Election Recap: Albo Got COVID, ScoMo Got Leaked Texts, Adam Bandt Got A Kebab
And there was a lot of TERF bullsh*t.
We’re two weeks in to election season and blink twice if you need help because the chaos simply will not stop.
With that being said, we’re back again for Junkee’s weekly election recap — giving you the TL;DR on all of the really important (and really funny) takeaways from the last week in AusPol, in case you missed it.
Thanks to the long weekend, there’s an awful lot to unpack this week, so let’s dive straight in.
What Do The Polls Say?
Labor has managed to retain a 53-47 lead over the Coalition in the first Newspoll to be conducted since the election campaign began. However, the primary vote for both major parties has dipped after a week of campaigning, which means that minor parties and independents will be even more important in the deciding of the May 21 election.
Labor is down one point to 36 percent, while the Coalition is also down one point to 35 percent. Interestingly, this is the lowest combined support for the major parties ever recorded during an election campaign.
The AEC Wrote To Political Parties Over Postal Voting Forms
As we discussed last week, the Australian Electoral Commission has been warning people of the risks of registering for a postal vote via a political party. But over the weekend, the AEC confirmed it has written to parties and candidates warning them about it being “potentially misleading.”
Katherine Deves’ Transphobia Still Dominated Most Of The Headlines
Katherine Deves, who made headlines last week over transphobic remarks, has caused some internal turmoil in the Liberal Party, with some members calling for her to be disendorsed, while the PM says he won’t “silence women.”
Deves has confirmed she won’t be voluntarily stepping down over the controversy.
Interestingly, Anthony Albanese refused to confirm if he would — hypothetically — disendorse a Labor candidate who made transphobic comments.
“We support every human being and respect every human being, and as part of that in that interview, I said I respect every human being for who they are,” he said when asked over the weekend, not really answering the question at all.
This saga has basically dominated headlines all week, with Morrison quickly pulling the cancel culture argument.
“Women in sport is the issue that Katherine has been highlighting. She’s made a number of remarks in the past, and on a number of occasions, not in the majority, she’s stepped over the line, and she’s acknowledged that. To go forward as a member of Parliament, that is something you need to learn. That these issues are important, that you need to be able to deal with them with respect for others, to be compassionate in terms of the feelings of others,” said Morrison on Wednesday.
“But what I won’t allow, what I won’t allow, is for those who are seeking to cancel Katherine simply because she has a different view to them on the issue of women and girls in sport.
“I think Australians are getting pretty fed-up with having to walk on egg shells everyday because they may or may not say something one day that’s going to upset someone. Now you shouldn’t seek to upset anyone else, you shouldn’t seek to upset people, you should deal with things in a very sensitive way, but in this country, I think it’s time to allow – allow people where they have made mistakes in the past about how they have said things in the past, where they’re prepared to put those behind them, and focus sensitively on the issues they’re seeking to promote, then that’s how they do it. Others might want to cancel her, others might want to cancel other Australians for standing up for things that they believe in but I am not going to be in partnership with them.”
The Election Debate
The first election debate kicked off this week. Albo won, in what felt like a bit of a Steven Bradbury moment considering Scott Morrison quite literally told a mother of an autistic child he was “blessed” to have two neurotypical kids.
Albanese Confirmed He Will Introduce His Own Religious Freedoms Bill
If elected, Labor will introduce its own version of the controversial religious freedoms bill. However, Albanese has remained tight-lipped on exactly what that would look like.
The confirmation comes after much debate earlier this year that saw the bill — which, in its current form, does not protect trans children — shelved for the remainder of the parliamentary term.
Josh Frydenberg Got An Endorsement From Guide Dogs???
Perhaps the most unexpected villain of the election campaign thus far is guide dogs or, more specifically, the CEO of Guide Dogs Victoria, who gave an official endorsement to Josh Frydenberg in which she name-dropped the charity.
However, the charity quickly asked Frydenberg to stop circulating the flyers after it announced it had “no prior knowledge” of the ad.
— Daniel Scoullar (@_DanSc) April 19, 2022
According to The Guardian, Guide Dogs Victoria chair Iain Edwards said the organisation is “absolutely committed to its important work as a charitable apolitical organisation”. An investigation has been launched.
Barnaby Joyce Is Staying On As The Nationals Leader
Deputy PM and leader of the Nationals Party Barnaby Joyce has stated his intent to stay on as the leader of the party, even if the Coalition loses the next election.
“Definitely, absolutely, 100 per cent [I will be], this is incredibly important and I absolutely respect and thank the people of the New England for the great honour they give me in representing them,” he said, according to The Northern Daily Leader. “And also the latitude of understanding in the office of deputy prime minister, that I have a duty to my nation that probably goes beyond the expectations of other people on the backbench.”
However, it’s worth noting that he may not be reinstated for the role, it ultimately comes down to who the party chooses and, of course, if he gets reelected.
Angus Taylor Said Labor Will Make Electricity Prices Skyrocket But Wouldn’t Explain How
Energy Minister Angus Taylor told News Corp that Labor’s proposed electricity policy will make Australian energy prices skyrocket. However, he couldn’t explain who did the analysis that reached this conclusion or how they reached the exact figures.
Labor Will End The Cashless Welfare Card
Albanese first flagged this last year, but Labor has again stressed this week that it will end the controversial basics card that is being used in the Northern Territory by over 20,000 welfare recipients.
The card, which has repeatedly been criticised, holds up to 80 percent of a person’s welfare payment on a cashless card to be used for essentials — with no ability to get cash out, purchase alcohol or gamble with the funds.
Anthony Albanese Has COVID
Just one week into election campaign mode, Albanese revealed on Thursday night that he has tested positive for COVID and will be in isolation for the next 7 days, which will undoubtedly put a dampener on his campaigning.
Naturally, the media had a field day with the news and quickly labelled him “Albasneezy”.
Scott Morrison Is Back On His Swimming Bullshit
Throughout his time as PM, we’ve barely heard a peep about his apparent love of swimming, but just like last election campaign, he’s back on his bullshit of claiming he’s a big fan of swimming laps in the pool.
The last time the PM posted about how much he loved swimming was just before the last election campaign. It’s not just the same lines getting a run pic.twitter.com/98yArS36R9
— Amy Remeikis (@AmyRemeikis) April 20, 2022
Labor Confirmed Its (Bad) Stance On Refugees
Labor Senator Kristina Keneally confirmed the party supports Operation Sovereign Borders and will continue the “turn back the boats” policy that has been employed by the Coalition.
Let’s be clear: if you attempt to come to Australia by boat, you will not make it
Labor supports OSB– offshore processing, regional resettlement & boat turn-backs where safe to do so, but for years Labor has warned Mr Morrison has put border protection on ‘set and forget’ mode
— Australian Labor (@AustralianLabor) April 20, 2022
You can read more about refugee policy here but the TL;DR is that both Labor and Liberal Parties support pretty questionable refugee policies that are very likely in violation of international torture laws.
The Greens Are Campaigning About Weed Again
Greens leader Adam Bandt shared a picture eating a kebab at 4:20 on 4/20, which coincides with a new push from the Greens to legalise weed. In theory, this is great but with the two major parties still staunchly against it, the chance of recreational cannabis legalisation happening in the near future remains very slim.
How good are kebabs?
Also, happy 420. pic.twitter.com/dxCebt7Ium
— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) April 20, 2022
China And The Solomon Islands Are A Big Talking Point
This is a very complex issue and I implore you to read more extensively on the topic but basically, China and the Solomon Islands made a security agreement and Australia is not happy about it.
It remains unclear if the deal would allow China to build a military base in the Pacific, or if China is actually planning to do this, but that hasn’t stopped Peter Dutton from yelling about this fear. Dutton also weirdly claimed that the Solomon Islands is our “family”, which is honestly a bit rich considering we continue to not care about the devastating impacts of climate change that threaten to wipe out our neighbours in the Pacific in the terrifyingly near future.
“Australia is a respected partner with the Solomon Islands. We’ve provided support to them. We’ll continue to do that, because they’re family, but we operate by a different set of rules,” said Dutton.
But it appears the government already knew about the deal before it was leaked, which is putting pressure on Morrison and Marise Payne to reveal what they knew.
More Leaked Texts
Leaked texts allegedly between Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet appeared in The Australian this week, in which Perrottet put his support behind Morrison and Katherine Deves.
“Perrottet has texted Scott his views on this issue and it’s strongly in support of the PM’s position,” an anonymous source told The Australian.
Both Perrottet and Morrison’s offices denied doing the leaking, but it’s worth noting this isn’t the first time a text between the Prime Minister and a third-party has been mysteriously leaked to the press. At this point, Morrison should probably call a plumber.
The leak was particularly interesting given Treasurer Matt Kean is calling for Deves’ resignation. So, in addition to the usual election chaos, we’ve also got some turmoil inside the NSW Liberal Party.
Anyway, we’ve still got a whole month of campaigning before we actually cast our votes, so sit down, buckle up and enjoy the ride, friends!
Lavender Baj is Junkee’s senior reporter focusing on news and politics. Follow her on Twitter.