. They want that independence they have worked hard for and this will help 50,000 more Australians be able to have access to the certainty of the healthcare that they wish to have as they move into their senior [years] and they want that independence they have worked hard for and this will help 50,000 more Australians be able to have access to the certainty of the healthcare that they wish to.

Updated

Scott Morrison is now talking about what the government has done for cost of living:

Our economic plan is all about Australians realising their aspirations. And we do want to make life just that bit easier wherever we can.

We have already announced our cost of living support in the budget, whether it is the halving of the petrol tax, the support of $250 that has gone to pensioners and many who I spoke to today have received that $250 this week.

The $420 that many who are living in housing estates that are being built around here, that $420 that they will be able to keep on their own earnings through additional tax relief will help them.

In the budget we also announced a major change to the safety net. That particularly applied to those who are on the commonwealth seniors health card, that would see the number of scripts brought from 48 to 36, 12 less, for them to be able to get access to the safety net that we provide under the PBS. We want to make things that little bit easier for self-funded retirees as well and extend the access of the commonwealth seniors health card. This is not the first time we have done this. We did this as a government in 2014.

Updated

Scott Morrison press conference

The PM has finished his latest game of pool for the cameras and he is now holding his press conference and he is talking ... “strong economy”.

A strong economy enables not only our national plans to be realised but it enables the local plans we have right across the country to be realised. Australians know that for their aspirations to be realised, and those aspirations are many, I talk about them on the weekend, those aspirations are to raise your kids, to buy a home, to say for your retirement.

This is a major achievement in life. All of these are supported, underwritten, by living in a country that has a strong economy and a government that knows how to manage money.

The services that you rely on to be guaranteed and they can give you that confidence and make people just that little bit less anxious, particularly as they are growing older in their years.

We are facing a lot of pressures on our economy, there are a lot of moving parts, the impact of the war in Europe, the lagging effects of the pandemic and how it has disrupted economy is all around the world.

The continuing impacts of Covid itself in countries like China, which is seeing supply lives disrupted which adds to costs. The difficulties of shipping all around the world, even the shortage of pallets for putting goods on that I moved around the country.

All of these things are impacting on prices and the cost of living. So as we go into this next decade, how a country manages its economy, how a government manages its finances is going to have a big impact on the citizens of our country.

Scott Morrison speaks to the media in Geelong.
Scott Morrison speaks to the media in Geelong. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Updated

National Covid summary

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers from around Australia today, as the country records at least 13 deaths from Covid-19:

ACT

  • Deaths: 1
  • Cases: 798
  • In hospital: 66 (with 2 people in ICU)

NSW

  • Deaths: 5
  • Cases: 7,723
  • In hospital: 1,656 (with 72 people in ICU)

Northern Territory

  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 248
  • In hospital: 44 (with 1 person in ICU)

Queensland

  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 4,647
  • In hospital: 453 (with 11 people in ICU)

South Australia

  • Deaths: 3
  • Cases: 3,143
  • In hospital: 257 (with 15 people in ICU)

Tasmania

  • Deaths: 3
  • Cases: 900
  • In hospital: 46 (with 2 people in ICU)

Victoria

  • Deaths: 1
  • Cases: 8,109
  • In hospital: 456 (with 4 people in ICU)

Western Australia

  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 5,847
  • In hospital: 240 (with 6 people in ICU)

Updated

Scott Morrison is now playing pool in front of senior’s at the Geelong ‘lifestyle’ village he is holding his press conference at.

The ABC camera operator has zoomed in on the PM’s cup of tea. It’s still three-quarters full.

We also saw a close-up of his teeth. Seems the media pack is hoping there might be some movement soon...

Updated

Scott Morrison is having a cup of tea with a group of seniors in front of the cameras, so I imagine his press conference will be held very soon.

CWA looks to a new generation at 100

The Country Womens’ Association is turning 100.

AAP reports:

Surfer Layne Beachley knows the Country Women’s Association and the sporting world celebrate success a little differently.

“No one is going to put you on a podium in a bikini and spray you down with champagne,” Beachley joked at the CWA conference in Sydney on Monday.

“But celebration is what motivated me. May you find your ways to celebrate and may it involve a lot of champagne, preferably in your mouth and not on your face.”

Australian surfer Layne Beachley.
Australian surfer Layne Beachley. Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

In its 100th year, the NSW CWA has reason to revel.

The organisation, with the core value of improving the lives of women and children in rural areas, has spent recent years supporting communities through drought, fires, floods, a mouse plague and the pandemic.

Last week, it donated $500,000 to flood victims for household items, food hampers, and family outreach services, particularly for women experiencing domestic violence.

At its centenary conference this week, the association is looking to the future and how it can appeal to a new generation of rural women.

Members will vote on whether to advocate for climate change action, funding for women’s refuges, improved sex education in schools, better endometriosis treatment, and greater access to women’s healthcare in rural areas.

Beachley, a seven-time world champion surfer, opened the conference, describing how the highs and lows of a career in a male-dominated sport inspired her to elevate other women.

“Our actions today will echo beyond our time,” she said.

“Be willing to plant a seed, water that seed, and grow a tree that you may never have the opportunity to sit under.”

Updated

The march ahead of the march:

Here’s some idea of what the media scrum facing the Brisbane Labour Day march Anthony Albanese is attending (via @murpharoo) pic.twitter.com/ypBmm8Zwte

— Amy Remeikis (@AmyRemeikis) May 2, 2022

Updated

Labor commits to extra healthcare benefits for seniors

Labor has officially announced it will match the Coalition’s senior card health announcement:

Labor will widen eligibility for the commonwealth seniors health card, in line with the government’s announcement today.

We’re not interested in playing politics when we see a good idea.

Unlike the Morrison government, we can be trusted to deliver on our announcements for older Australians and pensioners.

The Liberals have a habit of making promises to pensioners at election time but cutting support at budget time.

Updated

Australia still 'partner of choice' for Solomon Islands

Robert Sisilo, Solomon Islands’ high commissioner to Australia, said the countries had endured “testing times” since the draft security deal between Solomon Islands and China was leaked in March, but affirmed that Australia remained the “partner of choice” for the Pacific country.

In an interview with ABC Breakfast, a conciliatory Sisilo also dismissed fears that Solomon Islands was turning away from Australia.

“China is also a rising power,” said Sisilo.

“We are not seeking to move away from Australia, but seeking more cooperation with China.”

“Maybe we just want to diversify our sources of assistance [rather than] relying on Australia every time. We don’t also want to put the burden on Australia, because Australia has been doing a lot of assistance for us, so maybe we are starting to think of looking for other sources of assistance.”

Australia has raised concerns that the security deal signed last month could allow China to build a military base on Solomon Islands, something the prime minister of Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, has said will not happen, with Scott Morrison warning that for China to have a permanent military presence on the islands would be a “red line”.

Last week, Sogavare accused the Australian government of hypocrisy over his country’s security deal with China in light of the Aukus pact signed by Australia. Sogavare said Pacific island countries should have been consulted before the Aukus deal “allowing nuclear submarines in Pacific waters” was signed and that while the Aukus pact was far from transparent he “did not become theatrical and hysterical”.

Despite these tensions, Sisilo said the two countries were “still close friends” and he was confident the relationship would be rebuilt.

“Now we are in testing times, but through proper dialogue and mutual trust, I am confident our relations will be back on track,” said Sisilo.

Sisilo also confirmed that the text of the highly secretive security deal would be made public “in due course”, though he said Solomon Islands’ government was still discussing that with China.

Asked what it would take for Australia to restore a relationship with Solomon Islands, Sisilo said: “Climate change is of course the biggest threat to our security and our position on that is well known.”

He also said that a high unemployment rate among young people in the country was a pressing problem and urged the Australian government to expand the Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme, so that more young Solomon Islanders could have opportunities to work in Australia.

Updated

If you aren’t following this account, I recommend you do.

So many moments you would have forgotten about.

This photo op was set up after the PM couldn’t pronounce barre when naming restrictions.

The time Scott decided the nation needed photos of him doing barre during the pandemic pic.twitter.com/uEHudvfuHv

— Batshit moments in Australian Politics (@batshit_auspol) May 2, 2022

We are expecting to hear from Scott Morrison (who is campaigning in western Sydney) soon.

Updated

Barnaby Joyce launched his New England election campaign in safe territory – Armidale – on Sunday.

He’s still there, where he’s being questioned by reporters about government appointments and choices:

Barnaby Joyce defends Greg Hunt's character, following @4corners investigation that found Hunt wrote Apsen Medical glowing letter of recommendation while his Dept was in the middle of multi million dollar PPE negotiation #auspol pic.twitter.com/OrdHHtmZao

— Jamieson Murphy (@jamiesonmurph) May 2, 2022

Joyce also defends appointing Ryan Arrold, head of a Liberal Party fundraising body to plum job on taxpayer-funded board in parliament’s final days.
"I don't ask people what their political views are.. I look at their resumes to see if they can do a job" #auspol

— Jamieson Murphy (@jamiesonmurph) May 2, 2022

Gina Liano, who I think is the queen of Melbourne, features in Labor’s latest social media ad.

We've had enough too, Gina. Only Labor will make it cheaper for your next car to be electric. #auspol #RHOMelbourne pic.twitter.com/4MQPD0eI0Z

— Australian Labor (@AustralianLabor) May 2, 2022

WA records 5,847 new Covid cases but no deaths

Western Australia appears to be reporting no Covid deaths:

WA Health is reporting a total of 5,847 new cases to 8pm last night. There are currently 43,524 active cases in Western Australia.

To 8pm last night, there were 240 people with COVID-19 in hospital, 6 in ICU.

Total case breakdown:

Region Active (new to 8pm last night)
Metropolitan 35,141 (4,640)
Goldfields 712 (84)
Great Southern 647 (88)
Kimberley 599 (82)
Midwest 673 (114)
Pilbara 696 (87)
South West 3,046 (452)
Wheatbelt 597 (72)

Updated

Very envious of Murph and Mike Bowers who are in the Greatest Nation on Earth today as they follow Anthony Albanese around for a little bit:

Brisbane #auspol @AmyRemeikis pic.twitter.com/FXuv6G1NGV

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) May 2, 2022

Sarah Martin also saw quite a bit of the Greatest Nation on Earth while following Scott Morrison – her profile of his campaign is very revealing:

Updated

The Greens leader, Adam Bandt, is in Hobart, promising to push for a ban on offshore drilling in Bass Strait if the minor party is in a balance of power position after 21 May.

Bandt released a parliamentary budget office assessment that suggests extracting and burning all gas in a proposed development off the coast of King Island, between Tasmania and Victoria, could release 545m tonnes of carbon dioxide – more than Australia emits in a year.

The parliamentary office calculation of the scale of the proposal by US energy giant ConocoPhillips and Australian company 3D Oil includes several caveats but is based on data released by the companies.

Bandt said it showed the development was a “potential carbon bomb”.

He said polling showed King Islanders opposed the development and he has called on all parties to commit to blocking it. He compared it to the Pep11 gas exploration proposal off Sydney’s northern beaches that was blocked by the Morrison government. Labor supported the decision:

Australia is proudly girt by sea, but our oceans are being treated like tips and quarries as well as being heated by the burning of coal and gas.

Labor and Liberal need to commit to stopping this dangerous project and, like with Pep11, they need to pledge this prior to the election so Tasmanians know where they stand.

Greens leader Adam Bandt
Greens leader Adam Bandt. Photograph: Jono Searle/AAP

Updated

Josh Frydenberg has also faced this.

There is no excuse for these sorts of attacks.

Last night I was alerted to some of my signs being defaced with anti-Semitic slurs.

This was hurtful to see, of course. For those unaware, 'Shoah' is the Hebrew word for the Holocaust, and Jews were forced to wear yellow stars in Germany under the Nazis. pic.twitter.com/Utk39joBnS

— Kim Rubenstein (@Rubenstein_Kim1) May 1, 2022

In a statement, Kim Rubenstein said:

I’ve got a pretty thick skin and was warned this could happen. But I’m writing this as a reminder that we must be vigilant against any behaviour that seeks to vilify people for their religion, race, ethnicity, gender or sexuality.

I will always defend freedom of speech and people’s right to their own opinion. But free speech can’t be a free pass for hatred. And with that freedom comes a responsibility to do so peacefully and respectfully.

We can disagree without harming or belittling each other, and we can have our say without racist, bigoted attacks.

We should also be able to make our points without resorting to misinformation and misleading political advertising – something we’ve seen far too much of already this election campaign.

Our multicultural democracy is only as strong as its defenders – its citizens. It is precious, but it is also fragile – and we should never take it for granted.

Offsets are working out just wonderfully.

As Lisa Cox reports:

An area of heritage-listed bushland that formed part of the environmental offset for the western Sydney airport has been bulldozed for a car park at a new defence facility.

The clearing was revealed in an independent audit of the federal government’s progress in delivering the offsets required to compensate for the destruction of endangered habitat for the new travel hub in Badgerys Creek.

The main offset for the clearing of critically endangered Cumberland plain woodland is about 900ha of bushland at a defence site in the suburb of Orchard Hills.

Updated

The Greens are looking likely to have the balance of power in the next parliament. They didn’t announce their cannabis policy on 4/20 which seemed a missed opportunity, but the legalise-it push is getting stronger.

Via AAP:

The Australian Greens are promising to reform cannabis laws and push for a ban on new fossil fuel projects in Bass Strait if the minor party secures the balance of power at the federal election.

Cannabis laws needed reform after decades of punitive policy at the state and federal levels, the federal party said on Monday.

“Much of the rest of the world has moved on to legalise cannabis and it’s high time Australia did the same,” Greens NSW Senate candidate David Shoebridge said ahead of a policy launch in the NSW Northern Rivers town of Nimbin.

Current laws criminalising cannabis resulted in money being funnelled to the organised crime groups meeting demand, Mr Shoebridge added.

Some 36 per cent of Australians over the age of 14 have used non-medicinal cannabis, according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data for 2019, with 11.6 per cent having consumed it in the previous twelve months.

Many people in the community use cannabis and a regulated industry could raise $4.4 billion in revenue for schools, hospitals and climate action, Greens candidate for Page – which includes Nimbin – Kashmir Miller said.

The party also wants a freeze on offshore gas exploration, including ConocoPhillips and 3D Oil’s plans to drill northwest of Tasmania near King Island.

“To reach even the weak target of net zero by 2050, not one single new coal, oil or gas project can be built,” Greens leader Adam Bandt said on Monday.

Updated

Just trying to imagine explaining this to someone from another country and failing.

“And then the prime minister brought out a ukulele and started playing April Sun in Cuba and then the band got upset, and there were thousands of memes .... ”

Hate to break it to you but the warm up band for Albanese and other speakers at the May day rally in Brisvegas is currently belting out April Sun in Cuba #auspol @AmyRemeikis

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) May 2, 2022

Updated

The view from Murph

Quick hello from Brisbane, folks.

I’ve hopped on the campaign bus with Anthony Albanese for the next few days. After the press conference this morning, he joined the May Day march through Brisbane city to the showground.

Albanese was joined by his partner, Jodie, union leaders including Sally McManus, ALP president Wayne Swan and many Queensland MPs. Obviously it’s a friendly crowd, that’s a given, but Albanese got lots of support from onlookers lining the footpaths. The member for Lilley Anika Wells supplied the necessary baby content.

She has young twins and both of them got a ride on the Labor leader’s shoulders during the walk through Brisbane.

Albanese is still visibly battling Covid. He’s pale. Up close there’s signs of physical depletion. But he’s revving his engines a bit harder to compensate.

We’ve arrived now at the showgrounds with thousands of unionists. The air is thick with the smells of barbecue – fried onions, snags and sauce. A band is belting out Solidarity Forever. Next song: Rolling on the River. Rolling to 21 May.

Updated

Brisbane’s Labour Day parade kicked off with bagpipes and jubilant cheers of “union power” as sweat glistened across revellers’ faces while they marched in the Queensland heat.

Unlike his mixed reception at Bluesfest, Labor leader Anthony Albanese was treated like a rockstar by union supporters as he spoke about the need to address the skyrocketing costs of living and housing affordability.

Anthony Albanese with Steven Miles and Annastacia Palaszczuk before the Labour Day march in Brisbane
Anthony Albanese with Steven Miles and Annastacia Palaszczuk before the Labour Day march in Brisbane. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

As he addressed the media, Albanese made his election pitch to Queenslanders, arguing that he’d work closely with the premier to secure stable work and boost funding for public housing:

What workers also know is that cost of going up but their pay isn’t.

His time with reporters was brief but it was a marathon parade that followed, winding through Brisbane’s CBD and ending at the Brisbane Showground.

Albanese, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus led the march as reporters ducked and weaved, trying to avoid tripping over each other or interrupting pieces to camera.

There were only a few tiny hiccups, including when a group of protesters calling for Julian Assange to be freed stationed themselves in the middle of the parade but were swiftly moved on by police.

Another group of protesters were also silenced when their calls for “climate action” were drowned out by the chants of union members.

All in all, it was smooth sailing for Albanese, who was among friends in Queensland’s union movement.

Updated

There has been a bit of chatter about this and we covered it in a post earlier this morning, but here is Dr Monique Ryan speaking about how nasty some of the campaigning has been in Kooyong:

"I'd like to talk about the things that matter to the people of Kooyong, not to have sly, nasty digs at each other's family members."

Independent candidate @Mon4Kooyong, responds to sitting member @JoshFrydenberg's comments about her mother-in-law saying she would vote for him. pic.twitter.com/MOfyWmHeQn

— News Breakfast (@BreakfastNews) May 1, 2022

Updated

In case you haven’t seen it, Guardian Australia has a YouTube channel, where you’ll find recaps, fact checks and explanations. Ignore my tired face.

Updated

These last few weeks are going to get very messy.

Labor will deliver on the same seniors health card commitment as the government. Older Australians deserve better than election bribes. This is the same Government who tried to lift the pension age to 70.

— Mark Butler MP (@Mark_Butler_MP) May 1, 2022

Updated

This is the big Liberal campaign announcement for today:

An extra 50,000 older Australians will have access to more affordable health care and medications to help ease cost of living pressures under changes to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

A re-elected Morrison Government will increase the singles income test threshold from $57,761 to around $90,000 from July 1 this year, to give more senior Australians access to the concession card. The couple’s threshold will also increase from $92,416 to $144,000.

At the Commonwealth level, all card holders are eligible for cheaper medications and health care, and they may also be eligible for state, territory and local government savings such as discounted rates, electricity and gas bills, ambulance, dental, eye care, recreation and public transport.

The Prime Minister said the Coalition would invest more than $70 million over four years to expand eligibility, helping an extra 50,000 senior Australians this year.

Labor has said it supports it and would match it.

For those who missed him, Alan Jones is back on the (social) air. Josh Frydenberg is his first guest, along with Pauline Hanson.

Updated

Household Covid contacts will not have to isolate in any state

Tasmania has now changed its household contact restrictions, as AAP reports:

Household contacts of people infected with COVID-19 are no longer required to isolate in any Australian state.

Tasmania on Monday became the last jurisdiction to eliminate the requirement for people to isolate for a week if a member of their household had the virus.

There are around 330,000 active coronavirus cases around the country, with more than 3000 in hospital with the virus.

Meanwhile, NSW and Victorian health authorities confirmed last week they had detected evidence of two new sub-variants of the Omicron strain – BA.4 and BA.2.12.1.

The World Health Organization has declared the BA.4 strain a highly transmissible variant of concern.

Updated

It will be the rate decision that stops a nation – well, at least the political campaigns – when the Reserve Bank meets tomorrow to decide whether to lift its cash rate target from a record low 0.1%.

As things stand, investors are pretty confident the RBA will lift the rate to 0.25% when it declares the results of its board meeting at 2.30pm AEST.

A reminder that what happens on Tuesday, the Reserve Bank is expected to have to do a lot of work for a year and more to come if its cash rate is to 'normalised'... #auspol #AusVotes22 #ausvotes pic.twitter.com/JeIUiqF30M

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) May 1, 2022

A similar verdict has been declared by the ANU’s Shadow RBA Board, which attempts to apply the central bank’s approach to anticipate the outcome. Key to that view, of course, is the spike in the CPI for the March quarter to 5.1%, a level not seen for more than two decades. (Here’s more on inflation, in case you missed it, from last week.)

The key obstacle to lifting the rate is probably the “red line” drawn by RBA governor Phil Lowe just last month that he wanted to see both inflation and wage trends before lifting the cash rate. ABS wage data won’t be out until 18 May, which of course, would mean the RBA waiting until June – after the election – before acting.

As we explore here, the RBA will shed some credibility whatever tomorrow’s verdict. It’s certainly not being helped that the latest public comment by Lowe or any other senior RBA official was on 22 March. A signal either way would have taken some of the sting out of tomorrow’s decision.

A rate rise would, of course, be quickly passed on by commercial banks (which have been lifting fixed-interest mortgages for half a year). That’s likely to add to the mounting downward pressure on property prices that is already appearing in Melbourne and Sydney before the RBA moves.

According to data from CoreLogic released this morning, the Victorian capital’s “home values” were basically flat in April, and down 0.2% in the Harbour City for a third month of declines in a row. Nationally, the increase was 0.6% for the month, or the slowest growth pace since October 2020.

Cities with growth, though, include Adelaide, at 1.9%, Brisbane (1.7%), Canberra (1.3%) and Perth (1.1%).

Updated

The press conference ends with Anthony Albanese saying he “can’t keep 10,000 people waiting” (the Labour Day march is about to begin).

There are some very frustrated journalist faces as he walks away.

It seems the Covid cough is hanging around for Albanese – he demolished a bottle of water during that press conference.

Updated

There have been no questions on interest rates, so Jim Chalmers steps up to give a stump speech:

Whether the Reserve Bank raises interest rates this week or next month, Scott Morrison’s economic credibility is in tatters. This is the third wave of Scott Morrison’s cost-of-living crisis.

This is a triple whammy of falling real wages, skyrocketing inflation and interest rates are about to rise as well. Australians can’t risk, and they can’t afford another three years of being absolutely punished by Scott Morrison’s failures on the economy. Everywhere you look amongst this march today, are you sealing people, as Albo said, be unwilling victims of Scott Morrison’s cost-of-living crisis all around you.

The workers of this country deserve better than another three years of being absolutely punished by skyrocketing inflation, falling real wages and now interest rate rises as well. These workers have kept the wheels of the Australian economy turning throughout this pandemic. The thanks they get can’t be another three years of falling further and further behind.

Updated

Q: One of the biggest issues in housing affordability is the price of housing. Do you think the housing, price of housing is too high? Do you think the price of housing should come down to better help people on lower incomes afford housing? And in relation to your comments about Dominic Perrottet, he’s got a policy on the table to replace stamp duty with ongoing property tax that needs federal government buy-in. Would you look at that if you were elected on May 21?

Anthony Albanese:

We’ll determine our own policies and we will put them forward as we did yesterday. I note that Premier Perrottet is considering a very similar policy to the one that we’ve put forward. He is considering it. WA have it. Tasmania increasing theirs. Premier Perrottet is looking at a similar policy of Help to Buy, effectively. And the UK government under the Conservatives has it. Canada has it.

This is a sensible plan. We know the cost of housing is very high. What we need to do is to have a whole-of-government approach as well as working with state governments and working as well with the private sector.

That’s why our housing supply and affordability council we announced yesterday is an important component of what we’re putting forward, working with the states and territories to work constructively but also working with the private sector on areas hike land release and those issues.

That’s why we have a plan for increased social housing. We have a plan for increased affordable housing. We have a plan for increased emergency funding as well: $100m. We know that tonight in every capital city in Australia, women with kids will get turned away, will get turned away, because there is not somewhere for them to go. We know in terms of these issues, there aren’t simple solutions. What we are doing is trying to create a circumstance whereby everyone can have the possibility of a secure roof over their head.

That’s why we have a change of these measures which are there. We know that the housing issue is one whereby the great Australian dream is out of reach for too many Australians, and Jim will make a comment about interest rates and then we have to go join the march.

Updated

Q: You spoke here about working with the premiers, Mr Albanese. So I have a question for you about the premiers and also premier Palaszczuk, if you’d like to comment on this question as well. It’s about health funding. We have a comment from Daniel Andrews in Victoria today about the need for 50/50 federal/state funding for growth funding for the public hospital system. This is a significant issue for all premiers and I think for premier Palaszczuk as well. Would this be part of your agenda in government? You say you’re going to work with the premiers. Would you work with the premiers on 50/50 funding for public hospitals?

Anthony Albanese:

What we’re doing during this campaign – and I’ll take one more question after this, because the march is ready to go off – what we will do is sit down with premiers constructively and work these issues through. We know the pressure that’s there on the hospital systems. It’s one of the reasons why we’ve put forward, for example, urgent care clinics. Urgent care clinics are aimed at taking pressure off emergency departments, because we know that emergency departments are under such pressure. The other thing that we’re doing is being upfront in our discussions with the premiers.

We’re not promising things in advance and then we’ll say say something different after the election campaign. What we’re doing is being very clear. I’m aware that premiers would like increased funding. Premier Palaszczuk has raised it with me, all of the state premiers, Labor and Liberal, wrote to the government, I think it was last year.

So it’s nothing new about this what we’re doing, though, our policies are measured. We’re inheriting, we’re inheriting of a government that doubled the debt before the pandemic, $1tn of debt. So that is why we are being very responsible, very measured, in the proposals that we have put forward.

Anthony Albanese and Annastacia Palaszczuk in Brisbane this morning for the Labour Day march
Anthony Albanese and Annastacia Palaszczuk in Brisbane this morning for the Labour Day march. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Annastacia Palaszczuk:

I’ve had this conversation with Anthony and I’m sure a lot of other premiers have as well. Let’s say this is no secret – that all of the health ministers across the country are calling for increases in health funding. All of the health ministers of both political persuasions. It is no secret that all of the premiers and the chief ministers from all political persuasions are calling for more health funding. We’ve had two years of a global pandemic. It’s put pressure on our hospitals. I know with Anthony, he will listen. He will listen and he will conduct a listening exercise and look at those gaps and we’ll be able to work with him, not someone who won’t even allow it to be on the agenda at national cabinet.

Updated

Q: Mr Albanese, what work has the Labor party done to ascertain whether or not your ...

Albanese:

Sorry. It’s difficult to hear. I’ve got a bit of a cough.

Q: No worries. What work has the Labor party done to ascertain whether or not your housing affordable initiative will drive up housing prices? And can you give a guarantee standing here today that it will not?

Albanese:

Our housing policy is good policy. How do we though that, because we know that it works. In Western Australia they’ve had a similar plan now for 30 years. What it’s done is enabled people to get into housing who wouldn’t otherwise get there and it’s also produced a return to the government. It is a very, very positive plan which is why it’s been welcomed by the Housing Industry Association, by the Master Builders Association, and it’s why as well I note that in the past Scott Morrison has been positive about it.

Anthony Albanese speaks to the media in Brisbane this morning
Anthony Albanese speaks to the media in Brisbane this morning. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Updated

Q: Mr Albanese, on the government’s announced extension of the seniors’ health card, your health spokesman has called it an election bribe of the prime minister, says it’s to address cost-of-living pressures and it’s an embedded increase so it’s a structural change to a cyclical problem for people who have disposable income of $144,000. If it’s a bribe and it’s not right, why support it?

Anthony Albanese:

We support the measure. We know that people are under cost-of-living pressures and where there’s a good idea, we will support it

Q: Does Labor commit to the current super arrangements for self-funded retirees and other superannuants? And do you rule out increases to super taxes and changes to caps?

Albanese:

We have no intentions of making super changes. One of the things we’re doing in this campaign is we’re making all of our policies clear, clear. We’re putting them out there for all to see. I had my campaign launch three weeks in advance of the election campaign so that it can be scrutinised.

Updated

Q: The prime minister has just been at an Eid event and he has had delays with humanitarian and family reunion visas directly raised with him at this event. What would Labor do to speed up visa processing and would you lift the cap on humanitarian visas?

Anthony Albanese:

One of the things that we have from this government is a gutting of the public service. In so many areas there are just longer and longer and longer delays. It doesn’t matter whether it is migration, it doesn’t matter whether it is veterans’ affairs and veterans trying to get payments, it doesn’t matter whether it is in the areas of Centrelink, whereby people can’t get through to a human being to talk, one of the things that has occurred with all of this government’s gutting of the public service is that across the board, people are not getting the service delivery that they need and that they deserve. That is why one of the reasons why we have said we will have increased support for the public service, that was part of Jim and Katy’s announcement that they made last Wednesday.

Updated

Q: Mr Albanese, yesterday you were with the South Australian premier, the WA premier and today with the Queensland premier. Given 60% of Australians don’t think at the moment you are the better prime minister, isn’t your appearance with Labor state premiers a concession you can’t do this on your own?

Anthony Albanese:

I tell you, what it says is I want to work with premiers of all persuasions – all persuasions. If you ask Dominic Perrottet about his view of Scott Morrison in private, you might get it.

Updated

Into the questions.

Q: On real wages, what is your benchmark to raise wages and what would be considered a failure should you take government?

Anthony Albanese:

I will ask Tony to make some comments on that as well but can I make this point, really simple point: There are aged care workers here with us today. The royal commission makes it very clear that unless we give aged care workers a pay increase, the crisis will get worse. This government can’t even be bothered to put in a submission saying they deserve a pay increase. Any pay increase – no submission whatsoever, they are silent. They are silent on all of the workforce issues. The government did put some increased funding in their budget for aged care post the royal commission, but they ignored all of the workforce recommendations. They ignored the recommendation about 215 minutes of care. They ignored the clear recommendation about 24/7 nurses in aged care.

Tony Burke:

Whenever things are going up except pay, there is a simple benchmark. People can’t keep going backwards. People cannot keep going backwards.

Q: ... Wages [growth] is just over 2%...

Burke:

I have made it pretty clear, people cannot continue to go backwards in their pay and conditions. From the government’s perspective, this is not an accident, this is a deliberate design feature that now people are living in their cost of living.

Updated

Tony Burke:

Everything is going up, except wages. Mr Morrison starts to claim now that there is nothing he can do about that. Let’s not forget the decade of flatlining wages has not been an accident. They have admitted it was a deliberate design feature of this government.

While governments are not in charge of every pay rate around the country, there are things you can do to improve wages.

We have already announced what we can do to be able to improve job security in this country.

Yesterday we announced what we can do to improve pay equity. It is simply not good enough when women are paid more than $250 a week less than men. To be able to act on this, to be able to deliver for those heroes of the pandemic, there are two things you need to do.

You need to fix the structure of the legislation and then you need to have the panels to implement the improvements.

The structure simply means you make sure gender equity is an objective of the act and you make sure we have an equal pay remuneration principle at a federal level, just like we already have here in Queensland. Secondly, you make sure that for those heroes of the pandemic, you have panels to implement them, one on gender equity, one on the care and community sector.

The reason nothing is happening at the moment is because Mr Morrison has gone missing like he always does. We have a leader in Anthony Albanese ready to step up and take action on job security and pay equity.

Updated

Tony Burke and Amanda Rishworth are also at this press conference, which is being held in front of a very supportive audience (union members at the May Day event).

Updated

Anthony Albanese press conference

After a rousing introduction from Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Anthony Albanese takes centre stage.

He’s talking manufacturing and also Labour Day.

As the birth state of the Labor party, leaders like to be in Brisbane for the May Day march.

Anthony Albanese will be speaking very soon. It looks like a perfect day in Brisbane.

Updated

Morrison begins campaign day at Eid celebrations in Parramatta

Scott Morrison attended the Eid prayer in Parramatta today, one of the most marginal and diverse seats in NSW.

The prayer, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims, was also attended by former prime minister Kevin Rudd, as well as Labor candidate Andrew Charlton and Liberal candidate Maria Kovacic.

It’s the first time a prime minister has attend an Eid prayer, with Morrison saying the Muslim community was an essential part of Australia’s “tapestry”:

And as I look out on this wonderful gathering here today, I see a community I see a community of faith. I see a community of love.

Australia is like a rope with many different strands that weave together to make it incredibly strong. And I’m here with one of those important strands here today.

There was a mixed response from locals, with some welcoming Morrison’s attendance. Nashmiya Hamad said she felt it was “annoying”.

I think it’s really annoying that he’s here. I don’t want to see him on Eid. I don’t want to be praying with him at the front.

Others thought his attendance reflected changing attitudes towards the Muslim community, with Zuhal Hashimi welcoming his presence.

I’m happy with the fact that he was here, we need the Muslim community better represented and recognised. We haven’t had many politicians attend our gatherings, so this was a positive thing.

Although Morrison attracted many attendees, handing out bags of sweets and chatting with locals, Rudd was just as popular. He was mobbed early on, with many seeking selfies and welcoming the former prime minister to Parramatta.

Scott Morrison hands out lolly bags after the Eid prayer to mark the end of Ramadan at Parramatta Park in Sydney
Scott Morrison hands out lolly bags after the Eid prayer to mark the end of Ramadan at Parramatta Park in Sydney. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Updated

Given some of the eligibility issues alleged with some of the candidates there have been questions over why their names can’t be taken off the ballots. Here is one reason they can’t be – postals have gone out.

Postal votes are appearing in mailboxes - not just in Australia, but all over the world! Thanks Paul for showing off this Canadian example.

If you haven't applied for an overseas postal vote yet, there is still time. Visit https://t.co/FhhlMtBFT9 to get started.#auspol https://t.co/yzpWqXs4z2

— AEC ✏️ (@AusElectoralCom) May 1, 2022

Updated

The prime minister has been approached after Eid prayers.

“Please help us,” Hijara Taufiq has approached the Prime Minister after Eid Prayers to beg for help to get her family out of Afghanistan where she says their lives are under Taliban threat @SBSNews #auspol pic.twitter.com/YcctSajoQW

— Anna Henderson (@annajhenderson) May 1, 2022

Updated

It’s all about cost of living this week.

As AAP reports:

An extra 50,000 older Australians will get access to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card if the Morrison government is re-elected, as two new polls show Labor continues to lead on the two party vote.

A day after Labor leader Anthony Albanese accused him of neglecting older Australians, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to announce an increase in the singles income test threshold – from $57,761 to around $90,000 – from July 1 this year to broaden access to the concession card.

The couples threshold will also increase from $92,416 to $144,000.

At the commonwealth level, all card holders are eligible for cheaper medications and health care and may also be entitled to state, territory and local government savings, like discounted rates, electricity and gas bills, ambulance, dental, eye care, recreation and public transport.

Mr Morrison says the $70 million expansion is part of the Coalition’s plan to deliver cost of living relief.

Updated

Qantas announces non-stop east coast to NY and London flight plans

Qantas has unveiled details of the ultra-long haul aircraft it plans to run on non-stop flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York by the end of 2025, as the airline’s battered financial situation shows signs of improving.

Confirming reports that have swirled in recent days, Qantas announced its mega order with French plane manufacturer Airbus for 12 of its A350-1000 aircraft, which will be run on the so-called “Project Sunrise” flights, with the first to be delivered in 2025.

Qantas has also ordered an additional 40 Airbus aircraft – A321XLRs and A220-300s – for domestic operations, with the first of these aircraft to be delivered next year. The deal is understood to be valued in the billions of dollars. While the airline says the exact cost of the new planes is commercial in confidence, it said “a significant discount from the standard price should be assumed”.

Does the thought of a 20 hour flight make your knees shudder? Fear not. Renders of the "wellbeing zones" @Qantas plans for its A350s that will fly the ultra long haul routes from Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York by the end of 2025 @GuardianAus https://t.co/Iy3LbxQNnN pic.twitter.com/RGvS1YxHmj

— Elias Visontay (@EliasVisontay) May 1, 2022

For years, the airline has been planning its Project Sunrise, with the pandemic delaying its launch. The flights will run up to 20 hours without stopping and become among the world’s longest flights.

Qantas Group – which includes budget carrier Jetstar – also released its third-quarter financial update, showing that while the resurgence of domestic and some international travel markets had boosted revenue, the airline still expects to post “a significant” full-year loss. Net debt has reduced from $5.5bn at the end of December to $4.5bn by the end of April.

Chief executive Alan Joyce said: “The A350 and Project Sunrise will make any city just one flight away from Australia. It’s the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance.” Joyce also said the cabin of the A350s “is being specially designed for maximum comfort in all classes for long-haul flying”.

On the orders to refresh its domestic fleet, Joyce said the range and economics of the new planes Qantas had ordered “will make new direct routes possible, including serving regional cities better” and that “these newer aircraft and engines will reduce emissions by at least 15% if running on fossil fuels, and significantly better when run on Sustainable Aviation Fuel”.

Updated

NSW reports five Covid deaths and 7,723 new cases; Victoria reports one death and 8,109 new cases

It is good to see some lower numbers, but we are thinking of the loved ones of these six people, as we are for anyone who has lost someone.

COVID-19 update – Monday 2 May 2022

In the 24-hour reporting period to 4pm yesterday:

- 96.2% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
- 94.8% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine pic.twitter.com/PZmesSCaOs

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) May 1, 2022

We thank everyone who got vaccinated and tested yesterday.

Our thoughts are with those in hospital, and the families of people who have lost their lives.

More data soon: https://t.co/OCCFTAtS1P#COVID19Vic #COVID19VicData pic.twitter.com/COwJUqdIhY

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) May 1, 2022

Updated

Labor is still on the campaign sell for its first homeowner policy.

Jason Clare faced questions ranging from, “Is this too small to have an impact?” to, “Won’t it drive up house prices?”

Three weeks of this to go.

"This is targeted at people who are giving up on buying a home and looking like they're going to have to rent for the rest of their life."@JasonClareMP on Labor's low cost housing pitch outlined yesterday. pic.twitter.com/cnGXcPJRSi

— News Breakfast (@BreakfastNews) May 1, 2022

Updated

Scott Morrison was also pushed at that same press conference about why he was checking his phone during the Anzac Day ceremony he attended:

Q: I think you’d agree that Australians fundamentally care about respect and showing respect at commemorative events like Anzac Day. You still haven’t explained why you were texting during the service and what was so pressing that it needed to be dealt with then and there?

Morrison: Well, I was not texting during the service.

Q: There’s a bit, there’s footage of you.

Morrison: Well I was not texting during the service. Yeah I know, that was taken, that was after the service had completed.

Q: Everyone standing up and clapping, prime minister.

Morrison: Yeah, that was the end of the service. And what I was doing was a –

Q: It couldn’t wait though?

Morrison: Hang on. (inaudible) your question.

Q: OK.

Morrison: What I said was, it was the end of the service and I was hoping to be able to spend some time at the service meeting a lot of people. And so I was checking the time of my next appointment. That seems perfectly reasonable. And I spent a good half an hour, in fact, there was quite a crowd who wanted to talk to me. And I enjoyed spending time with them.

Q: So you don’t think it was disrespectful (inaudible)?

Morrison: But the service had completed.

Updated

This from yesterday is important. Scott Morrison is asked how his support for the Liberal Warringah candidate, Katherine Deves, who has made several transphobic and anti-LGBTIQ comments in the past on her social media, marries up with his stated “mission” to improve the mental health of Australians, particularly younger Australians.

My questioning of Scott Morrison today 👇🏼 #auspol #ausvotes https://t.co/TtZ6xDtH5L

— courtney gould (@heyycourtt) May 1, 2022

Q: Today you’ve repeated your this is a mission on mental health.

Morrison: Yes.

Q: While at the same time, this in the past week you’ve supported comments deemed harmful to the LGBT community. Given that LGBT kids have among the highest suicide rate in the country, how can you stand here today and say it’s your mission to bring down suicide rates, while supporting comments that are deemed harful that could actually raise rates of suicide in young teens?

Morrison: I, I haven’t supported comments.

Q: You’ve supported Katherine Deves.

Morrison: No, what I’ve said –

Q: You’ve supported banning transgender women from sport.

Morrison: Well, I –

Q: Isn’t that have a bad impact on teens?

Morrison: These are two separate issues. One is –

Q: How are they two separate issues? Could you please explain that?

Morrison: I’ll be happy to. Fairness in sport, women and girls in sport is an important issue where I think there are commonsense solutions and that’s what we’re focused on with that. On the other matter, in terms of what Katherine Deves has said in the past, she has withdrawn those and she said they were insensitive. And that was my view as well. So there’s no suggestion that I have supported those earlier comments. I don’t support those earlier comments.

Updated

Scott Morrison is campaigning in Parramatta.

@ScottMorrisonMP is in Parramatta this morning joining Eid celebrations with members of the Muslim community. #auspol pic.twitter.com/wNFKb3LLyN

— Hannah Cross (@hannahjcross) May 1, 2022

Updated

That interview continued:

Q: At the same time, it’s fair to say you all need to raise money. You’ve attended fundraising events. I think Brunswick was the most recent one you went to, well outside the city of Kooyong.

Campaign posters for Kooyong rivals Josh Frydenberg and Monique Ryan at Camberwell in Melbourne
Campaign posters for Kooyong rivals Josh Frydenberg and Monique Ryan at Camberwell in Melbourne. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP

Monique Ryan:

Oh, OK. I have not attended fundraising events in Brunswick. Mr Frydenberg keeps trying to smear me with some attendance at a private function held by some friends of mine as a fundraiser last week. I was not there.

I have not attended fundraisers when I’ve been invited to community forums where the people of Kooyong want to talk about things that matter. In this case, it was climate. Mr Frydenberg was invited to that forum and declined to attend. He needs to be more accountable to the people of Kooyong and this is one of the frustrations people here have with him.

Q: It will clearly be a close contest there on May 21. One of your key platforms is greater accountability, greater transparency. You want a strong federal anti-corruption commission, but in terms of accountability, aren’t you ... Are you not being accountable in not telling the voters of Kooyong in the event of a hung parliament which side of politics you’d support if you win?

Ryan:

Not at all. I’ve been extremely clear about this. I have said who I would support in terms of the major parties where there’s a hung parliament.

I would support whichever of the major parties was willing to come to the table on what the people of Kooyong want, which is effective action on climate change in the next 10 to 15 years and a strong federal Icac. If Mr Frydenberg was really serious about action on climate change, he would be talking to the independents rather than smearing us in the way that he has.

He can’t control his own party. He can’t control Barnaby Joyce. He can’t give us any sense of how his government is going to take action on climate change. That’s something that I can give the people of Kooyong.

Updated

Dr Monique Ryan, the independent challenger to Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong, has been asked about the campaign for the seat once held by Robert Menzies, given how personal Frydenberg is making the campaign.

ABC News showed this clip of Frydenberg launching his campaign:

Frydenberg:

The other day Amy [his wife] and I were walking down to Porgies + Mr Jones for dinner and a very nice lady, in her 70s I think, came up to me and said, “Josh, I’m voting for you.” I said, “That’s very nice for you.”

And she goes, “I’m Monique Ryan’s mother-in-law.”

(There is laughter in the room.)

I said, “Why are you voting for me?” She said, “Because you know what you’re doing and you’re a nice person.” I said thank you very much.

(More laughter)

Q: Firstly, did that happen?

Ryan:

Look, I have to agree with Mr Frydenberg in that my mother-in-law is a very nice lady and she did have a conversation with Mr Frydenberg recently. She believes that she was misquoted in some of that conversation. She did say that she was intending to vote for him but she does not recall the rest of that conversation.

Q: The treasurer says hand on heart that she said that words he recounted to the Liberal Party faithful yesterday.

Ryan:

Right, well, that’s a difference between two adult people. My issue is this, Michael, I don’t see why the treasurer feels it’s appropriate to bring other family members into political discourse.

My mother-in-law is not a part of this campaign. She is not someone who should be made fun of at Liberal party events, which Mr Frydenberg has done twice in the last week. Where does this end?

At the start of this campaign, I signed a code of conduct where I pledged not to make personal attacks on Mr Frydenberg and not to approach or attack his family in any way. I’d like to know where he joins the line. I don’t want him coming after my parents and I don’t want him coming after my children.

I’d like to talk about the things that matter to the people of Kooyong, not to have sly, nasty digs at each other’s family members.

Q: You say twice. When was the other occasion when, as you say, the treasurer made fun of your mother-in-law?

Ryan:

He told that story last week while the rest of the candidates for Kooyong were at the Kooyong candidates’ forum at the Hawthorn Town Hall. Mr Frydenberg told that story, which he obviously finds amusing, at the Glenferrie hotel 100 metres down the road. He didn’t attend the candidates’ forum but attended a private function, donors’ function, I don’t know what it was, only 100 metres away.

Updated

Our rural and regional editor, Gabrielle Chan, has taken a look at the seat of Nicholls and the “Barnaby line” – the areas where the National leader is popular and one of the reasons he was brought back to the leadership:

The Goyder Line marks the line of reliable rainfall in South Australia. The Brisbane Line marks the apocryphal plan to abandon northern Australia during the second world war. The Barnaby Line, then, could mark the boundary of Barnaby Joyce’s appeal to rural voters.

It has long been assumed that Joyce is a Coalition plus in the regions and a minus in the cities, but his regional appeal may be changing in the southern states. If it is, that would mirror the challenges of all major parties, trying to straddle the divide between what voters want in the north compared with the desires in the south-east.

Updated

Other letters though, Anne Ruston has no idea about.

Asked about this story from the ABC (headline: Aspen Medical was given more than $1 billion in government PPE contracts despite no experience in large-scale procurement), she draws a blank:

Q: Finally, if the Coalition wins, you’ll be health minister. I want to ask you about a Four Corners story tonight which has the current health minister Greg Hunt sign a glowing letter of recommendation for a healthcare-connected company whilst it was in the midst of negotiations with his department for a lucrative multimillion-dollar PPE deal. That company, Aspen Medical, would win contracts without a public tender worth more than $1.1bn. Does that sound right to you?

Ruston:

Well, obviously, the details of which you’re referring to, I am unaware. But I would say that the health response that we have put in place, particularly through the pandemic, has been second to none around the world. And we, obviously, I think, can be very proud as a nation, collectively, all Australians, about the way that we’ve come through the pandemic and it has been our health services that have underpinned that success.

Q: But the question that I was asking, you don’t really need to know much about the issue. But according to Four Corners, health minister Greg Hunt wrote a letter supporting it in the midst of the tender negotiations. Is that the right thing for any minister to do?

Ruston:

I’m unaware of the details you’re referring to. But as I said, the necessity for the support that we received right across the board in our health response during the pandemic was the absolute underlying reasons why so many tens of thousands of Australian lives were saved during the pandemic and I think that all Australians can be tremendously proud of the health response to have the economic response and the strong economy that we are today and the envy of the rest of the world.

Minister for health Anne Ruston
Minister for health Anne Ruston. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Updated

Anne Ruston, who would be the health minister in a re-elected Morrison government, was asked why, given that the head of Uniting Care backed a 25% pay increased for aged care workers – which Labor has pledged to support – the Coalition does not:

Well, we absolutely acknowledge the need that people who work in the aged care need to be paid appropriately, but we also believe that the Fair Work Commission is the appropriate independent body to make a decision about what that should be. We are absolutely committed and have been on the record as saying that the decision of the Fair Work Commission will be honoured by the government. But we are not going to intervene in the Fair Work Commission. It is independent. Mr Albanese has made comments, but I mean, what he’s so far said is that his action on the basis of the comments is that he’s going to write a letter to the Fair Work Commission. We will honour the Fair Work Commission but we also honour the hardworking staff in the aged care facilities.

This “write a letter” line the Coalition keeps using, seems to imply that it doesn’t believe prime ministers have much influence. Curious.

Anne Ruston
Anne Ruston. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Updated

Good morning

Welcome to day 22 of the election campaign. There are now three weeks to go.

Absolutely every day counts now too. Pre-polls open next week and voters who haven’t been paying attention will begin turning their mind towards who to vote for, meaning the parties are going to be slogging it out each and every day.

According to the latest Newspoll, there’s been no shift in the two-party-preferred for the second week in a row.

#BREAKING: Labor remains in a winning position three weeks from polling day after a lift in support. #Newspoll #ausvotes https://t.co/xJfdq4tImy pic.twitter.com/lk2ynWLyye

— The Australian (@australian) May 1, 2022

After launching Labor’s campaign in Western Australia on Sunday, Anthony Albanese has headed back east, to Brisbane. Scott Morrison spent last night at home and will begin his campaign day in Sydney.

This is quite the non sequitur pic.twitter.com/BtWG6EL6Dn

— Stephanie Dalzell (@steph_dalzell) May 1, 2022

While the main campaigns are under way, inner-city Liberals, including Josh Frydenberg, are fighting off strong independent challengers to keep what are usually safe Liberal seats. Frydenberg, who has been accusing his challenger, Monique Ryan, of being nothing more than a slogan and a billboard, has erected a billboard with a new “keep Josh” slogan and appeared on the front page of the Herald Sun with his family and dog, pleading for his job.

If any of those seats fall, Morrison will need to offset those losses and he’s looking at western Sydney and outer suburban seats for possible gains.

And both sides are waiting on the RBA to meet to decide what it is doing with the cash rate target tomorrow, with cost of living dominating the campaign whether the government wants it to or not.

We’ll bring you all the days events as they happen. Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Paul Karp, Daniel Hurst and Josh Butler will explain the day, as well as ferret out what’s happening behind the campaigns, with the entire Guardian brains trust at your disposal. You have me, Amy Remeikis, with you for most the day. It seems we’ve the entered espresso-martini-for-breakfast side of the campaign, but alas there are rules about that. So four coffees it is. Grab yours and let’s get into it.

Updated

Contributors

Caitlin Cassidy (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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