Australian federal election 2022 live: Coalition narrows Labor’s lead in polls; Albanese to speak at press club | Australian election 2022

National party deputy leader David Littleproud was feeling upbeat this morning while speaking to ABC Breakfast TV:

We have achieved a lot together; we have done more than any other nation in the world if you look at the economic and health front. We should be proud, but we need to shift gears and make sure we look after those cost of living inflation pressures and who is best to handle that and drive the economy and guide the economy. We got to be open and honest, and transparent. I think that’s where the Australian people look at it when the opposition doesn’t tell them how much money they will spend; they’re taking them as mugs.

Here is Paul Karp on the ‘world leading’ pandemic response (the government’s claims are a little outdated)

Peter Hannam

Household “costings” may be front and center again today when we find out how far behind headline inflation (and the underlying bit) average wages have been falling.

At 11.30 am AEST, the ABS will release the wage price index figures for the March quarter, some three weeks after we learned consumer prices rose 5.1% from a year earlier (3.7% after stripping out “rogue” movements).

Economists expect the WPI to come in at about 2.5% (0.7%-0.8% from the December quarter).

Westpac says wages “are now back to a pre-Covid pace where wages were underperforming economic activity. If there was ever a time for wages to regain some of the relationships with broader labor market indicators, 2022 must be the year.”

(We looked at why the falling jobless rate has not had the same relationship with rising wages as in the past, a couple of months ago.)

Apart from informing the political debate about whether workers deserve wages that keep up with inflation (with productivity gains as a bonus), the WPI “print” will also carry weight at the June Reserve Bank board meeting.

Australian federal election

As ANZ puts it:

We think an upward surprise of 1% q/q growth in [today’s] WPI could be enough to get the RBA over the line for 40 basis points, though if it comes in at our forecast of 0.8% q/q, that prospect will recede.

A 40bp increase in the cash rate to 0.75% is more than investors are currently betting on. (But it is a nice round number).

Ahead of today’s March Qtr Wage Price Index data release at 11.30 am AEST, here’s what investors are tipping for the cash rate. Anything above 2.5% yoy, or 0.8% mom, will probably nudge rate rise expectations higher. #auspol #ausvotes

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) May 17, 2022

On the subject of wages, the Fair Work Commission will reveal the panel’s makeup later this morning to decide on how much minimum wages should rise this year. Labor might secretly hope failed Liberal MP and former frontbencher – and recent FWC appointee – Sophie Mirabella gets a gig.

As the Australia Institute noted this week, the Morrison government has ramped up the choice of political appointees to senior government posts, with Mirabella just one of quite a few:

Updated at 18.16 EDT

New budget airline Bonza delays launch date

Elias Visontay

A new ultra-low-cost airline that hopes to begin flying in Australia this year has had to postpone its launch date due to aircraft delivery delays.

Bonza, which announced its plan to enter the Australian domestic aviation market in October, issued an open letter on Tuesday warning holidaymakers that they should not expect the airline to be operational for August getaways.

Bonza’s chief commercial officer, Carly Povey, said the airline is “getting closer to take-off” and announcing a start date but noted the ongoing regulatory approvals and aircraft delivery issues.

This locked-in is key to going on sale with our first wave of flights. One key input is that we now confirm when our first aircraft will touch down on Aussie shores.

This is slightly later than first expected but gives us the clarity to map out the in-country process that starts once they touch down. In short, we’re making good progress, and in the coming weeks, I will provide further updates.

It would help if you didn’t wait for us to lock in your essential July and August travel plans. While we can’t wait to save you the long car ride or the need to holiday at home, we’d rather be upfront. If we have more positive news to share sooner, we will.

Bonza aims to start new routes that serve two destinations not currently serviced by an airline. Instead of running multiple daily services in the way more established airlines do, it will only run a handful of flights each week on its routes to maximize patronage.

It has so far announced 17 destinations and will have bases in Melbourne and the Sunshine Coast. Tickets will only be sold via its smartphone app, and the airline predicts airfares will cost customers around $50 for every hour they’re in the air.

Updated at 18.08 EDT

Josh Butler

Anthony Albanese says he would seek to have himself and foreign minister Penny Wong sworn in almost immediately if Labor won the election. He hinted he would leave his beloved Marrickville to live either in the Lodge or Kirribilli House as prime minister.

Albanese has given a few illuminating interviews recently, published this morning. In the Australian, he reiterated his previous intention to attend a meeting of the Quad with US, Japan, and India leaders– scheduled for Tuesday.

That would mean Albanese would need to hop on a plane on Monday, and he said that Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet officials said he could be sworn in as PM – and Wong as foreign minister – quickly enough to get them there on time. Albanese said he was “not pre-empting the outcome” but that “we have indicated that if we are successful, the intention would be to go”.

The Australian reported that if the election result were not finalized by Monday, Albanese would seek advice about sending a Labor representative with Scott Morrison, who would likely remain as PM until then.

In a separate podcast interview with, Albanese was asked where he would live if he won – at the PM’s Sydney residence of Kirribilli House, the Canberra residence of the Lodge, or his current private home in Marrickville. All he would confirm was that his dog, Toto, would join him.

My neighbors might not like me staying in Marrickville due to the significant security that has had to occur … but I’m not getting ahead of myself.

Wherever I go, Toto will be going with me … I have not reached any conclusions on any matters that would pre-empt the result of the Australian people.

Albanese will address the National Press Club in Canberra this afternoon before he is expected to travel to Sydney to continue election campaigning in the city’s western suburbs later today.

Updated at 18.06 EDT

Asked about yesterday’s press conference, where journalists chased Anthony Albanese after he wrapped it up (Scott Morrison was also followed by an SBS reporter who was questioning him on why the Coalition had not put forward anyone for a NITV panel on First Nations issues, despite campaigning in the NT on the day it was held, but that isn’t getting the same attention) Jim Chalmers says this is what the government want people to think about:

Again, the government wants people focused on this minutia of the press conferences. But the point I’m making is that many more important things are at stake in this election.

We will get a number out today on wages which will probably show that Australians are copying the biggest real wage cut they’ve copped in over 20 years.

We’ve got a full-blown cost of living crisis.

We’ve got a trillion dollars in debt. And so the Australian people aren’t focused on press conferences or the timing of costings released – they’re focused on whether or not they can feed their kids under Scott Morrison, whether they can earn enough to keep up, let alone get ahead.

That’s what they’re focused on.

If you want to talk about that press conference yesterday, Anthony took 18 or 20 questions somewhere between there.

He took questions on costings, did a speech earlier, and took questions afterward. I did a press conference which went for, I think, about 20 minutes. I took every question.

Penny Wong did a press conference. The government wants people focused on this, but Australians are focused on the cost of living crisis, real wages going backward, and whether or not the government has enough to show for their trillion in debt.

Scott Morrison was interviewed on A Current Affair last night, where Tracy Grimshaw gave him another hard interview.

Jim Chalmers is asked about one of the answers (that the “I don’t hold a hose” comment as one of his excuses for leaving the country during the bushfire crisis was probably unhelpful) and whether or not that shows the PM has changed (as he says he knows he has to).

“Maybe you slightly over-egged the part about ‘I saved the country’?”

Tonight on A Current Affair, Tracy Grimshaw goes head-to-head with Scott Morrison.

Hear the prime minister’s response TONIGHT at 7 pm.#AusVotes #9ACA

— A Current Affair (@ACurrentAffair9) May 17, 2022


People see that for what it is: complete rubbish, last-minute, desperate spin, and marketing from the prime minister. Tracy Grimshaw slaughtered the prime minister last night, pointing out that he’s been there to take credit when things go well but never to take responsibility when things are difficult.

I thought Tracy Grimshaw channeled the frustration of a nation last night with a guy that’s got all these excuses and is always buck-passing and finger-pointing, never doing his job or taking responsibility. He’s a reason cause for everything but a plan for nothing. And I think people will see through this last-minute spin from the prime mini,

Updated at 17.53 EDT

‘Anything’s possible on Saturday,’ says Jim Chalmers

Jim Chalmers is on ABC radio RN this morning and is being asked about the tightening polls. (He sounds pretty tired, but not as exhausted as Josh Frydenberg seemed yesterday.)

I think anything’s possible on Saturday, for sure. We always believed this election would be incredibly tight and close. My message to our listeners is don’t risk another three years of Scott Morrison and all the blame-shifting, buck-passing, waste, and rorts and Australians going backward during this cost of living crisis. It is an important choice between a better future under Anthony Albanese and Labor or three more years of the same under Scott Morrison. Australians will take that choice seriously, but the election will be closed.

I think we learned from the last campaign that the polls don’t necessarily predict the outcome, and I’m not going to get into the details of them.

But what is thoroughly unsurprising is that the election will be tight. And we’ve said that all along. We’ve expected that all along. That’s why we take no votes for granted, no outcome for granted, and we’re working our butts off when polls close on Saturday.

Updated at 17.54 EDT

We get wage data today (for the March quarter).

Updated at 17.42 EDT

Postal vote applications close today

It’s the last day to apply for a postal vote, as the AEC reports (particularly important if you have tested positive for Covid in a previous couple of days).

The AEC is reminding any voter who tested positive for Covid-19 since Saturday, 14 May, that today is their last day to apply for a postal vote if they haven’t already voted.

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said that for some Covid-19 positive voters, postal voting is the only option available to them.

Postal vote applications close at 6 pm today – it’s the last chance for people who need to cast a postal vote.

Applying for a postal vote is easy; go to now.

Like any aspect of society recently, if you have Covid-19, you must plan more carefully. An election is no different. If you tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday – and you haven’t already voted – then I’d urge you to apply for a postal vote now. L

And for phone voting? The AEC says:

Any eligible voter who tests positive for Covid-19 after 6 pm on Tuesday, 17 May, can access a telephone voting solution if they haven’t already voted.

A telephone voting solution will be available, but that won’t apply for people who tested positive before 6 pm last night – it has limited eligibility criteria.

Once postal vote applications close this evening, we’ll have information on the website for people who need to and are eligible to register for telephone voting.

Updated at 17.45 EDT

Three days out from election day, and the polls are tightening.

The Coalition’s official campaign launch was included in this latest Essential poll, which Murph has written up. As she explains, Essential doesn’t do 2PP in the usual sense but does two-party preferred “plus,” so it captures undecided voters. As Murph says, at this point of the campaign, you want to capture the undecided voters – especially as they could turn the election to either side:

Labor has a two-point lead in the poll’s two-party preferred “plus” measure, with the opposition at 48% and the Coalition at 46%. Seven percent of respondents are undecided. A fortnight ago, Labor was ahead of the Coalition 49% to 45%, with 6% undecided.

The Coalition’s primary vote is 36%, one point ahead of Labor (35%), with the Greens at 9% (down one point in a fortnight). One Nation is at 4% (up one point), with independents at 6% (up one point) and the United Australia party at 3% (down one point). All these movements are inside the poll’s margin of error, plus or minus 3%.

Guardian Essential’s voting intention figures now express the head-to-head metric of the major party contest as two-party preferred “plus” rather than the standard two-party preferred measure. This change in methodology, adopted after the 2019 election, highlights the proportion of undecided voters in any survey, providing readers with more accuracy on the limits of any prediction.

There is a very good chance Scott Morrison will pull off his second “miracle” election win. Anthony Albanese went into the campaign knowing the pathway to victory would be difficult – Labor needed to hold everything and win at least seven more seats.

At the end of the day, though, I can speculate until the vodka is poured, but I don’t know anything. This is down to individual electorates, not a national mood, and the country isn’t exactly as one. It makes it hard to pick.

Albanese is making his final big speech for this campaign at the National Press Club today, where he will no doubt continue to be dogged by “wHeRE aRe YouR coSTiNgs” questions. From what Jim Chalmers said yesterday, the reports are correct, and Labor will have a slightly larger budget deficit than the Coalition has put forward. Chalmers has laid the groundwork for “quality spend, ” leading to increased productivity. Albanese has been pointing to the billions in wasteful spending the government has been responsible for over the past nine years.

This Coalition government (Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison) is the second-highest taxing government since the Howard government. The national debt is a trillion dollars and growing (higher interest rates impact government bonds too). The debt was doubled before the pandemic. But Morrison and Josh Frydenberg continue to assert Labor will tax and spend more and have turned the delivery of costings into a fight even though the Coalition in opposition hasn’t released costings before Thursday. Even though Labor released costings early in the 2019 campaign didn’t matter. Even though costings don’t count this time round, neither side commits to the usual budget rules (for every spend, there is an offset).

But here we are.

Katharine Murphy and Sarah Martin will explain everything to you, as usual, while Daniel Hurst will continue digging around the headlines for all those pesky facts. Josh Butler travels with Albanese’s campaign, while Paul Karp is with Morrison. You’ve got Amy Remeikis with you on the blog. It will be a five-coffee day. That’s just standard at the moment.

So grab your bevvie of choice (I don’t judge), and let’s get into it.

Bella E. McMahon
I am a freelance writer who started blogging in college. I am fascinated by human nature, politics, culture, technology, and pop culture. In addition to my writing, I enjoy exploring new places, trying out new things, and engaging in conversations with new people. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing music, making crafts, writing, traveling, and spending time with my family.