Voters pick Shorten as first debate winner

Undecided voters picked Bill Shorten as the winner of the first leaders’ debate, despite questions about the cost of his tax and climate policies.

Apr 30, 2019, updated Apr 30, 2019
Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten before last night's first public debate in Perth. Photo: AP/ The West Australian/Nic Ellis

Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten before last night's first public debate in Perth. Photo: AP/ The West Australian/Nic Ellis

Prime Minister Scott Morrison pressured the Labor leader on how much he will increase taxes, and what his climate policies will do to the economy.

But Shorten said the cost of inaction was greater, and he argued it was time to put middle Australia first instead of the nation’s wealthiest.

A record 110,000 people cast early votes on Monday before the debate, and Morrison used that to demand answers from Labor on the cost of tax and climate policies.

“Voting has started, people deserve to know what the cost of change is,” Morrison said on Monday night.

But Shorten said people were voting early because they wanted change, and that included action on the climate and healthcare.

“The cost of not changing is this: longer waiting lists,” Shorten said.

“I can categorically say that if we don’t take real action on climate change that will be a disaster for our economy.”

Of the 48 voters watching the debate in person, 25 said Shorten won, 12 picked Morrison, and 11 remained undecided.

Shorten is still in Perth on Tuesday to announce a $1 billion program to help up to 4000 schools put solar panels on their roofs

“Schools are an excellent location for solar investment and the creation of virtual power plants, because they often don’t use energy at times of peak demand,” he said.

“Annual savings from reduced electricity costs alone have been estimated to be up to $89,000 for a large school in NSW, or $15,000 for a small school.”

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will provide $1 billion in cheap loans to schools so they can install the solar panels.

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Morrison is also still in Perth on Tuesday and he will announce $20 million to put 2600 CCTV cameras at 500 crime hot spots around the country.

“Australians are entitled to feel safe in their own homes and within their local communities,” he said.

The coalition is aiming to hold Attorney-General Christian Porter’s seat of Pearce, on a margin of 3.8 per cent, and Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt’s seat of Hasluck, on a margin of 2.1 per cent.

But the Liberals are also targeting Labor MP Anne Aly’s seat of Cowan, which she holds by just 0.7 per cent.

Mining billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest will host a fundraiser for Morrison tonight, two days after he hosted a similar one for Shorten.


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