There might not have been a clear winner of the second leaders’ debate in the federal election campaign but there were certainly triumphs and tough moments for the prime minister and the opposition leader as they went head-to-head.
Here are some of the key issues debated by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese in The Great Debate in a 60 Minutes special on Sunday night.
Unsurprisingly, the first question for the pair was about how each leader would ease the rising cost of living impacting people across the country.
The PM cited “international factors” such as the war in Europe and the COVID-19 pandemic having a big impact on the price of groceries, fuel and other essentials.
“We cannot control all the forces that are coming from overseas, but what we can do, by managing money well, that puts downward pressure on inflation,” Morrison said.
He also said the Coalition will not extend the fuel excise beyond six months.
Albanese said the fuel excise was a “temporary measure” and essentially confirmed Labor would not extend it if elected.
“We have said we will maintain the same position on that,” he said.
The opposition leader said his party will focus on job security.
When asked whether this week’s interest rate rise was his job – the PM referred again to overseas pressures.
Albanese was then questioned on why Labor is attacking the government over its spending but matching it in many policy areas.
He pointed to investments in areas such as childcare and other female-dominated industries, which Labor says will ease the pressure on inflation.
Relatedly, the leaders were asked about the price of electricity and were soon shouting over each other.
The Labor leader accused the PM of not having a plan for Snowy Hydro 2.0 to be connected to the grid on the day it opens, which the PM denied.
“It won’t, you don’t have a plan that it goes into the grid on day one and that is the problem,” Albanese said.
“The low-hanging fruit, you have not addressed. The low-hanging fruit when it comes to fixing energy in this country is is fixing transmission.”
The pair then shouted over each other for about 30 seconds before Abo interrupted telling them: “We have given you both latitude. Plenty of time to discuss this topic.”
Nine’s political editor, Chris Uhlmann, asked the PM about his leadership, saying he should be uniting his party.
“The hard truth is, a lot of people don’t like you,” he said, adding people on Morrison’s own side of politics had called him a hypocrite, liar, and horrible person.
“When I became prime minister, our party needed to be united and that is what I have done,” Morrison responded.
“We have not seen the revolving door under my leadership.”
“How do you define a woman?” Deb Knight asked the leaders.
Morrison said: “A member of the female sex.”
Albanese’s definition was “an adult female”, which he said he did not think was “confusing”.
Knight then asked a question about women’s issues dominating the last parliamentary year, but not getting much of a mention during the election campaign.
“Prime Minister, do you have a problem appealing to women, do you think?” she asked.
Morrison responded by quoting statistics on the rate of domestic violence against women, citing funding from the government in this area and for diseases that predominately affect women.
The PM was asked whether the issue of the treatment of women in parliament was resolved.
“No I don’t believe it has been resolved,” he said.
Albanese was asked why he wouldn’t investigate allegations of bullying of the late senator Kimberley Kitching.
He described her death as a “tragedy” and referenced the Kate Jenkins Respect@Work report, saying Labor would implement recommendations to improve the safety of women at work.
The chief political correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, David Crowe, asked the leaders what they are doing to help young Australians facing “rising rents, out of reach house prices, student debts”.
One leader talked about housing while the other focused on jobs.
“Young people are doing it really tough, no doubt about that,” Albanese said.
He said Labor has a “comprehensive plan” including increased investment in social housing through 20,000 additional dwellings.
“We have a plan for 10,000 affordable housing units for essential workers,” he said, before Crowe pointed out that policy is for all Australians, not just young ones.
Morrison said: “the biggest thing I think we can do for young Australians is to make sure they get jobs”.
“That is why we have 800,000 training places as part of our budget, just this year, and that is ensuring those training places to the tune of $3.7 billion that comes on top of the support we have been getting apprentices into trade training,” he said.
“We have more apprentices in trade training today, 220,000 of them, than we have since records began in 1963.
Morrison said his mission was to “get young Australians into work”.
“I know from being a social services minister that if you don’t get a young person into a job by their early 20s, the chance of them spending a lifetime on welfare goes through the roof,” he said.
After a see-sawing vote count, the final figures had the leaders sitting neck and neck on 50 per cent when Nine viewers were asked who won the debate.