Albanese’s bold move on pay rises leaves Morrison tiptoeing along an extremely tricky line
Even a stopped clock tells the time twice a day, and it’s probably due to similar random inevitability that the ambient theme of today’s campaign was salaries and the rising cost of corps cohesion. and soul – something real people actually care about. Huzah!
Albanese’s decision yesterday to put a number on where he’d like to see wages go has ignited a conflagration (or should it be an inflagration?) in a debate that so far has consisted of great part in empathetic generalities.
It is also – like many of the key issues of Election ’22 – one on which the Prime Minister must tiptoe along an extremely delicate line.
Morrison does not want a simple dispute in which he is against salary increases and Albanese is for them.
His first general outing on Monday was that Albanese wasn’t able to raise people’s salaries: “There’s no magic pen from Anthony Albanese that raises your salaries.”
The existence of this enchanted feather had – this morning – moved smoothly without possible dispute. At a press conference in Hunter’s fringe headquarters in Newcastle, the Prime Minister warned that the pen – when deployed in Albanese’s inexpert glove – would knock over “dominoes…which lead to higher interest rates and a higher cost of living.
It is certainly not customary for a government to explicitly quantify what an appropriate increase in the minimum wage is. Did Albanese want to do it? Or did he lock himself into a logical corner at yesterday’s press conference and find himself momentarily unable to summon the yards of flannel that politicians usually wrap their responses to the question of pay rises minimum?
Here’s Jake Evans with some more details. And Nassim Khadem asks: can politicians get you a pay rise?
The government’s thesis is that a disproportionate approach to wage growth under a Labor government would be inflationary. But throwing $20 billion at high-income earners through Stage 3 tax cuts due next year…right?
Peter Martin of The Conversation points out that ‘We want to help older workers and child care, they want to help the rich’ would be a pretty strong line for Labor if they hadn’t… …already pledged support for cuts in taxes. Embarrassing!
The advantage of the bumper sticker
Everywhere we look, the answer about the 2022 political differences between the two major parties is…it’s complicated.
In 2013, when this government was first elected, the three-word slogan was deadly. Ax The Tax. Stop the boats.
In 2019, Scott Morrison’s campaign message of opposing Shorten was one-sided, in effect, amounting to, “It all seems a bit too much, doesn’t it?”
This time the government does not have the advantage of a bumper. On wages, it’s “I too want your wages to go up but my path is through a complex mechanism that Sausage-Fingers over there shouldn’t be trusted.”
On the economy, it’s “You can’t trust Labor because they’re going to send the budget into deficit, ah, even worse than us.”
And on climate, the complex issue that has yielded so easily to the bumper sticker over the years, what does the Coalition say? “Yes, we have a net zero target too, but ours is about technology and hydrogen and the problem with the labor safeguard mechanism for carbon pricing is, yes, sure, it’s the same as the ours, but they’ll modify it differently and it’ll be HORRIBLE.”
Add the joker of “Well, would YOU want your daughter to play hockey against someone who played against men? WOULD YOU?” and you start to realize how everywhere this campaign is.
For more than a decade now, Labor has howled until it was hoarsed by its opponents’ weaponization of oversimplified slogans that appealed to a feeling already abroad on a nation’s breeze .
For once, perhaps, the opposition is printing the stickers this time around. “I got a little past ScoMo – How about you?” “Yeah, I think you deserve more too.”
It’s more a question of atmosphere than of detail. For example, as Matt Doran reports, the Labor Party’s proposed late-opening health centers to relieve hospital emergency departments are going to be… where? No one can quite provide a list of locations.
In a complex world, the provider of simple messages has a decent chance of thriving and a 100% chance of driving his opponents into apoplexy.
Witness the man-tanties sparked by the modest successes of “teal” independents running on a platform of respect for women, climate action and integrity in government.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, speaking to the National Press Club today, explained that his personal problem with independents was that they tended to pursue ‘what suits them at the expense of those who bind and s ‘stick to their party for the greater good’. , it’s a word – selfish. With perhaps a sense of entitlement residing underneath. “
And look, if you had to pick one person you’d pay the most to watch Joyce’s heartfelt anthem to teamwork…who would it be? John Howard, against whose government Joyce crossed the floor 28 times, a record? The first Mrs. Joyce, perhaps? Malcolm Turnbull? Michael McCormack?
The National Press Club chef is famous for his amusing contextual references, but self-awareness doesn’t seem to have been on the menu today.
Lucy Barbour and Kath Sullivan dig into the tricky leadership challenge Joyce faces in this election
Overall, the day was heated. Perfect conditions for a mature, late-night exchange of views during the third and final debate of the campaign, which will be broadcast on Seven Network. Stick with the ABC election blog, and we’ll bring you all the highlights.
Have a good day
Operate warships! The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a new $1 billion maintenance center for warships at Garden Island in Sydney will be put out to tender tomorrow, as part of the Morrison government’s plan to improve strategic bases Across the country.
Reid’s Liberal MP Dr Fiona Martin went up against her Labor challenger Sally Sitou on Sydney Radio this morning. Things got heated when the residency issue arose; Martin grew up in Reid, but currently rents in neighboring Bennelong. Martin accused Sitou of moving into Reid opportunistically and because “Kristina Keneally kicked you out of Fowler”.
Sitou never made it to the pre-screening at Fowler, where Vietnamese-born candidate Tu Le was controversial last year to make way for Senate refugee Kristina Keneally. “Either my opponent is confusing me with another Asian-Australian or she is deliberately misleading people. Either way, she should apologize,” Ms Sitou said after the set-to. Martin denied confusing the two.
What to watch out for tomorrow
Tonight’s debate meant both campaigns returned to Sydney, which has caught the attention of leaders more than had been thought before the campaign.
Scott Morrison will travel to Queensland to kick off his campaign on Sunday, but where he and Anthony Albanese head in the coming days will tell us exactly where they think this election will be won.
Catch up on today’s stories
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