What we know today, Wednesday April 20

South Australia has swung towards Labor four weeks from the federal election, with latest polling showing a lift in support for the Opposition despite its rocky campaign start.

Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

SA swing as voters lean towards Labor

South Australia has swung towards Labor four weeks from the federal election, with latest polling showing a lift in support for the Opposition despite its rocky campaign start.

The Roy Morgan poll released this morning interviewed 1382 voters nationally about federal voting intention and government confidence by telephone and online between April 11-17.

The poll found primary support for the Coalition nationally increased by 3% points to 35.5% and was now ahead of the ALP on 35%, down 1% point – the first time for over six months that the Coalition has been ahead of the ALP on primary voting support.

But in SA, the poll recorded support for the ALP rising to 58% – up 5% points from a week ago – while Coalition support fell by 5% points to 42%. Roy Morgan said this represented a SA swing of 7.3% points to the ALP since the 2019 federal election.

Read more about the poll result here.

Chapman quits politics within hours of leadership ballot

Former Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman says she has not spoken to new party leader David Speirs about her decision to quit parliament next month, forcing voters in her eastern suburbs Liberal stronghold of Bragg back to the polls for the third time in as many months.

The prospect of a by-election in Chapman’s seat loomed large after she repeatedly refused to rule out quitting parliament when asked by InDaily this month if she intended to serve out her full four-year term.

She confirmed her resignation late yesterday – just hours after the party-room elected Speirs to front its new leadership team, with Chapman’s moderate colleague John Gardner as his deputy.

Chapman told InDaily she “made the decision over Easter”, which she spent visiting family in Sydney.

“I don’t have anything further to add,” she said.

“Steven [Marshall] and I have had our time, I’ve made a decision, so that’s where we’re at… he’s made a public statement to stay on.”

She did not comment on the timing of her announcement which, coupled with her absence from yesterday’s ballot, underlined ongoing suggestions of a rift with Speirs – which he has continued to deny.

“I haven’t spoken to David [but] I obviously advised him as the new leader [of my decision],” she said.

Chapman is awaiting the outcome of an Ombudsman’s inquiry, which is expected to report within weeks, examining her decision to axe a proposed timber port on her native Kangaroo Island.

The decision has already sparked a conflict of interest probe that saw her lose a historic vote of no confidence in the House of Assembly late last year, prompting her exit as Deputy Premier.

The by-election is not expected until the end of May at the earliest – after next month’s federal poll, and just two months on from the Liberals’ state election defeat.

Asked whether her departure could offer a potential parachute for Marshall’s former chief of staff James Stevens, in the event he loses his federal seat of Sturt – which occupies the same footprint as Bragg – Chapman said: “That’s a matter entirely for the party.”

-Read the full story here

-Tom Richardson

Coalition takes lead over Labor in primary vote: poll

Anthony Albanese is still paying for a momentary mistake on day one of the election campaign, with a Roy Morgan poll showing the government stealing a lead on primary votes before Labor can even change course.

But on the main measure of support the ALP has maintained the bulk of its commanding two-party preferred lead, the poll, which covers the opening phase of the campaign between April 11 to April 17, finds.

The Coalition’s projected vote share after preferences is up two points after the first week but still remains on the wrong side of a commanding 55 to 45 per cent lead.

After this early campaign tightening, the two-party preferred gap between the two major parties is closer than it has been for six months.

On primary votes, a shift in voters’ support is more pronounced.

The Coalition’s primary is up by three percentage points to 35.5 per cent; Labor’s is down by one percentage point to 35 per cent.

That makes for a slight but sudden crossover many months since late last year’s strong poll lead was first established by Labor over the Coalition.

The Coalition’s rising primary share in this poll matches exactly a corresponding fall in Labor’s primary share the week before.

This is the first poll to have the Coalition in front on primary votes for essentially half a year.

Read the full story here in The New Daily

Leaders prepare for first head to head debate

Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese will face off for the first time this election when they meet for a leaders’ debate on Wednesday night.

The prime minister and opposition leader will go head-to-head in Brisbane where they will take questions from undecided voters.

It comes as both parties will use day 10 of the election campaign to focus on industrial relations.

The government has announced it would double the penalties courts can impose on construction unions, should it win office.

Penalties for serious offences such as unlawful industrial action, freedom of association or coercion will be increased to $88,000 for an individual and $444,000 for a union.

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash said the changes to the building and construction industry act would try to stamp out “bullying and intimidation” by the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union.

“Time and again we have seen shocking behaviour from CFMMEU officials,” she said.

“Mr Albanese will hand over this critical industry to the CFMMEU because he is too weak to stand up to them.”

Meanwhile, Labor has upped their attacks on the government on working conditions, arguing the coalition would bring back controversial workplace laws.

Opposition industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke said the government would scrap the better off overall test for workplace agreements.

“Mr Morrison is sharpening his knife to slash your pay and conditions,” Burke said.

“At a time when the price of everything has gone up and your pay has gone backwards, Mr Morrison now wants to cut your pay even further and make your job less secure.”

It comes as both parties have been accused of running negative scare tactics during the second week of the campaign.

Both leaders have ruled out doing deals with minor parties and independents to form government, should the May 21 election result in a hung parliament.

The prime minister said a vote for an independent at the ballot box would be “a vote for chaos”.

Stevens set for court appearance

Police commissioner Grant Stevens is due to appear in court today in the trial over South Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination mandates, after recovering from an illness.

Stevens, who has been battling an Influenza A infection, is listed to appear before the Supreme Court on Wednesday in AFLW player Deni Varnhagen’s ongoing legal challenge to the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health workers.

The police commissioner, who signed off on South Australia’s mandates in his role as state coordinator, has been absent from the trial for the last two weeks due to the flu.

Varnhagen has told the court she lost shifts as a nurse and has been working as a labourer after being stood down.

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Varnhagen’s legal team has sought to question senior bureaucrats involved with implementing the vaccine mandate as part of the Emergency Management Act.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier was forced to run a gauntlet of anti-vaccination protestors outside court two weeks ago after Varnhagen’s legal team subpoenaed her to appear before the trial.

Business SA appoints new CEO

New Business SA CEO Andrew Kay

Business SA has appointed a long-time wine industry executive to replace outgoing CEO Martin Haese later this year.

Andrew Kay, managing director and CEO of Wirra Wirra Vineyards in McLaren Vale, will take over as Business SA CEO in the last week of June.

A University of South Australia graduate, Kay has led Wirra Wirra Vineyards since 2007 and has been involved in the wine industry since the early 1990s.

Before making the move to McLaren Vale, he was a marketing manager with Orlando Wines (now known as Pernod Ricard Winemakers) and later a regional manager in the UK and Europe.

“The timing is right for me to embark on the next chapter of my career, using my experience developed over three decades working across a diverse group of businesses,” Kay said in a statement on Tuesday.

“It’s time to help others achieve their goals and dreams.

“My vision as the new Business SA Chief Executive Officer is to draw on the board, staff, members and government capability and capacity to deliver results. I want to be part of making South Australia the best place to do business.”

Haese, the former Adelaide lord mayor who has led Business SA since May 2019, announced in March he would be stepping aside from the role to head back into private enterprise.

UK PM apologies to parliament for lockdown breach

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has apologised to parliament after he was fined by police for breaking lockdown rules, saying he did not know a birthday gathering at the height of the pandemic was in breach of the rules he had set.

On the same day that opposition MPs secured a vote later this week into whether Johnson should be investigated over claims he misled parliament by repeatedly denying any breach, he said on Tuesday he now realised he was in the wrong.

Johnson said that at the time – June 2020 – it had not occurred to him he was in breach of the rules.

He said the public had the right to expect higher standards.

“As soon as I received the notice, I acknowledged the hurt and the anger, and I said that people had a right to expect better of their prime minister,” Johnson told parliament.

Opponents have called for Johnson to resign, accusing him of misleading parliament after he told MPs last year that all rules were followed in Downing Street – the prime minister’s official residence and workplace – during the pandemic.

Labour leader Keir Starmer urged MPs to remove the prime minister to “bring decency, honesty and integrity back into our politics and stop the denigration of everything this country stands for”.

Pressure to resign from Johnson’s own MPs has abated with the war in Ukraine in which he has sought to play a leading role in the international response.

While a handful have repeated calls for him to go, most say now is not the time.

IMF slashes world growth forecast due to Ukraine war

The International Monetary Fund has slashed its global economic growth forecasts in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting supply chain disruptions and spike in inflation.

The IMF now expects world growth to be 3.6 per cent in 2022, rather than the 4.4 per cent it predicted in January.

For 2023, growth is also forecast to be 3.6 per cent, down from a previous estimate of 3.8 per cent.

“This crisis unfolds while the global economy was on a mending path but had not yet fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the IMF said in its latest world economic outlook.

“Beyond the immediate humanitarian impacts, the war will severely set back the global recovery, slowing growth and increasing inflation even further.”

At the same time, frequent and wider-ranging lockdowns in the world’s second-largest economy, China, has slowed economic activity there and could cause new bottlenecks in global supply chains, it says.

“Inflation is expected to remain elevated for longer than in the previous forecast, driven by war-induced commodity price increases and broadening price pressures,” the Washington-based institution says.

For 2022, inflation is projected at 5.7 per cent in advanced economies and 8.7 per cent in emerging market and developing economies, compared with 3.9 per cent and 5.9 per cent respectively projected in January.

Prices of agricultural commodities are likely to rise further, particularly wheat where Russia and Ukraine account for close to 30 per cent of global wheat exports, and to a lesser extent, corn.

[solstice_jwplayer mediaid=”YjqnqrY3″ title=”Battle for Donbas begins” sponsoroption=”352624″ /]

However, disruptions to Russian and Ukraine exports may be windfalls for other commodity exporters, like Australia.

The IMF now expects Australian economic growth to be 4.2 per cent in 2022, up slightly from a previous forecast of 4.1 per cent, although for 2023 it expects growth of 2.5 per cent rather than 2.6 per cent.

But Australian inflation is expected to rise to 3.9 per cent in 2022, rather than the 2.1 per cent previously thought, well above the Reserve Bank of Australia’s two to three per cent inflation target.

-With AAP and Reuters

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