Ongoing coverage of the Australian election campaign for 2016.
Table of contents
(June 21, 2016) Day 45 – Harsh policy
Atrocity of detention regime
- Ben Doherty and David Marr reported, “In his 43-year career, Paul Stevenson has worked in the aftermath of the Bali bombings and the Boxing Day tsunami but says nothing he witnessed was as bad as the treatment of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus.”: The worst I’ve seen – trauma expert lifts lid on ‘atrocity’ of Australia’s detention regime.
Malcolm Turnbull’s admissions on QandA
- Gareth Hutchens reported, “The prime minister answers questions about conditions on Manus Island, GP co-payments, Medicare and the NBN in largely low-key Q&A appearance”: Q&A recap: vote me out next election if you don’t like tax cuts, Turnbull says.
- Matthew Knott reported, “Malcolm Turnbull has clashed with host Tony Jones during his first Q&A appearance since becoming prime minister, accusing Jones of acting as a “spokesman” for the Labor Party.”: Malcolm Turnbull accuses Tony Jones of being ‘a very good spokesman’ for Labor.
- Behrouz Boochani responds from Manus Island, “Conditions on Manus Island have become more militarised and difficult in the two months since the supreme court ruled the detention centre illegal. I now ask the Australian people to say no to cruelty – to choose love over inhumanity”: Malcolm Turnbull, why didn’t you answer my question on Q&A about Manus Island?
Asylum seekers – ACA on Nauru
- Caroline Marcus reported, “A Current Affair has gained unprecedented access to Australia’s detention centre on Nauru.”: An exclusive look inside Nauru.
- Caroline Marcus wrote, “The conspiracy theories began well before a single frame of the story went to air.”: Why are activists so afraid of the truth about Nauru?
- Karl Mathiesen wrote, “ACA’s choice to focus on the more superficial problems of life on the island made the refugees’ universal desire to leave appear similarly superficial.”: A Current Affair goes to Nauru: facile questions and lingering shots of flatscreen TVs.
- Michael Gordon wrote, “”They are certainly living better than the Nauruans, I would say,” David Adeang asserted on A Current Affair’s exclusive report on Nauru. But there are three problems with the Justice Minister’s assertions and each of them was given exposure on the program.”: Even on tabloid TV, the hopelessness of life on Nauru is painfully clear.
- Debbie Schipp wrote, “IT was billed as the footage that would stun Australia — certainly the fact that they got access to film it stunned A Current Affair — and reaction to ACA’s exclusive story in Nauru tonight ranged from stunned to cynical.”: Inside Nauru: ‘You make a nice prison, it’s still a prison’.
- Nicole Hasham reported, “Nauru has “much lower” rates of sexual assaults, murder and rape than Australia and many refugee assault claims are false or exaggerated, the island nation’s Justice Minister David Adeang has claimed in a tabloid television exclusive.”: A Current Affair’s rare look inside the Nauru detention centre.
What happened to the ABCC?
Alice Workman reported, “The Australian Building and Construction Commission, aka the reason we are holding this early double dissolution election, has pretty much disappeared from the election campaign.”: Here’s proof no one is talking about the reason for the entire election.
Indi votes update – Sophie complains
- Tom McIlroy reported, “Senior Liberals have left little to chance during Sophie Mirabella’s push to win back her seat of Indi, firing texts of support to the former frontbencher during a live appearance on radio. “: Sophie Mirabella receives texts of support from senior Liberals while on live radio.
- Melissa Davey reported, “Liberal candidate Sophie Mirabella has said the audience was stacked against her at an election forum held in the rural Victorian electorate of Indi.”: Sophie Mirabella complains of ‘stacked-out audience’ at Indi election forum.
Former Lib party member pleads guilty
- Guardian Australia reported, “Christopher Nelson, a former Liberal party member from the central coast of New South Wales, pleads guilty to using Facebook to send offensive messages”: Chiropractor admits posting abusive online messages to Nova Peris.
- Michael Koziol reported, “Bob Katter infamously quipped that he would walk backwards from Bourke if there were any gay people in his north Queensland electorate of Kennedy.”: Labor preferences Bob Katter and Family First above gay Coalition candidate.
Domestic violence pledge
- Yahoo7 reported, “Labor has queried Malcolm Turnbull’s claim that cabinet did not discuss the private sector being involved in Medicare’s payments system.”: Labor queries Medicare cabinet talks.
- Lenore Taylor wrote, “From the spectre of a Labor-Greens ‘alliance’ to privatising Medicare, the Coalition and Labor are appealing to fear in their final lunge towards polling day”: Scare campaigns: the major parties ramp up some frightening hyperbole.
Liberal Party tradie found
- Daniel Piotrowski and Rachel Eddie reported, “He was mocked on social media for his performance in a Liberal Party campaign commercial, with users picking over every detail – from his gold armband to his silver watch. But Daily Mail Australia can exclusively reveal the ‘Fake Tradie’ is the real deal – a ute-driving metalworker and former electrical supervisor who lives in a modest red-brick house on a main road in Sydney’s Lane Cove. Speaking outside his home on his way to work on Tuesday morning, Andrew MacRae, 50, insisted he was a tradesperson – even showing his NSW government contractor’s licence to prove the point.”: ‘All my mates are laughing at me’: We find the ‘Fake Tradie’ from the election ad – and he’s a REAL welder who drives a Commodore ute and lives in a modest house on a main road.
- Tom McIlroy reported, “Days after he went viral as the “fake tradie” in a Liberal Party election campaign advertisement, Sydney metalworker Andrew MacRae says he is the real deal.”: ‘Fake tradie’ Andrew MacRae says he’s the real deal.
Independents labelled ‘ghouls’
Bill in Melbourne
- Mark Kenny wrote, “Odds are you’re among the roughly 54 per cent of Australians who expect Malcolm Turnbull to be returned as prime minister on July 2.”: You’ve been told Labor can’t win – but they can. The evidence was there all along.
Mal in Northern Territory
- Helen Davidson reported, “Malcolm Turnbull acknowledges ‘hard-fought land rights battle’ as the title deeds to 55,000 hectares of land across from Darwin harbour are handed back to traditional owners”: ‘At last’: Kenbi land returned to Aboriginal owners after 37-year fight.
Australia’s NBN internet speeds fall
- ABC Fact Check reported, “”[The Coalition] have had almost three years on this… Over that time we have gone from 30th in the world for internet speeds to 60th in the world for internet speeds,” Opposition communications spokesman Jason Clare told ABC’s RN Breakfast on June 13, 2016.”: Fact check: Has Australia’s internet speed dropped from 30th to 60th in the world under the Coalition?
(June 20, 2016) Day 44 – Fake Tradie
Little truth in political advertising
The Liberal Party’s new attack ad released on Sunday, “Labor’s war on the economy” featuring a builder, has been lampooned on social media using hashtag #faketradie.
Twitteratti claimed the protagonist was Andrew MacRae from Medina Inc. However, Mr MacRae stated on Twitter that he was not the person in the ad.
He also confirmed to Daniel Piotrowski and Rachel Eddie at Daily Mail Australia that he was not the man appearing in the ad and he did not perform the voice over work at the end.
The Liberal Party says the man in the ad is a real tradie telling the ABC, “The tradie is real, unlike Mr Shorten’s claims about Medicare.”
Political parties employ actors in many ads and it’s rare when a real person appears.
However, it’s a timely reminder that there is no law to require political advertising to be true. The Advertising Standards Bureau of Australia states, “there is no legal requirement for the content of political advertising to be factually correct.”
As for the impact of the ad, Deputy Political Editor at the Guardian, Katharine Murphy, commented, “But clever in this way: the ad explicitly references fatigue and disaffection in the electorate.”
- Daniel Piotrowski and Rachel Eddie reported, “Social media has wrongly accused a voiceover artist of being the ‘fake tradie’ in a Liberal party advertisement, while the Coalition has claimed the man wearing high-vis is an actual tradesman.”: ‘Fake Tradie’ IS real, say the Libs: Storm over hi-vis ‘actor’ in anti-Labor election ad as Twitter users wrongly accuse voiceover artist of being a Turnbull stooge.
- Jessica Haynes reported, “The tradesman featured in a new Liberal Party advertisement who garnered the hashtag #faketradie on social media is anything but a fake, according to a party spokesman.”: ‘Fake Tradie’ is real according to Liberal Party spokesman.
- Mumbrella reported, “It’s the dream of many marketing executives to go viral but Liberal Party HQ is wondering if its new attack ad accusing Labor of launching a “war” on the economy might be going viral for all the wrong reasons.”: The mystery of Liberal Party’s ‘fake tradie’.
- Michael Koziol reported, “The latest round of political agitprop has been met with ridicule, in particular a Liberal Party commercial starring an unconvincing tradesman who supports negative gearing and the banks.”: ‘Fake Tradie’ commercial ridiculed as latest campaign ads fall flat.
- Mark Di Stefano reported, “On Sunday night, the Liberal party released a new TV ad starring a tradie, drinking a cup of coffee on a worksite. Old mate is angry at Bill Shorten who “wants to go to war with someone like me, who just wants to get ahead with an investment property.”: Here’s how the Liberal Party’s newest ad immediately became a meme.
Newspoll 50pc two-party preferred
Marriage equality plebiscite
- Gabrielle Chan and Paul Karp reported, “Labor and the Greens have not ruled out blocking legislation for a plebiscite if the Coalition wins the election.”: Penny Wong fears plebiscite could put marriage equality ‘out of reach’.
Labor’s Christian Kunde quits Farrer
- Michael Koziol reported, “A Labor candidate has quit the election race after it was revealed he had links with radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir.”: Labor candidate Christian Kunde quits over links to radical Islamic group.
Medicare privatisation plan may have gone to cabinet
Malcolm Turnbull has fixed the NBN
Christopher Pyne defends defence spending
(June 19, 2016) Day 43 – Arrium lifeline
Money for Arrium
Three days after dismissing a Labor policy of loans for Arrium, Innovation Minister Christopher Pyne today committed the Coalition to a similar scheme. He’d previously told the media that the risk to jobs at the factory may have been overstated.
On Thursday, opposition leader Bill Shorten promised a $50 million bailout and a further $50 million in loans. Prime Minister Malcolm turnbull described the pledge as “un-business” like and “highly political”.
However, on Sunday, Mr Pyne confirmed that the Turnbull Government would commit a $50 million loan package to Arrium
- Guardian Australia reported, “Prime minister to commit Coalition to road safety program and offer $50m to help Arrium steelworks”: Malcolm Turnbull pumps money into roads programs, Arrium steelworks.
Labor backs Brisbane Cross-River rail
Guerilla street nannas
- Calla Wahlquist reported, “Lobby group says ‘guerilla street nannas’ are out in the PM’s electorate hanging climate change posters below Turnbull’s own.”: Wentworth activists GetUp to mischief with Malcolm Turnbull’s election posters.
How to vote – Senate
- Antony Green published a range of how-to vote instructions for the senate, Senate How to Votes.
Liberals rolling cash machine
- Mark Hawthorne reported, “The Liberal Party will embark on a pre-election fundraising blitz of Melbourne this week as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former prime ministers Tony Abbott and John Howard dine with the city’s business elite at private events across the city.”: Three prime ministers hit Melbourne as Liberals mount pre-poll cash grab.
- Gina McColl reported, “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Wentworth electorate appears to operate an under-the-radar donations fund, with little disclosure of what it earns, from whom, or how it’s spent.”: Turnbull’s links to secretive fundraising practices.
- Lenore Taylor reported, “PM ends plans to outsource payments system to head off claims Coalition wants to privatise Medicare.”: Turnbull drops Medicare payment plan after Labor’s privatisation attack.
- Jane Norman reported, “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has abandoned plans to outsource the Medicare payments system, declaring “every element” of Medicare would remain in Government hands.”: Malcolm Turnbull says ‘every element’ of Medicare will stay in Government hands.
- Gabrielle Chan reported, “Bill Shorten promised to reverse cuts to pathology and unveiled a new jobs plan at Labor’s official campaign launch, which acknowledged past disunity but claimed the party was ready to govern again.”: Bill Shorten promises to reverse health cuts and reveals jobs plan.
- Anna Henderson reported, “Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has delivered a impassioned rallying cry to supporters and undecided voters, saying the Prime Minister thinks he has got the election “in the bag” but Labor will ramp up its campaign and dig deeper ahead of polling day.”: Bill Shorten tells Labor campaign launch party can win July 2 poll.
- Gabrielle Chan reported, “The opposition leader focused on health, transport, tax breaks for small businesses and employment”: Labor’s campaign launch: Bill Shorten’s promises at a glance.
Printing company in liquidation
- Heath Aston reported, “Labor’s plans for election-day signage at thousands of polling places around Australia has hit a snag after the Sydney printing company engaged by the ALP collapsed into liquidation over the weekend.”: Stop the presses: Labor’s election signage in danger after printing company goes bust.
Who would Nick Xenophon vote for?
(June 18, 2016) Day 42 – Father of the internet
Third Leaders’ debate (Facebook debate)
- Ariel Bogle reported, “It was meant to be a bit of high-tech showmanship for Australia’s prime minister, but as it turns out, the Internet cares not for Malcolm Turnbull’s electoral ambitions.”: Australia’s first online leadership debate marred by buffering complaints.
You can watch the whole online Leaders’ debate here:
Turnbull Govt ignores Treasury on negative gearing
Dan Conifer, Michael Mckinnon and Caitlyn Gribbin reported, “The Federal Government has argued negative gearing largely benefits average Australians despite being advised otherwise months ago, a document obtained by the ABC reveals.”: Government maintains negative gearing stance despite Treasury documents.
Abbott was close to war on three continents
- Kristina Kukolja reported, “There are renewed calls for greater parliamentary oversight of Australian military deployments to overseas conflict zones. They follow claims from a military scholar that former prime minister Tony Abbott considered sending thousands of troops to Ukraine after a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed in 2014.”: Call to restrain prime ministerial war powers.
- Paul Toohey reported, “Tony Abbott today fought back at claims of a “chaotic” and misguided approach to military deployments during his term as prime minister, calling them “fantasy”.”: Inside former PM Tony Abbott’s ‘chaotic’, ‘misguided’ military deployments.
Stuart Robert associate John Chardon
- Ellen Whinnett and Fiona Hudson reported, “A Liberal Party donor and associate of dumped minister Stuart Robert has been charged with murder. Gold Coast millionaire John Chardon, 68, was charged yesterday with murdering his wife Novy, 34, who has not been seen since February 2013.”: Man accused of murdering wife is an associate of dumped Liberal MP Stuart Robert.
Altercation in Solomon
- James Oaten reported, “The federal member for Solomon Natasha Griggs has been accused of pushing the phone from the hands of a union campaigner and acting in a “hostile” and “aggressive” manner at a community event.”: CLP candidate Griggs in mobile phone incident with unionists.
Bill in Dobell
Poll – Ipsos
- Mark Kenny reported, “The nationwide survey, which put the opposition ahead at 51-49, has Mr Shorten also holding gains on his approval rating with the difference between the two aspirants staying at single figures at just 9 percentage points.”: Labor within striking distance.
(June 17, 2016) Day 41 – Cash and poor
- Liam Quinn reported, “Senator Michaelia Cash has come under fire for comparing the three years spent backpacking across the Middle East to the struggles faced by the less-fortunate.”: ‘When I backpacked for three years, I practically had nothing’: Senator Michaelia Cash slammed for saying she can ’empathise’ with poor people because she went on holiday after university.
Stuart Robert gets aggressive
- Dave Donovan reported, “Video has emerged of disgraced former minister Stuart Robert attacking Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff Peta Credlin over her integrity at a community meeting on the Gold Coast this week.”: Stuart Robert slams Peta Credlin and attacks constituents over his conflicts.
Bill in Hobart
George Brandis should be sacked
- Richard Ackland wrote, “Don’t let it pass without notice – government ministers can no longer seek advice from the solicitor general without the attorney general’s approval.”: George Brandis has a history of meddling with independent agencies. He’s at it again.
- News.com.au reported, “Attorney-General George Brandis is facing calls for his resignation over a controversial directive to the Commonwealth solicitor-general.”: Brandis should be sacked: Labor.
- Mark Dreyfus stated, “George Brandis’s unprecedented attack on the independence of the Solicitor-General, the second law officer of this country, should be deeply shocking to anyone who cares about the integrity of Australia’s legal system.”: George Brandis hits new low.
Plan for exciting times
Corangamite votes – Black spot roads program
Chris Uhlmann calls it for Coalition
Mal in Page
Courageous Chris Jermyn
- Adam Gartrell reported, “Now Fairfax Media can reveal that Communications Minister Mitch Fifield was one of Mr Jermyn’s key backers, penning a glowing reference letter that helped him win preselection.”: Turnbull minister praised car-crash candidate Chris Jermyn’s ‘courage and charisma.