Election 2022 live: Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese news updates

Waleed Aly has eviscerated Anthony Albanese for not knowing “the most basic fact” in an uncomfortable interview that left Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers squirming.

It is day two of the federal election campaign, with Australians set to head to the polls on May 21.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese both embarked on their marathon six-week election trails.

Mr Albanese endured a rocky start to his campaign, with a trainwreck press conference where he was unable to answer questions about the RBA cash rate and unemployment rate.

Mr Morrison was also faced with his own difficulties, as a group of protesters in Hawaiian shirts forced him to make a hasty exit from his first event of the election in Nowra.

Follow along below for all the latest updates from the election trail.

‘Basic fact’: Waleed eviscerates Albo

Waleed Aly has eviscerated Anthony Albanese for not knowing “the most basic fact” in an uncomfortable interview that left Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers squirming.

Labor’s finance spokesman appeared on The Project on Tuesday night where he denied his boss was “trying to fob it off” by dismissing his unemployment rate gaffe as a “mistake”.

“I think it has been admirable yesterday and today to see him own this mistake,” Mr Chalmers said.

But Aly was not about to let him off the hook, suggesting that by “calling it a mistake you minimise what it might have been”.

“Perhaps it wasn’t a mistake – perhaps it was a lack of knowledge and perhaps it was a lack of knowledge about something that is really, really fundamental in the economy and should be the most basic fact that you would know if you’re going to launch a policy based on jobs,” The Project host said.

“Do you see that distinction, though? Do you see that what it might reveal is not an error or a failure of memory, but it might reveal a lack of competence?”

Mr Chalmers said he would “leave that kind of analysis of it to you”.

“Nobody is contesting that it’s an important number,” he said.

“It tells part of the story of the labour market. But the rest of the story of the labour market is even with unemployment at 4 per cent, we still haven’t got real wages moving sufficiently to keep up with the skyrocketing costs of living. We’ve still got skills shortages which have been left unattended.”

Mr Chalmers said that was what Labor’s economic policies “are all about”, and that “the reason why the government wants to focus on the mistake that Anthony made yesterday is because they don’t want to talk about” those issues.

Aly countered that the government was “not only focusing on that, they are focusing as well on costings, you might have heard today, so they’ve attacked you over your own policy’s costings”.

Mr Chalmers appeared exasperated, grinning uncomfortably at the question. “They are focusing on Labor almost exclusively, Waleed, that’s my point,” he said.

Aly replied, “That’s a bit of a longstanding tradition in politics. You’ve spoken to us a lot about Scott Morrison and we’ve been asking you about Anthony Albanese.”

“But I’ve been running through our plan for the economy, too, Waleed,” Mr Chalmers said.

He added that the government’s estimate of $300 billion over 10 years for Labor’s policies was “entirely fictional” and “another desperate beat-up to avoid their own responsibility for $1 trillion in debt”.

Asked by Aly to give the correct figure, Mr Chalmers said Labor would “release our costings in the usual way at the usual time in this election campaign”.

‘Over it!’: Radio host explodes at Albo

2GB host Jim Wilson has ripped into Labor for immediately turning to attacking Scott Morrison after Anthony Albanese’s gaffe on Monday.

The Labor leader has repeatedly admitted to his “mistake” in not knowing the Reserve Bank cash rate or the unemployment rate, saying he owned up and “that’s what leaders do”.

“For goodness sake Albo, even when your house is burning you still can’t resist throwing rocks at Scott Morrison,” Wilson said. “It’s so predictable and people are over it.”

He said it was the “same lame messaging” on Nine’s Today show this morning from former opposition leader Bill Shorten, who quipped that Labor “had a difficult day yesterday, but Mr Morrison has given us a difficult three years”.

“What planet are these Labor strategists on?” Wilson said.

“Their attacks on Scott Morrison are like a broken-down record player at the moment, and to be frank I reckon you the voter can see right through it.”

Wilson said rather than Medicare and regional health on Tuesday, Labor should have been focusing on the $500,000 payout to former Education Minister Alan Tudge’s ex-lover.

“Today could have been the perfect chance to move away from his hopeless economic knowledge, and pivot to wedging Scott Morrison on ministerial behaviour,” he said.

“Instead we got more bile and rubbish against Scott Morrison. So to Anthony Albanese and his colleagues – enough of playing the man, seriously we are over it. Start doing your homework and getting around key information. What we got yesterday reeked of a bloke whose obsession with attacking the Prime Minister has actually come at the expense of being across his brief.”

PM takes a dip in Penrith

Scott Morrison wrapped up day two of the campaign with a quick swim to unwind.

Seven News cameras captured the Prime Minister ducking into a Penrith gym for a splash, before leaving in a Cronulla Sharks jersey.

He stopped in the car park for a selfie with a supporter.

ScoMo’s campaign goes to the dogs

The Prime Minister’s last event of the day marked a change in tone from the tours of warehouses and engineering businesses.

Scott Morrison visited Assistance Dogs Australia in the Liberal-held electorate Lindsay, currently held by Melissa McIntosh, to announce a $2 million investment in a new national training school. The beefed up school will raise 120 assistance dogs each year, up from about 40 a year now.

Chairman of Assistance Dogs Australia Richard Lord explained the work the dogs do.

“They’ll always love you, never give away your secrets, always be there for you. An extra pair of hands, pick up your dropped phone, your keys, that sort of thing. Open your fridge, get out a drink bottle for you, load you washing machine,” he said.

“They’re also a safety device. If you fall out of your chair, the dog will bark and bark. You can tell your neighbours, if you hear my dog bark, come in and see me. We’ve had a few people rescued that way.

“Same out on the street. If it’s a lonely street, the dog will bark and bark and hopefully someone will come to your aid.”

The dogs also help first responders and veterans with post-traumatic stress, giving them “the opportunity to get back into the community”.

“The dog picks up on their anxiety and may lean into them and let them know they’re there, and ground them again, and let them get on with their day,” said Mr Lord.

“And also kids with autism. It encourages their confidence, cognitive ability improves, and they sleep through the night.

“We’ve had one kid, Brooke, who said, ‘I sleep through the night now because my dog eats my nightmares.”

Adorable stuff (and important).

When Mr Morrison arrived at the event, he was greeted by Shanni, a gorgeous golden retriever who is no longer part of the assistance program (and was therefore able to be patted). He then did a circle of the group, meeting all the other dogs and their trainers.

“Two million, we’re investing here. And that is contributing to the development of this facility, which means they’ll be able to train 120 dogs here, which is really exciting,” said Mr Morrison.

“Saving lives is really important, but the quality of people’s lives that are improved by having these dogs with them … it helps them connect with the rest of the world.

“This is just really smart therapy. And they’re absolutely gorgeous.”

“Thank you to you and the government. It’s fantastic news to get this up and running,” Mr Lord told him.

Not a bad way to end the day.

– Sam Clench

Former PM’s bizarre backflip on Albo stuff-up

Former Prime Minister John Howard has completely backflipped on his opinion of Anthony Albanese’s stumble on his first day of the election campaign.

In less than 24 hours, Mr Howard went from saying “so what” when asked about Mr Albanese not being able to recall the unemployment figures and cash rate, to claiming “he should have known”.

Mr Howard defended the mistake when he was stopped by reporters in the Perth electorate of Hasluck yesterday.

“Is that a serious question? Okay, well Anthony Albanese didn’t know the unemployment rate. So what?” Mr Howard said.

But when speaking about the gaffe at The West’s Leadership Matters breakfast on Tuesday, the former PM sang a very different tune.

“He should have known that figure, let’s not muck about,” Mr Howard said.

“Anybody who wants to be Prime Minister should be on top of that.”

Mr Albanese even mentioned Mr Howard’s initial supportive comments in his press conference on Tuesday.

“Yesterday I made a mistake and guess what? I fessed up to it and you probably made a mistake from time to time, Andrew. There are other people that have made mistakes numbers even today,” he said.

“John Howard had, I think, pretty clear comment about what he thought about it.

“My approach is, I fessed up, took responsibility, that is what I will do. From time to time, if ever I make a mistake, I will own it and I will accept responsibility.”

Albo visits Father Bob to wrap up day two

Albo has wrapped up day two of his campaign with a quirky visit to the Father Bob Maguire Foundation in Melbourne’s Albert Park.

He was there to announce a $300,000 funding boost for the organisation, but it was Father Bob who stole the show, leaving reporters in stitches during a photo op in which he announced he was “running for parliament”, described the history of democracy, and included a number of Star Trek references for good measure.

The foundation has supported those in need for two decades, providing 24,000 healthy meals and hampers for Melburnians doing it tough each year.

Mr Albanese was joined by the member for Macnamara Josh Burns, who has held the safe Labor seat since 2019.

– Alexis Carey

China issues warning to Scott Morrison

China has taken aim at Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison ahead of the federal election warning his approach could inflame tensions between the countries.

The statement was made in an editorial published in Chinese government mouthpiece The Global Times.

The editorial, published on day one of Australia’s federal election campaign after Mr Morrison announced the poll would be held on May 21, sent a warning to leaders that playing the “anti-China card” as they chase votes could stoke tensions between the two countries.

“Given the mounting challenges the Australian economy is facing, it should be domestic policies that can actually help the Australian people that should dominate the election, instead of words that could lead to more tension with Australia‘s biggest trading partner (China),” it said.

“Then again, Morrison and his government have nothing to show for, in terms of addressing crucial issues directly related to the livelihood of the Australian people. That’s why Morrison and his officials have kept hyping issues like China’s ‘economic coercion’ or ‘threat’ to its national security, clearly seeking to stoke more anti-China hostility in Australia and then shamelessly ride that hostility to power again.”

It also warned about further repercussions if the “anti-China card” was played in an attempt to win more votes.

– Mitchell Van Homrigh

Albo’s presser dominated by one word

One word dominated Anthony Albanese’s second press conference in the wake of his disastrous first day of campaigning.

On Monday, the Labor leader repeatedly failed to answer questions on the cash rate and unemployment rate – an embarrassing blunder the government has seized on as a sign of Labor’s economic weakness.

Appearing in the seat of Lyons on Tuesday to announce funding for regional telehealth mental health services, Mr Albanese was grilled by reporters about yesterday’s stumble.

During the at times tetchy presser, Mr Albanese used the word “mistake” at least 15 times, and also repeatedly insisted he had already “fessed up” and “owned” the error.

“I’ve said clearly that it was a mistake. I made a mistake. I fess up to it. I’ve owned it,” he said.

“No, I’m not dismissing it. Well, I made a mistake. I’m not trying to analyse it. I’m only mentioning I’m owning it. And I do own it.

“I accept responsibility and that’s what I will do. People make mistakes in life.”

– Alexis Carey

‘Strong leader’: Voter praises Morrison

Shortly after midday, Scott Morrison and his entourage – Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and local Liberal candidate Sarah Richards – visited an engineering business in the seat of Macquarie.

It’s among the most marginal electorates in the country. Labor incumbent Susan Templeman holds it by a margin of just 0.2 per cent.

The Prime Minister spent about 40 minutes meeting workers and apprentices, who showed him their skills. It all proceeded very amicably. But one gentleman at the very end of the visit was particularly excited to meet the PM.

Dindo Suela came here from the Philippines on a 457 visa 14 years ago, and has since become a citizen. He has three children aged seven, 15 and 18, all of whom are citizens as well.

He’s worked for Hogan Engineering ever since he arrived in the country.

“And now you’re teaching all our apprentices!” Mr Morrison quipped.

“But that is a very common story. We’ve had a lot of people, particularly in these businesses, people who came on 457s. Particularly out of the shipyards in the Philippines, with the old US bases up there.

“And we’re the beneficiaries, because you’re here.”

“I feel very happy here,” Mr Suela replied.

“We are very lucky.”

The pair exchanged some more pleasantries before Mr Morrison moved on, telling Mr Suela he was “a great Australian story”.

Afterwards, Mr Suela told reporters he voted for the Liberals in 2019 and planned to do so again.

“Scott, I think, is a little bit stronger,” he said, implicitly comparing him to Anthony Albanese. He cited immigration policy as a key factor.

“Domestic problems, we can sort that out here. But international problems, like immigration, are different.”

He said he believed “all politicians have some issues” with honesty, but he was more interested in looking at “the big picture”.

“You cannot please all people. Scott is a strong leader. I’m very happy I met him.”

– Samuel Clench

‘Damaged goods’: PM confronted

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has shrugged off the suggestion that he is “damaged goods” while campaigning in Western Sydney.

During a press conference at the Rheem complex in Parramatta this morning, Mr Morrison was joined by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and local candidate Maria Kovacic.

One of the journalists present asked whether that was a sign of the Prime Minister’s waning popularity, given Mr Morrison’s more presidential-style campaign against Bill Shorten in 2019.

“You talk consistently about how Australians know you. They don’t appear to like you,” the reporter said.

“At the last campaign, you campaigned on your own. Today you have campaigned here with Marise Payne and Josh Frydenberg. Is it a sign your popularity is on the nose, you are damaged goods across Australia?”

Mr Morrison replied that the election was “not a popularity test”.

“When you go to the dentist, it doesn’t matter whether you like him or her. You want to know they’re good at their job,” he said.

“This is about whether people are good at managing the economy and have a strong economic plan. I have a great team. I’m happy to showcase my team every single day.”

The journalist then tried to ask a follow-up question but Mr Morrison wasn’t going to let that happen, quickly cutting them off and saying: “You had your question, thanks for your ongoing contribution.”

The Prime Minister then proceeded to list a bunch of those team members.

“There’s a choice not just between me and Anthony Albanese. There’s a choice between Josh Frydenberg and his opponent. There’s a choice between Peter Dutton and his opponent. There’s a choice between Marise Payne and (Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman) Penny Wong.

“My point is, we’ve got a strong team. It’s a strong economic team, it’s a strong national security team, and that is the team that has brought Australia through one of the most challenging periods this country has seen since the Second World War.

“As we come out of that, you can’t risk it on an inexperienced and unproven team that doesn’t have a plan for the economy and doesn’t know how to manage money.”

One team member Mr Morrison didn’t mention was Alan Tudge, who will fully return to his role as Education Minister after the election.

The Department of Finance is preparing to give Mr Tudge’s former staffer Rachelle Miller, with whom he had a sexual relationship, a payout of well over $500,000 in taxpayer dollars.

Mr Morrison was not asked about that issue during the press conference. In an interview this morning he again insisted he had no knowledge of the payout, calling it a private matter.

Given it involves taxpayer money, given by a government department to a former government staffer, and potentially involving the conduct of a government minister, it remains to be seen whether that line holds.

– Samuel Clench

Labor MP tests positive for Covid

Senior Labor MP Kristina Keneally has tested positive for Covid-19, just two days into the election campaign.

Ms Keneally posted on Twitter on Tuesday morning saying she woke up feeling “rotten”.

“I’ll be isolating at home in Liverpool for the next 7 days & following @NSWHealth rules,” she wrote.

“A big thank you to the ALP Fowler volunteers for campaigning without me at train stations this morning – very grateful.”

PM: Albo ‘should apologise’

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for Labor Leader Anthony Albanese to “apologise” over his blunder with yesterday’s economic figures.

Mr Albanese yesterday said he “accepted responsibility” for not knowing the unemployment and cash rates, saying “I made a mistake, I’m human”.

But according to the PM, he missed the point.

“Leaders will not get every single figure right. That’s not really the issue here. The issue is there’s something Anthony Albanese should be apologising for, it should be that he doesn’t have an economic plan,” Mr Morrison said.

“That’s the real problem with Labor. That they don’t have an economic plan that can underwrite the things they will talk about at this election.’

Mr Morrison said Mr Albanese “doesn’t know and doesn’t understand” the Australian economy.

“What this showed was he had no idea what has happened with Australia’s economy recovery,” the PM said.

‘I fessed up’: Albanese grilled on mistake

Unsurprisingly, Anthony Albanese has been questioned over yesterday’s stuff-up, with the Labor Leader saying everyone makes mistakes.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Albanese was asked if he thinks he has less chance of winning the election following his mistake.

“Yesterday I made a mistake and guess what? I fessed up to it and you probably made a mistake from time to time, Andrew,” he said.

“There are other people that have made mistakes numbers even today. John Howard had, I think, pretty clear comment about what he thought about it.

My approach is, I fessed up, took responsibility, that is what I will do.”

Mr Albanese even managed to get a Taylor Swift quote into the mix.

“From time to time, if ever I make a mistake, I will own it and I will accept responsibility,” he said.

“Here is a Taylor Swift comment for you, my theory is, ‘Shake it off’.”

Treasurer: Albo ‘out of his depth’

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg couldn’t resist taking a jab at Anthony Albanese’s recent gaffe while bragging about the Morrison government’s economic achievements.

Joining Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne in Parramatta this morning, Mr Frydenberg claimed Mr Albanese is “out of his depth” with this upcoming election.

“Now this election as the Prime Minister has rightly made very clear is a choice. It’s a choice between a Liberal and National coalition led by Scott Morrison, and a Labor and Green coalition, and yesterday Australians were reminded by Anthony Albanese of why he is out of his depth,” he said.

“On budget night I said very clearly the unemployment rate was at its equal lowest at 4 per cent. The unemployment rate under Labor was 5.7 per cent, under us, it’s 4 per cent, and based on the budget, worry hoping to put a three in front of before the end of the year.”

Albanese says he ‘just went blank’

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says he “knew yesterday” the official cash rate and unemployment figures, but had “gone blank”.

Speaking to Tasmanian radio on Tuesday morning, Mr Albanese said he was only human and the figures had slipped his mind.

“I knew it yesterday, I just went blank,” he told Triple M Hobart.

“But you know I fessed up, put my hand up and said that it was a mistake. I was concentrating on other things, but I’m not making excuses.

“Politicians don’t always get it right. I didn’t get it right. It wasn’t my best ever press conference.“(But) I have accepted responsibility.”

Mr Albanese said he hoped people would not lose sight of the type of politician he was, and the type of Prime Minister he was aspiring to be.

“Politics does make a difference to people’s lives,” he said.

“People are doing it really tough at the moment, and the government needs to do better.”

– Ellen Ransley, NCA NewsWire

Morrison press conference expected shortly

Scott Morrison’s first event of the day is in the Sydney electorate Parramatta, which has been held by Labor MP Julie Owens since 2004.

The Prime Minister is being joined by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and the local Liberal candidate Maria Kovacic for a visit to Rheem Australia.

They will tour the company’s manufacturing factory, learning the process of manufacturing water heating systems.

“Western Sydney’s a jobs machine!” Mr Morrison remarked as he arrived. Very on message.

We’re expecting a press conference within the next hour, so stay tuned for that.

– Samuel Clench

‘Terrible look’: Karl flames Albo after gaffe

Today show host Karl Stefanovic has torn into Anthony Albanese over yesterday’s train wreck press conference.

Speaking to the Australian Financial Review’s economic’s editor, John Kehoe, Stefanovic said Mr Albanese’s gaffe on Monday was a “terrible look”.

“It was an interesting one, an awful one if you’re Anthony Albanese. He wants to be in charge of the country’s economy. It’s just a terrible look,” Stefanovic said.

Kehoe branded it “probably the worst start to an election campaign for a political leader in Australia in living memory”.

“I guess if you’re the aspiring Prime Minister you’re expected to know basic economic facts like the amount and RBA cash rate and really does play into the government’s hands because they’ve been basically trying to say you can’t trust Labor on the economy,” he said.

Albo’s gaffe cuts Morrison’s odds

After Anthony Albanese’s awkward blunder on day one of the election campaign, Sportsbet has slashed the odds for a Coalition win.

The Coalition are now at $2.70, changing from $3.05 after the Labor Leader’s press conference stuff-up on Monday.

This is the shortest price the Coalition has been since January 26.

Labor is still the favourite to win, with the odds changing from $1.33 to $1.44.

“Albo’s stumble at the first hurdle caused a major shake-up in odds. Media were quick to tackle the story and some punters also jumped on the Coalition. There’s a long way to go and we’re expecting plenty of ebbs and flows,’’ Sportsbet’s Simon Legg said.

PM attacks ‘cowards in basements’

Scott Morrison has lashed out at trolls on social media accusing anonymous accounts of destroying civility in public life and being “cowards in basements”.

The Prime Minister, who cops more than his fair share of abuse online, said that social media has had a corrosive effect.

Speaking on Adelaide radio, the Prime Minister was asked by host David Penberthy “How has public life become so deeply unpleasant?”

Well, I think you put your finger right on when you’re talking about a hashtag,’’ he said.

“I mean, social media has been eroding the civility of our country, and not just our society, societies all around the world.

“And David, you’ve reported on politics for years and years. You’re telling me the people haven’t been saying these things about politicians. For the last 50 years? Of course they have.

“But what happens now is your whack a hashtag, put it out there in the social media, and then people report it.”

But the PM said he was more concerned about teenagers, not politicians.

“You can’t have these cowards in their basements going around and trolling people,’’ he said.

“I mean, social media has given everybody a microphone and things that used to be said and now said, through social media, so I think social media really does undermine.

“I’ve always said there’s no problem with disagreeing in this country. But we’ve got to disagree better than have and social media, I think has made that a very hard thing to do, and I really do think it’s, it’s really undermining the cohesiveness of our society and that’s why we have taken such a strong stand standing up to those big tech companies and holding them to account.”

– Samantha Maiden

Is Anne Ruston the new Health Minister?

Scott Morrison is preparing to unveil Health Minister Greg Hunt’s replacement and there’s speculation that Social Services Minister Anne Ruston could get the job.

News.com.au’s political editor Samantha Maiden speculated last night that she’s a frontrunner for the top job.

This morning, the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Senator Ruston is likely to get the gig.

Mr Hunt has announced he is retiring from politics at the last election.

The Prime Minister said today Senator Ruston was doing “a terrific job” as a minister and as campaign spokesperson.

Shorten’s advice to Albo after trainwreck day

Former Labor Leader Bill Shorten has come out in defence of Anthony Albanese, following his gaffe on the first full day of the election campaign.

Mr Albanese was left in an awkward position on Monday when he was unable to answer two simple questions about the RBA cash rate and the unemployment rate.

The Opposition leader later owned up to his mistake.

Speaking to Nine’s Today, Mr Shorten admitted that Labor had a “difficult day” on Monday, before turning the attention to the Prime Minister’s wrongdoings.

“[Scott] Morrison, he has given us a difficult three years,” he said.

“I wish we could airbrush the last three years of Morrison gaffes away … didn’t hold a hose, went to Hawaii when the country was on fire, the vaccine rollout. You couldn’t get a rapid antigen test.

“I think performance actually counts. Mr Morrison has had three years of underperformance, in my opinion.”

Mr Shorten said he has spoken to Mr Albanese and offered him some advice on the situation.

“spoke to [Albanese]. The thing is, you will have bad days at the office. It happens to everyone. The trick is to get back on the bike. The next day is a new day,” he said.

Birmingham grilled over mystery $500k payout

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham is getting a grilling over that mystery workers’ compensation payout for Alan Tudge’s ex-lover but is insisting it’s all “confidential.”

News.com.au revealed on Monday that Rachelle Millar will secure a substantial sum of over $500,000.

Legal fees on top of that will add another six figure amount on top of that.

“There are limited things that I can say there, Lisa, because those sorts of negotiations that occur between a former employee in a termination settlement or the like that occurs are negotiated at arm’s length through ministers,’’ Senator Birmingham told ABC Breakfast.

“So you’re not curious? Taxpayer money,’’ ABC host Lisa Millar said.

“I am curious. But there are privacy issues at play here,’’ he said.

“We’re talking about a Cabinet minister and a former Liberal Party staffer and taxpayer money?,’’ the ABC host interjected.

“I understand, Lisa, but in terms of the way those probity and privacy and confidentiality matters apply, I simply do not get briefed or brought into those deliberations or discussions. If I did, I suspect many people would say it was inappropriate

“I can’t confirm, because I don’t get briefed, and don’t know whether those assertions or figures are accurate or true. just can’t provide the details because they don’t get shared with me by the department, given the privacy provisions put in place.”

– Samantha Maiden

Albanese makes mental health commitment

Anthony Albanese has kicked off day two of his campaign with a commitment to restore regional mental telehealth services if he’s elected in May.

He’ll no doubt be hoping the announcement serves as a distraction after yesterday’s disastrous campaign launch, which saw the Labor leader repeatedly stumble over a series of simple questions relating to the economy.

In yesterday’s press conference in the marginal seat of Bass in Tasmania on Monday, Mr Albanese could not recall the cash rate or the unemployment rate. Later in the day he apologised for the blunder, insisting he will “accept responsibility” because “that’s what leaders do”.

Under the new announcement, an ALP government would reverse cuts to Medicare made by Scott Morrison in December 2021, which ended the ability for people in rural and regional areas to access bulk billed psychiatry consultations through telehealth.

According to Mr Albanese, it has led to significant gap fees for psychiatric consultations and has seen some psychiatrists withdrawing these services altogether.

He plans to restore a 50 per cent regional loading to telehealth psychiatric consultations, which will support 1.426 million consultations over ten years and will cost $31.3 million over the forward estimates.

“Scott Morrison’s cuts to regional mental health consultations during a pandemic which has seen people struggling with mental health issues are unconscionable,” Mr Albanese said.

“Labor will restore these vital mental health services, making them affordable and accessible to people wherever they live.”

– Alexis Carey

PM’s bold new five-year pledge

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pledging to create 1.3 million more jobs over the next five years as part of his economy-focused election campaign.

“We’ve got the runs on the board and proven plans to deliver these 1.3 million new jobs,” Mr Morrison said.

“Our tax relief for workers and small business, our investments in skills and trades, and our support for our local manufacturing sector mean we can get more people into jobs.

“My government has created 50 per cent more jobs than what we saw when Labor faced the GFC, despite an economic crisis with the pandemic that was 30 times bigger.

“Boosting jobs creation to the levels we saw even before the pandemic is key to our plan for a stronger economy.”

Mr Morrison has been claiming the Covid pandemic caused an economic crisis 30 times worse than the GFC since last year’s federal budget.

Economic experts have described the comparison as “ludicrous”, among other things.

Nevertheless, the government can point to the national unemployment rate of 4 per cent – the lowest it has been in decades – to back up its claim of good economic management.

According to government figures, there are currently 376,000 more Australians in work than there were before the pandemic.

– Sam Clench

Albanese denies he ‘lost the election’ yesterday

A well prepared Anthony Albanese was grilled on more key economic numbers by Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell on Monday afternoon, as he laughed off suggestions yesterday’s gaffe had cost him the election.

“You know my next question – what’s the inflation rate?” Clennell opened the interview.

“The inflation rate is 3.5 and the wages rate is 2.3, which is why inflation is much higher than the cost of living, that’s why people are under pressure,” Mr Albanese said.

The Labor leader denied it was a “gaffe”, calling it a “mistake”.

Asked how it happened, Mr Albanese said, “Look, you can come up with a whole range of reasons … a whole lot of figures around, of course the average unemployment rate under this government is 5.7, under us it was 5.1 … that was a question that I thought … when people are firing questions at you … but it was a mistake, I accept it, I own up to it, that’s what leaders do.”

Clennell pressed, “I mean, I don’t want too melodramatic here, but is this the day you lost the election?”

“You are being melodramatic, Andrew,” Mr Albanese replied.

“People make mistakes, and when it comes to the figures quite often, I don’t want to get into the Prime Minister’s mistakes that have been made, but they have been, and recently there was a beauty with regard to how many years four plus three make up. People make mistakes, that happens, I’ve fessed up to it, I’m accepting responsibility for it and that’s it.”

Originally published as Federal election 2022 live: Waleed Aly eviscerates Albo over ‘lack of competence’ in brutal interview