Scott Morrison has been challenged on Channel 7’s Sunrise about the fact unemployment is just 3.9%, but real wages are going backward. Morrison said:
I don’t think [unemployment is] just a number on a page; they are real jobs, 94,500 full-time jobs, people in real full-time jobs, that’s what occurred in the last month and around 400,000 more jobs than there were before the pandemic, 3.9% is the lowest since 1974, I was six years old.”
(About 88,000 jobs were lost in that same period, though)
Morrison blamed inflation for real pay cuts:
Wages have ticked up to 2.4% through the year, a slight increase; the real problem is inflation; the real challenge is inflation, and Australians understand what is causing this inflation is what is coming from outside of Australia, the war in Europe, disruption or supply chains, the shutdowns in China, these are things that will continue to press on Australia, and that’s why economic shield we put up and policies and strong financial management.”
Scott Morrison is now about to speak to the Seven Network. It’s about 5.30 am in WA, so he uses the time difference to be on as many east coast media slots as possible.
Scott Morrison has rejected a conspiracy theory propagated mainly by the United Australia Party (and a few Liberals) about Australia signing a World Health Organisation treaty allowing the Chinese government control over our health restrictions, including lockdowns. Morrison told 2GB Radio:
There has been this thing going on about some WHO treaty; I hear the United Australia party has been going on about it. It’s complete rubbish. There is no treaty that we’re signing up to. I would never do that. I’ve rejected United Nations treaties that have tried to interfere in Australia’s sovereignty on immigration. I certainly wouldn’t allow it regarding how public health is run in this country. But you know what happens before an election? People put all sorts of rubbish out there to try and confuse people. And to your listeners today, I want to be very clear, Australia would never sign up for such a treaty under my government, and they can be very confident that when they see those things, they can ignore them because they’re rubbish.”
Scott Morrison has suggested the government would act to close the cavity in the law preventing hundreds of thousands of Covid-positive people from voting – but it would depend on the Australian Electoral Commission to recommend how. Morrison told 2GB Radio:
If the commissioner wishes to make further recommendations, the government will support that. If the commissioner wishes to make recommendations, the government would certainly act. I’m sure the opposition would also, but the powers were provided. Of course, we want to see people have the opportunity to vote, and we’d encourage the commissioner to continue to administer the election independently and manage it the way the commission always has…
Asked if everyone needed to be able to vote because we don’t want people saying the election was rigged, Morrison replied:
Of course, and that’s why we have an independent election process here in Australia run by a very competent electoral commission, one of the best in the world. And that is certainly the objective that the commissioner has to fulfill.
But Morrison was cautious – he wouldn’t unambiguously say this needs to be fixed:
I don’t think politicians should decide these things – the electoral commissioner should fix it. What I’m saying is that the electoral commissioner is the one who has to make those recommendations to ensure this process is independent; he will be aware of all the issues that relate to this and what is in the best interests of running a fair election which maximizes the opportunity for everybody to vote.
Updated at 17.36 EDT
It’s the final full day of campaigning before the polls officially open; both; zoonosis the country amid blanket media appearances as they try one last roll of the dice to win undecided voters.
Scott Morrison will start the day in WA, where he is sandbagging the Liberal seats of Pearce, Swan, Hasluck, and Curtin, which have faced a strong independent challenge.
Anthony Albanese continues his marginal seat blitz with three states on the agenda this morning after yesterday’s whirlwind visit to Queensland. It’ll start in Victoria as he tries to find Labor’s pathway to a win and hold everything it already has.
Either way, there is no avoiding the campaigns today. With the advertising blackout, politicians will be everywhere, filling the gap their ads have left. Nowhere is safe.
You have Paul Karp following Morrison and Josh Butler with Albanese, while Katharine Murphy leads our coverage from Canberra. Sarah Martin continues this campaign’s comprehensive range of election spending. There’s a big whiff of pork in the air). At the same time, Daniel Hurst highlights what’s happening in foreign affairs and defense. And me? I’ll continue to be your typing monkey for most of the day. I can’t bear to look at another piece of chocolate if you want to know how things are going. The coffee IV seems to be working well.
OK, ready? Didn’t think so. But alas, we have no choice.