‘The sincerity of a fake tan’: Morrison and Albanese’s heated second debate

May 09, 2022
Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese's fiery second debate. Source: Getty

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s second election debate saw the pair clash in heated retorts as they shouted over each other, the panellists and debate moderator Sarah Abo.

As pre-polling opened for voters, the political leaders didn’t hold back when it came to contested topics like national security, anti-corruption commissions and climate change.

Hosted by Channel Nine, the debate included a panel of three journalists with the most heated exchange of the debate involving the pair responding to questions on Solomon Island’s deal with China and Australia’s national security.

Morrison was asked what his government would do in the scenario where the “red line” was crossed by China building a military base in the South Pacific.

The Liberal Party (LNP) leader said he thought Australians knew  “that type of outcome would be prevented”.

Albanese chimed in, slamming Morrison for the deal being a “massive foreign policy failure” with Morrison interrupting, asking his opponent “why did you cut defence spending?”.

“I will make this comment, Scott. When I was a minister, we put US Marines into Darwin. When you have been a minister we have had the port of Darwin sold to a company connected with the Chinese Communist Party,” Albanese countered.

The Labor (ALP) leader’s comment provoked the beginning of a lengthy yelling match, where both men continually interrupted each other, with Morrison saying the federal government had nothing to do with the lease of the port and Albanese maintaining the government allowed it to happen.

Neither moderator Sarah Abo nor journalist Chris Uhlmann was able to regain control to refocus the debate.

When the topic of an anti-corruption commission was brought up, Morrison denied having any knowledge of corruption within the LNP, particularly regarding findings of developer donations to the party.

“You are assuming I have some knowledge or awareness or involvement in those issues, which I clearly do not,” he said.

On the other hand, Albanese acknowledged corruption within the NSW ALP, but refocused on the “stench” in Canberra.

“I think overwhelmingly, people go into politics across the spectrum for all the right reasons. They go in to take their view about how they help their fellow Australians in the best way possible. But the truth is, there is a stench around Canberra at the moment,” Albanese said.

Contention rose again with Morrison interjecting: “Given he is so passionate about this, why haven’t you drafted your own legislation for such a commission? You have had three years. You have two pages”.

“You’ve been hiding in the bushes,” he said.

Albanese said the legislation will be released within the year.

The pair’s debate on climate action also descended into what could only be described as an intense argument, brought on by Labor’s energy plan.

Morrison accused Albanese’s plan of costing consumers more in the long run.

Albanese responded there “is not an energy economist in the country that agrees with you”.

Albanese took a swipe at Morrison’s inability to commit to an adequate emissions target, saying “Barnaby Joyce won’t let you make the target higher”.

Despite a higher target being achievable, Morrison maintained his belief the policy was wrong.

When it came to the issue of the cost of living, Albanese said the LNP was full of empty promises.

“The cost of living measures that [Morrison] spoke about are all temporary, they have all the sincerity of a fake tan, they disappear once people have cast their vote and people are then back on their own again,” he said.

Morrison said the government was unable to “control all the forces that are coming from overseas, but what we can do, by managing money well, that puts downward pressure on inflation”.

The debate ended without a clear winner, ending with a 50-50 tie after viewer poll’s changed from an original 52 per cent for Morrison, to 51 per cent for Albanese.


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