Scott Morrison accepts another leaders’ debate as Labor watches Albanese’s health

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has agreed to a second election debate with Anthony Albanese in a move that challenges the Labor leader to commit to the free-to-air forum to be broadcast in prime time on Sunday, May 8.
The May 8 proposal was put forward by the Nine Network with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, and would air during the usual 60 Minutes timeslot on Sunday night to ensure a large audience.
Morrison accepted the proposal on Wednesday but Albanese is yet to decide if he will back the event when at least three other debates are being suggested across the major television networks.
With Albanese in isolation with COVID-19 and Labor officials worried about his health, a decision on the contests could take days when time is running out to hold the events as well as the official campaign launches for each side.
Labor responded on Thursday morning with a proposal for a debate at the National Press Club in the final week of the campaign on the grounds that the club had hosted a leaders’ debate in every federal election campaign since 2007.
Labor national secretary Paul Erickson wrote to Liberal Party federal director Andrew Hirst on Thursday morning saying the NPC debate would be a “terrific opportunity” to ensure Australians made an informed choice at the election.
“A National Press Club debate during the election campaign was good enough for John Howard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull – and it was good enough for Mr Morrison in 2019,” Erickson wrote.
The timing is certain to be an issue, however, because the final week of the campaign has traditionally been used for the two major party leaders to deliver separate speeches at the club, sometimes on consecutive days. Morrison made an address to the club in the final week of the 2019 campaign but the Labor leader at the time, Bill Shorten, did not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *