News Politics Australian Politics Federal Election 2022 The Undecideds: Anthony Albanese wins favour with our voters’ panel after final leaders’ debate
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The Undecideds: Anthony Albanese wins favour with our voters’ panel after final leaders’ debate

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The 2022 federal election is right around the corner and for our undecided voters’ panel it is starting to become clear who has their support.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese is gaining favour with our voters, not solely because of his performance during the final leaders’ debate on Wednesday night, but because of what they see as Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s lack of character and promise.

TND has spoken to the same six Australian voters for the past five weeks as they prepare to head to the ballots on Saturday, May 21. 

Here is what they said this week. 

the undecideds

Ming Johanson

40, small business owner

Electorate: Swan (WA)

Voting history: Swing voter

Voting issues: Small businesses, cost of living, aged care

TND: What did you think about the final debate? And did it affect your vote? 

“Scott Morrison said something along the lines of, ‘We don’t tell small business owners what to do.’ And I thought, ‘Au contraire, sir. I have half a dozen examples, let me tell you the ways.’

“The main thing being superannuation increases over the next five years to 12 per cent without any discussion. So, yeah, sure, you don’t tell us what to do.

“What I was really frustrated about – I agree with Albanese that minimum wage needs to increase. We pay above the award and at the moment, we are currently looking at trying to figure out pay increases because the cost of living, especially in Western Australia, has increased extraordinarily.

“There was also this thing that came out about the Coalition: ‘The Coalition will spend $5 million if re-elected to develop a new technology-skills passport that provides a digital record of workers’ skills and qualifications’. I don’t know if you have used LinkedIn very much, but…

“I found everybody’s pay rises, it’s in that stupid thing. What a ridiculous notion.

“So, I am still [leaning] Labor. I think Albanese, because of his background, because he grew up with a single parent, because he lived in a housing commission, because he’s a massive supporter of Medicare, I think he has a much better tone and understanding of the average Australian than Scott Morrison.”

Marcus Horne

78, retired

Electorate: Hunter (NSW)

Voting history: Liberal

Voting issues: Aged care, climate, employment, budget

TND: What did you think about the final debate? And did it affect your vote? 

“I think I agree with the [Seven’s] Pub Test that put Albanese slightly ahead. But that again depends on where you take your poll.

“I thought he did well, he was measured and he made some good points. And I thought Scott Morrison missed the opportunity to land a couple of heavy body blows about different things.

“In my book, speaking personally, Albanese is becoming far more plausible than his opponent. He’s coming across as a little more attractive, perhaps even than his opponent.

“I think by this time next week I’ll be saying, ‘Well, I know where I’m going to cast my vote.’ It’s working out that way.

“The Liberal government, I think, is fighting a very rearguard action. I think they see things slipping away and it will come down to a seat-by-seat contest, I’m sure.

“It’s gone back now, hasn’t it, to what’s in it for me? I think everyone is looking at it from the basis of, say, a pensioner. What’s in it for me? Bugger all, really. Younger people, is there anything about climate change? This is a big issue now for the younger generation.

“So I think it’s coming back down to the individual seat and what’s in it for me. So therefore the leafy green suburbs of Kooyong and Sydney and what have you are probably going to stay with the status quo. But I think the rest of us are sort of saying, ‘Well, is it time for a bit of hard medicine?’”

the undecideds

Matthew Gibson

39, plant inspector (oil and gas industry)

Electorate: Currumbin (QLD)

Voting issues: Integrity, younger generations

TND: What did you think about the final debate? And did it affect your vote? 

“I’ve been busy with work so I haven’t been following the election too much this week.

“But there’s probably even less of a chance I’m voting for the Liberals. And that’s just due to the questions around Scott Morrison’s integrity, particularly his position with the Australian tourism board many years ago.

“I did read again about his refusal to explain why he was sacked [from the position of managing director of Tourism Australia in 2006].

“I definitely don’t want to vote for the Liberals, but I’m not even sure I’ll vote Labor because the arguments haven’t been so convincing. But Albanese did save himself a bit there by going on Q+A – he actually did well there.”

Cathy Trussell

80, retired

Electorate: Light (SA)

Voting history: Liberal

Voting issues: Environment

TND: What did you think about the final debate? And did it affect your vote? 

“I am going with Albanese.

“I have little more faith in him than I do in Morrison as a person. I am not smart enough to understand politics, so I have no idea what each of them is promising.

“The games that the Morrison government have been playing have been appalling and have done nothing to make me believe that Australia will benefit from their government.

“I look forward to seeing the Labor government bringing back some respect and dignity to Parliament House.”

the undecideds

Daryl Hodson

55, farm maintenance supervisor

Electorate: Bendigo (VIC)

Voting history: Swing voter

Voting issues: Cost of living, younger generations, social and economic infrastructure particularly in regional areas, climate

TND: What did you think about the final debate? And did it affect your vote? 

“The thing that struck me is that although Anthony Albanese is focused on the cost of living and wages, Scott Morrison seems to be the exact opposite. He doesn’t even say, ‘Oh, yes, people will need to have wage rises to keep up’. He doesn’t even say it. And I’m not sure where people are going to get their money from. I don’t know how it’s all going to work because things are just going up astronomically. 

“Last night, it just struck me how Scott Morrison did not show any interest in those people that might be struggling, trying to keep up with the increased costs. 

“He just doesn’t get the average person, I don’t think he understands how most people live and how the average person gets on. 

“When I heard about that $500,000 payment [Alan Tudge’s former staffer and lover Rachelle Miller receive a taxpayer-funded compensation payment of at least $500,000] – Scott Morrison can’t comment because he doesn’t know anything about it. Well, hang on a minute. What’s going on here? Mr Tudge is going to come back into the ministry if they win government. And [Ms Miller] is getting $500,000. What’s going on? It’s just terrible. 

“Look, if anything, from a major party point of view, I’ll probably be looking towards Labor. As we get closer to the election, I’m probably moving more towards that direction. 

“I just can’t reconcile – like, Scott Morrison during the debate, he can’t even say, ‘Yes, people need a wage rise. Yes, I will grant that.’

“He can’t even say it.”

David Watkins

75, teacher

Electorate: Fisher (QLD)

Voting history: Swing voter

Voting issues: A competent leader, COVID-19 management, defence, public housing, education

TND: What did you think about the final debate? And did it affect your vote? 

“I think I agree with the [Seven’s Pub Test] consensus that Albanese did better. One thing struck me, and I’ve probably told you before that Gough Whitlam is my favourite of all prime ministers, and Morrison compared Albanese to him.

“Morrison said Albanese is the most dangerous politician since Gough Whitlam and to be compared to Gough Whitlam in any context is pretty good, isn’t it? The logic is that if he is the second-most dangerous [after] Gough Whitlam then maybe he’s the second best.

“The debate – nobody came out with anything that was startling, but for the first time, I think Albanese said things that made him look like a leader and the potential to be the next PM. And I thought that was great.

“The reality is if Anthony Albanese is going to be anything like Gough Whitlam then I’m most definitely voting for him.

“But as I said last week, to me the Senate is where the major fight is in my electorate. If we can get someone who can actually try to keep both sides of politics honest – I know that Albanese is saying they will have the committees to look at integrity … Integrity has different meanings to politicians than to anybody else, so I don’t think for one second that if Liberal or Labor get in, integrity is going to be something that’s going to be a shining light for either side. So, the independents may be the way to go there.

“But at the moment, I am definitely voting Labor in the House and as far as the Senate goes, I’m still not decided.”