On Sunday – Day 32 – the Liberal Party officially launched its campaign in Melbourne.
The biggest news to come out of the launch, which occurred less than a week before voting day, was the announcement of a housing affordability measure.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government would offer loan guarantees for first-home buyers so they could buy their properties with deposits of just 5 per cent of the price.
.@ScottMorrisonMP: Our new first home loan deposit scheme will enable first home owners to buy their home with a deposit of down to 5%. This will make a big difference, cutting the time taken to save for a deposit by at least half and more
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) May 12, 2019
Yet within a few hours the Labor Party fired back, stealing the thunder, by saying it would match the promise.
“After six years of failure, and six days before an election, the Liberals are desperately trying to tell young Australians they understand their struggles to buy their first home,” Labor’s shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said.
He said first-home buyers knew the Liberals were out of touch and were only for the top end of town.
Scott Morrison announces a scheme that will allow some first home buyers to purchase a home with a deposit as low as 5 per cent. Balance of deposit would come from National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation #auspol #ausvotes
— Bevan Shields (@BevanShields) May 12, 2019
A YouGov/Galaxy poll in Brisbane’s Sunday Mail shows Queenslanders prefer Mr Morrison’s money-in-your pocket approach to tax over Mr Shorten’s better services.
And more than half of older Australians want greater action on climate change compared with a mere 28 per cent at the time of the 2016 election, a COTA Australia survey showed.
Where were they?
Mr Morrison was in Melbourne. By some accounts the launch was not a packed house.
— Peter van Onselen (@vanOnselenP) May 12, 2019
Labor leader Bill Shorten was also in Melbourne.
Mr Shorten participated in the Mother’s Day Classic and also addressed the party faithful in Moonee Ponds, talking about action on climate change, cheaper childcare, better schools, hospitals TAFE and universities, secure jobs and decent wages.
Promises … promises
Liberal: Mr Morrison used the launch to announce a $4 billion promise for the controversial East-West Link, saying it was essential to “get Melbourne moving again”.
Labor: Mr Shorten announced $10 billon – to be spent over 15 years – for the suburban rail loop in Melbourne. The money will only flow when construction commences in 2021.
BREAKING A massive underground suburban rail network will be built, linking every major rail line in Melbourne and the new airport rail. Here is a graphic of the proposed loop https://t.co/KyXxKyOhbU pic.twitter.com/0NYKkdG8Du
— The Age (@theage) August 27, 2018
Quotes from the road
“I cannot think of a more straightforward choice that highlights the difference than Labor offering Tanya Plibersek as deputy prime minister of Australia, or Michael McCormack.”
– Mr Shorten
“This will make a big difference.”
– Mr Morrison talks up his housing affordability scheme
“There is a mood for change.”
– Mr Shorten, on signs the Liberals may lose the safe seat of Higgins in Melbourne
“It’s only a quarter of a percentage point lower than what was in our budget.”
– Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on the Reserve Bank cutting its economic growth forecasts
Elsewhere on the election trail
Greens propose power bill drop: Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young says household power bills will drop by at least $200 under her party’s energy policy.
She said large energy companies were ripping off consumers.
Ms Hanson-Young proposed a $1.2 billion fund to allow home owners to install solar panels.
Another $2.2 billion fund would see battery storage systems subsidised, while small businesses would be able to access loans of up to $15,000 for storage systems.
Seat of Higgins under threat? As reported in The Sunday Age, the Liberal stronghold of Higgins, which includes some of Melbourne’s wealthiest suburbs, could be under threat.
Labor’s internal polling places the coalition at 51 to 49 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.
Victoria is a key battleground for Saturday’s election, with Labor eyeing gains that could help make Mr Shorten PM.
Where are you, Clive Palmer?
One Twitter user posted this on Sunday night – a photo allegedly of the United Australia Party chief enjoying dinner al fresco in Fiji.
— Watson (@warp975) May 12, 2019
Perhaps he is checking the latest polls?