By Andrew Bolt ~
Last night’s election debate between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Labor Party Leader Bill Shorten was a disgrace.
We had the leaders of both sides debating the future of this increasingly troubled country in just 60 minutes – minus time spent by journalists talking.
In this very short “debate” the following topics were not discussed:
– the cuts we need to the spending that is now dangerously out of control, drowning us in debt, endangering our triple-A credit rating and threatening all the spending plans of both sides.
– the workplace reforms we need to make the economy more productive
– the union reforms that were the government’s excuse for calling this early election.
The format allowed for little sustained interrogation, little direct debate and no real conversation. No new issues were raised and no fresh information revealed.
Neither leader won because they were not engaged in any contest that mattered, and no network – other than the ABC and Sky News Live – bothered to broadcast it anyway.
If I was left with any impression, it was the familiar one of both sides being led by men without the courage of their professed convictions. There’s Turnbull, now trying to sound like Tony Abbott on boats. There’s Bill Shorten trying to sound more like Abbott, too. There’s Turnbull warning against going too far on global warming; and there’s Shorten warning against the dangers of taxing rich superannuants too much.
I would, though, add this: one Liberal attack cutting through over the past week is that Labor does not have a single policy to create “jobs and growth”. True, the Liberals’ own plan – nothing more than a company tax cut spread over 10 long years – isn’t that convincing itself, but leave that aside.
That failure must be addressed by Labor in the next week – or fortnight at the latest. I’d suggest that Labor do so by revealing a clearly better Budget bottom line than the Liberals, which would also highlight the hypocrisy of the big-spending Liberals complaining about the big-spending Labor.
True, the Labor bottom line will be barely convincing, and produced more by tax rises than spending cuts. But barely anything in this fraudulent election campaign is real, anyway, and at least our frightening debt and deficit will be on the agenda at last.
Andrew Bolt writes for the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, and The Advertiser and runs Australia’s most-read political blog. On week nights he hosts The Bolt Report on Sky News at 7pm and his Macquarie Radio show at 8pm with Steve Price.