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The Guardian - AU

Final polls roll in as campaign hits home stretch – as it happened

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese signs a campaign poster
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese signs a campaign poster as he visits Labor candidate for the seat of Bass Ross Hart at a prepoll booth on Friday. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

What we learned today, election eve, Friday 20 May

It’s The Final Countdown! (Yes, Europe’s classic song was played today). The prime minister, Scott Morrison, and the Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, had hectic, frenetic days. Here’s what happened:

That’s it from us for today. Amy Remeikis will be here in the morning, and the Guardian Australia team will be out at polls and political shindigs, keeping an eye on how election day unfolds. Tomorrow night we might know who the new government, and prime minister is. Or we might not. Fun times!

Updated

As for preferred prime minister:

Psephologist Kevin Bonham says:

While Anthony Albanese’s ABC 7.30 interview (recorded earlier tonight) was being played on TV, he was having one last quiet campaign event before election day – meeting supermarket workers at a Woolworths warehouse in the marginal seat of Chisholm.

After flying into Melbourne in the early evening, the campaign bus went to the city’s east. Albanese met a group of workers he said were at the “frontline” of the pandemic – stocking shelves and working checkouts to keep people fed.

He was joined by deputy Labor leader, Richard Marles, and Chisholm candidate, Carina Garland, who is trying to win the seat off Liberal incumbent, Gladys Liu, who has a wafer-thin 0.4% margin. Albanese told a group of employees:

My son works at Woolies.

Thank you for what you do, and what you did during the pandemic.

With a few quick handshakes, he was back out the door, into the night. Just moments earlier, the latest Newspoll dropped, showing Labor still with a commanding 53-47 two-party lead, but also a two-point drop in its primary vote.

It will be a long and potentially sleepless night for both major parties and their leaders. The prime minister, Scott Morrison, will also be in Melbourne, with the two men to start election day in the same city.

Updated

Final Newspoll: Labor 53%, Coalition 47% two-party preferred

The final Newspoll is in, showing 53% two-party preferred for Labor to 47% for the Coalition:

Updated

Leigh Sales thanks the Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, for honouring his commitment to appear on the program twice, and it’s over.

Updated

Sales asks about the opposition’s campaigns, and compares it to the Liberal opposition under Tony Abbott, which won with crisp three-word slogans. Albanese says:

What I will deliver is what I am saying we’ll deliver. Cheaper childcare. Cheaper energy bills. A future made in Australia. End the climate wars. A national anti-corruption commission and [to] move forward with the constitutional recognition of First Nations people with a voice to parliament.

Updated

Next up is the seat of Fowler, where Kristina Keneally might be in trouble. Albanese says:

What I’d say is that Kristina Keneally is a senior member of the Labor party ... she’s passionate about making a difference in politics, including to the community of Fowler in south-west Sydney.

She will have a seat around the cabinet table and will make an enormous difference to that electorate. Kristina is someone with great capacity, intelligence and able to advocate for that community. She’ll be an outstanding, strong representative, and I’m sure that they’ll be very proud of what she’s able to deliver as part of a Labor government.

Updated

Sales asks when coal production will end, and Albanese says “that will be determined by decisions in board rooms here in Australia and around the world”. He says “the cheapest form of new energy in Australia is renewables”.

There’s great prospect in areas like green hydrogen and other emerging industries as well. That is what is happening, and it’s being driven by the market.

Updated

Sales is racing through the questions. The next one is on Scott Morrison’s housing policy, and she asks Albanese why people shouldn’t have the choice to use their super to buy a house. Albanese says:

Because we don’t think that you should get an asset by getting rid of another asset. And what we have here is a policy that is consistent with the government that has undermined superannuation every opportunity that it has had.

We already know that women retire with less income than men. This government has continued to undermine superannuation at every step.

Updated

On a teacher shortage, Albanese says:

Well, one of the things that we can do is to take some pressure off the education system. We make no apologies for the policy about attracting more high-performance teachers into the profession. We need to value teaching. It’s an honourable profession. And we need to lift its status.

We have a range of other policies that we’ve announced, including funding for schools to bounce back from Covid. We know that students and teachers have done it really tough. And providing additional support for every school for mental health support or for excursions in order to, according to the priorities of those schools, will make a difference as well.

Updated

On the wage increase, Albanese says:

I actually gave a straight answer to a straight question about 5.1% and minimum wage, would I welcome it? And I stand by that. It’s a dollar an hour increase. And I don’t believe, and I said throughout the entire campaign I’ve said [we have] two big themes. We don’t think that people should fall behind, and we don’t think that people should be held back. And people on minimum wages can’t afford a real cut in their wages.

Updated

Albanese and Sales are butting heads over Albanese’s “gaffes”. Sales says:

You made the unemployment figure mistake. You said this week that Australia’s borders were closed when they’re not. You supported a 5.1% wage increase and then wound it back to say that it would only be for minimum wage earners.

Albanese is trying to just focus on the wage increase, which is obviously much safer territory. He says it’s media “gotcha” questions that put people off politics.

Pushed on the unemployment rate gaffe, he says:

I ‘fessed up to just having a memory lapse at that particular time in that context. I’m not about making excuses. I owned it. And moved on.

Updated

Sales asks how a Labor government would solve Australia’s skills shortage. Albanese says:

Well, we will have 465,000 fee-free Tafe places in areas of skills shortage. We’ll also have an additional 20,000 university places. We understand that we need to train Australians for those jobs ... you can’t just change 10 years of damage in one day.

What you need to do is train people for those jobs. You need also to look at the migration system. I’ve said that very up-front in areas like nurses, historically Australia is a great migration country.

Updated

Albanese is talking about inheriting $1tn of debt, but Sales forces him to defend passing the stage three income tax cuts, while not committing to raising the rate of jobseeker.

Albanese says:

They’ve been legislated. I’ll tell you what happened – we lost the last election. We lost the last election and those cuts, the tax cuts, have been legislated. We’re not going to re-litigate all of the issues that have occurred at previous elections and we’re going to ensure that there’s certainty going forward about what the tax system looks like.

So that’s why we made that decision. But that was a decision that was made, of course, in the parliament, in the senate. We tried to amend the legislation. We weren’t successful. So that’s just a historical fact that that occurred.

Updated

Sales asks Albanese about the infamous “Mediscare” campaign, saying the confected campaign by Labor goes to the issue of trust. Albanese runs through what a Labor party would do in the healthcare system, including the promised urgent care clinics, and says:

They’ll be bulk billed. The only thing you’ll need in an urgent care clinic is your Medicare card.

Labor will always be better on Medicare and healthcare, and the policy that we’ve put out as well of $250m per year, every year, for three years, that’s been endorsed by the Australian Medical Association, we’ve worked out how we can make sure that we can get better delivery, of primary healthcare and other health services. That’s something that we’ve worked constructively on. It’s something that we would take into government.

Updated

Albanese says while “the strength of our Australian society was shown”, “at the same time, the vulnerabilities of our economy, the fact that we’re at the end of global supply chains meant that we didn’t have enough PPE, we didn’t have enough ventilators, we struggled to get access to vaccines”.

He says:

One of the things we need to do after the pandemic is identify how we can overcome those issues, how we stand on our own two feet. How do we develop sovereign capability? We make more things here. Labor has a plan to do that. The problem for this government is that they don’t have a plan for the future. And during the pandemic, we were responsible, we were constructive, we didn’t play politics.

We actually went into the parliament and said – we have some disagreements with this legislation, but in advance, if our amendments aren’t carried, we won’t allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. So we were responsible during that period. One of the things that that meant, of course, was that as an opposition, we didn’t get the profile that would normally occur during that period of the pandemic. We put the national interest first. I make no apologies for that.

Updated

Sales points out that Australia’s recovery has been one of the best in the world. Albanese says “Australians were in charge of that”:

The Australian people have been magnificent. They responded by looking after each other, whether they were people in the care sector or just people going out and getting vaccinated. But what we know is that the impact was worse from the pandemic because Scott Morrison said it wasn’t a race for getting the vaccines to Australia. And then he did the same thing when it came to rapid antigen tests. When it came to issues like economic support, Scott Morrison described wage subsidies as a dangerous idea.

Sales points out that Morrison implemented jobkeeper, and Albanese says it was a Labor idea:

Eventually they put it in and when they did put it in, they designed a scheme that gave $20bn to companies who were actually increasing their profits, even though they knew that that was happening.

Updated

Anthony Albanese is being interviewed on ABC 7.30

Sales starts by outlining the problem Scott Morrison has (ie being unpopular) but asks Albanese if he’s done enough to lure people away from the idea of “better the devil you know”.

Albanese says “we’ll find out tomorrow night”:

But I’ll make this point – even Scott Morrison has given up on better the devil you know, and has distanced himself from Scott Morrison when he has said that he will change if he’s elected. Well, the way that you get change is to change the government tomorrow.

Updated

Coming up in a couple of minutes we have the ABC’s Leigh Sales interviewing the Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, on 7.30.

Sales starts the show saying neither leader has “inspired the public”.

Updated

Caroline Jones, a journalism legend and a mentor to Australian women, has died. The ABC has dedicated an Australian Story episode to her. Jones was the first female reporter at This Day Tonight.

The ABC describes her as a “fierce, credible and hard-hitting reporter”.

Jones, 84, died this week.

Updated

An insight into the democracy sausage, a bulldozing confrontation, and a rather large election-eve leak. Daniel Hurst’s election briefing plugs the gaps:

Updated

Josh Butler and Paul Karp bring you postcards from a hectic election eve:

Some more colour and movement from AAP, from the prime minister, Scott Morrison, on the campaign trail:

Prime minister Scott Morrison at Mak Water desalination facility in the the seat of Cowan in Perth
Prime minister Scott Morrison at Mak Water desalination facility in the the seat of Cowan in Perth. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Prime minister Scott Morrison at Perth Sikh Gurdwara in the the seat of Hasluck
Morrison at Perth Sikh Gurdwara in the the seat of Hasluck. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Prime minister Scott Morrison at Wanneroo Rugby Union Club in Perth, in the the seat of Pearce
Morrison serves snags at the Wanneroo rugby union club in Perth, in the the seat of Pearce. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Updated

On that “Herculean” effort from the Australian Electoral Commission to staff polling booths, commissioner Tom Rogers says it looks good for now, but Covid may strike in the morning. He says:

If election day began at 7pm tonight every single one of the 7,000 polling places we’ve planned for would open its doors.

If some of the small number of people we’ve lined up to work at a local voting centre withdraw on the morning of the election, we may not have backups available in that town.

And if there are queues, he says, please treat staff with kindness.

Updated

Anthony Albanese has joined ABC Melbourne, moments after touching down in Victoria. After the radio station played Europe’s “The Final Countdown”, the Labor leader talked up his frantic final day, visiting three states and four marginal electorates. He said:

It shows I want to represent the whole country.

Albanese said he plans to do a round of breakfast TV in the morning and hand out how-to-vote cards in Melbourne, before going back to Sydney. He said:

We’ve run a very successful campaign.

Albanese complained about the “gotcha” questions he got from journalists, and said he’d tried to run a “positive” campaign.

He also rejected claims he’d run a “small target” election, talking up his “transformative” climate policy:

You’ve got to bring people with you on the journey of change.

You can’t go from zero to 100 overnight.

Asked by host Raf Epstein if we would know an election result by 8pm on election day, Albanese says “probably not”.

He said Labor supporters were “devastated” and wanted to get “in the foetal position” after the 2019 loss, and claimed his campaign has made Labor more competitive this time. Albanese claimed many people had “changed their view of Labor” in recent years, citing their childcare and social policies, and that he was “hopeful” of a strong result on Saturday.

Updated

Goodbye from health minister and member for Flinders, Greg Hunt:

As always, brilliant shots of the Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, on the campaign trail from AAP:

Labor leader Anthony Albanese signs a campaign poster as he visits Labor candidate for the seat of Bass, Ross Hart, in Launceston
The Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, signs a campaign poster as he visits Labor candidate for the seat of Bass, Ross Hart, in Launceston. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Penny Wong, and former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard listen to Labor leader Anthony Albanese speak to the media at Cabra Dominican College in Adelaide
Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Penny Wong, and former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard listen as Albanese speaks to the media at Cabra Dominican College in Adelaide. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
Albanese holds Mark Butler’s little baby Charlie as he shares a coffee with Gillard at the Sfizio cafe in Adelaide, in the seat of Sturt
Albanese holds Mark Butler’s little baby Charlie as he shares a coffee with Gillard at the Sfizio cafe in Adelaide, in the seat of Sturt. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Updated

Liberal MP for Bass, Bridget Archer, stopped short of endorsing Scott Morrison’s leadership when asked in Launceston today.

The first-term MP has differed with Morrison on issues including an integrity commission and welfare. She was at the pre-poll in Launceston where Albanese visited this afternoon, and a coincidence meant the Labor leader’s travelling press pack got to join her for a quick press conference.

She got a few questions on the PM, including whether he was the right person to lead the Liberals. She didn’t give a ringing endorsement. She said:

Those will be decisions that will be had into the future as they always are.

Asked for her views on him remaining leader, she said:

I don’t have a view at the moment.

Scott Morrison is taking us to this election and my focus is on retaining the seat of Bass.

The Albanese campaign has touched down in Melbourne, where he’ll visit the marginal seat of Chisholm to meet supermarket workers.

The Labor leader is also spending the night before election day (happy election eve, for those who celebrate) appearing on the ABC’s 7.30 program.

He’s expected to head back to Sydney early tomorrow morning, to vote in Grayndler.

Tom Rogers from the Australian Electoral Commission says the telephone voting is going well, after the last minute rejig.

He tells the ABC “all of the staffing issues have been resolved ... as of this evening, after a Herculean effort by all involved”. He says:

I want to clarify something – we have no magic wand, [we are] subject to every issue in the pandemic. In the last week we had a 15% drop out in [our] 105,000 workforce. Last night alone, 40 officers in charge fell out as a result of Covid.

So, I’ve seen some commentary that, oh well, the AEC should have been aware of it – of course we have.

We’ve been working overtime to make sure to deliver the vote. Some communities, that means tomorrow, we chartered a plane to send people out. We’ve got our own staff deployed, I think my chief operating officer is in a small town five hours east of Perth. It is an amazing job by all staff. May I say, while I have the floor, if you are working for us tomorrow, thank you. If you’re in a small polling place and you wake up in the morning, unless you have Covid, please turn up, you are helping your community [so] cast a vote tomorrow.

Updated

If you’ve been following the blog, listening to the Campaign catchup, reading the daily election briefing, and slavishly absorbing the Guardian Australia team’s reporting, this one’s for you:

Australia’s Covid death toll is now 8,027:

Roy Morgan final poll: Labor 53%, Coalition 47% two-party preferred

Roy Morgan’s final poll has Labor on 53% two-party preferred, to the Coalition’s 47%:

This week’s final Roy Morgan Poll showed support for the LNP Coalition at only 34% of the primary vote – far too low for the party to have a chance of forming government after the federal election.

Updated

This is ... interesting:

Updated

Katharine Murphy and Jane Lee have the latest Campaign catchup for you – listen in so you can sound smart in front of your friends tomorrow night (if you’re not already a political nerd):

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie is talking about his experience on the crossbench in a hung parliament in the past, and how he’d deal with it if it happens this time:

I’ve made it very clear that, if no party is an absolute majority, then I won’t be doing any formal deals with either of the parties to help them form government.

I learned the lesson back in my first term, the 43rd parliament when I was elected in 2010. Julia Gillard was looking for numbers to form government, I learned back then if you do go into a formal deal with anyone, then you are effectively on a short leash and they can take you for granted, whereas if you don’t have a formal deal, it’s every vote on its merits.

So [if it comes to a vote of confidence] I will have to decide at the time, based on a whole range of factors ... I can’t answer the question right now because we need to see who gets the most votes, the most seats, what the sentiment is in my own community. Obviously this is traditionally a Labor seat, I’ve got to be mindful of that, but we have to wait and see what happens.

Updated

Asked if leader Barnaby Joyce can’t relate to people south of the Queensland border and is a “drag” on the women’s vote, McKenzie starts talking about Nationals MPs Darren Chester and Damian Drum.

And she’s seen no sign of worker shortages at regional polling booths, she says, and that’s that for now.

The “probable” monkeypox case in NSW has now been confirmed.

NSW Health says a recently returned traveller from Europe has the virus. The department said in a statement:

The urgent testing that identified the probable case of monkeypox has been confirmed by further tests.

This is the first case of monkeypox to be confirmed in NSW.

The man in his 40s continues to isolate at home, with care and support being provided by their GP and NSW Health.

Cases of monkeypox have been identified in several non-endemic countries in recent weeks, including several European countries and the United States.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people and is usually associated with travel to Central or West Africa, where it is endemic.

McKenzie says the Nationals “are fighting to keep all the seats we currently hold”.

Asked if Clive Palmer’s United Australia party is eating away at the Nationals rump (sorry for that mental image), she says:

I was talking to a radiographer [the other day]. He and his wife didn’t want to get vaccinated, and they were choosing to vote one way in a federal election that they’d never voted before simply because of [premier] Daniel Andrews and the lockdowns here in Victoria.

So we are seeing a lot of different issues and aspects, particularly of Covid-19, playing into people’s decisions on who they are voting for this election.

Updated

Make of this what you will. McKenzie says grants were helping the regions move towards a low emissions future. She says:

It’s only the Liberals and the National party that actually take moving our country to a low emissions future seriously.

Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie is up now. The ABC’s Greg Jennett asks her if it will “take a miracle” for the Coalition to win from here.

She smartly sidesteps that one to have a good old whack at the Greens, and calls for Labor to commit to regional funding programs that Fran Kelly quickly points out were part of the sports rorts saga.

Kelly asks:

Is it a bit rich and risky for you, particularly you, to be campaigning against Labor scrapping this fund, the fund the shadow finance minister Katy Gallagher calls a dodgy slush fund, when you would be the minister in charge of this regionalisation fund, and you as minister were involved in the sports rorts community grants scandal that was condemned by the auditor general, you are in the heart of that, and you would be in charge of this one?

All the rules were followed, McKenzie says.

Updated

Greens look to pick up Senate seats

Greens leader Adam Bandt says they’re feeling there’s a “growing swing to the Greens”. He says:

We’re seeing really strong support in Queensland and in inner city Brisbane seats, seats like Ryan and Brisbane and Griffith, where we saw a really strong swing at the state election. The message we’re hearing is that people want this terrible government to go, but they haven’t been inspired by the opposition and they can see us putting an alternative on the table.

They’re hoping to pick up Senate seats in South Australia, Queensland and NSW, and get the balance of power.

Updated

And finally, Ruston is asked about the national security committee leak, and whether it could have been officials. She says:

I don’t know. I don’t know how this came about, it would be foolish to speculate.

Ruston says prime minister Scott Morrison, when talking about his post-bulldozer era, “was referring to the fact that hopefully, as we come out of Covid, we will be able to go back to some more normal settings about how we manage the country”.

Asked whether the PM was nervous about Swan and Pearce (because that’s where he is today), Ruston says:

I think the prime minister himself set a campaign plan at the start of the campaign. He stuck to that, no matter what, because he had a plan and stuck to that plan, a bit like we had an economic plan and we will continue to stick to that economic plan.

Updated

Liberal campaign spokeswoman Anne Ruston says she thinks people have mostly made up their minds, and that it’s been “respectful” at the polling booths.

Fran Kelly asks her what her pitch to women is (women are three times more likely to be undecided, while Liberal polling shows the female vote is down). Ruston says:

I will be imploring the women of Australia, and everybody in Australia, to have a look at the choice before you, the track record of the government of which I’m a member. We’ve got ... eight very strong, capable women in our cabinet. We have fantastic women candidates.

I haven’t seen a discernible difference in men and women on polling booths. I think they’re all keen to engage, they’re very keen to ask questions.

Updated

Now the ABC is showing slow-motion footage of prime minister Scott Morrison bulldozing young Luca on the soccer pitch, with a Chariots of Fire soundtrack (which was a tribute to the song’s composer, Vangelis, who has died).

ABC host Fran Kelly welcomes former Liberal MP Christopher Pyne and former Labor MP Craig Emerson, saying they’re “pretty popular” with viewers.

“I’m not surprised,” Pyne says.

(I’m not going to bring you a blow by blow of their conversation, just thought some might like a little Pyneism).

Pyne has also told Labor leader Anthony Albanese that he’ll be proud of him if he wins:

I don’t think Anthony will mind me saying that I spoke to him today, and I told him actually that I don’t want him to win the election, which is true. But I said if you do get elected, I will be personally very proud of you because it’s an enormous achievement ... I might even shed a quiet tear on election night because it’s a great story and in my valedictory when I left parliament I said I haven’t got a log cabin story, unlike the member for Grayndler – Anthony Albanese, he does.

(But he doesn’t want him to win).

Updated

Burke declines to discuss what will happen with the Labor leadership if they lose tomorrow (imagine if he did!) :

No one is thinking beyond the time, right at the moment, we have a real chance for a better future with Anthony’s plan to where he wants to take Australia, the people to be able to start getting ahead again.

Updated

Labor’s Tony Burke says he’s been doing the rounds of the polling booths, and that there is a “sense of momentum” (for Labor leader Anthony Albanese, obviously), and a “mood of frustration” (that’d be the other bloke). He tells the ABC this election is different from 2007, when voters got rid of former Liberal prime minister John Howard in favour of Labor’s Kevin Rudd. He says:

The frustration and anger that I hear from people about Scott Morrison, I never heard it [then].

Updated

If you’ve been wondering how Bumley Phartinggale was going in his battle against Felicity Nicelady, First Dog on the Moon has been looking into it:

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said this earlier, about the prime minister’s “I’m a bulldozer/I’m not a bulldozer” approach:

Even Scott Morrison wants to distance himself from Scott Morrison.

I wonder where he got that from?

Updated

Thanks, Calla Wahlquist. I’m refreshed and ready to go. Again.

If you have been barely paying attention or, let’s face it, barely hanging on, Amy Remeikis has you covered.

Prime minister Scott Morrison has arrived at the Sikh Gurdwara Perth, a temple in Hasluck.

Morrison is here with both the Indigenous affairs minister, Ken Wyatt, and the MP for abolished electorate Stirling, Vince Connelly, who is vying to replace Anne Aly in neighbouring Cowan. The prime minister will announce an election commitment of $1.3m for a sporting complex.

Morrison will be received by a greeting party from the Sikh Gurdwara and escorted into the temple to pay respects.

Morrison will then join an afternoon tea with members of the Sikh community in the Tea Room. President of the Sikh Gurdwara Jurnail Singh will introduce the prime minister to deliver remarks and make the announcement.

Updated

Eligibility for telephone voting formally changed

The Australian Electoral Commission has updated its website to allow people who tested positive to Covid-19 after 6pm last Friday to vote over the phone.

The change was announced this morning but was only formalised this afternoon.

It comes after the AEC revealed that up to 200,000 people who tested positive before the previous cut-off of 6pm Wednesday, were still in their seven-day isolation period, and had not registered for postal voting, would not be able to vote.

Electoral commissioner Tom Rogers said:

With many jurisdictions internationally not offering voting services for Covid positive voters during the pandemic, we’re proud to be delivering the combination of safe and secure voting services for all voters.

We heard from community members who did not apply for a postal vote before the deadline, we acted to extend the phone voting service and all Covid positive voters can vote in the election.

The telephone voting queues are expected to be long and the process is complicated – particularly if you’re voting below the line in the senate - so it’s recommended if you need to use this option that you do it as soon as possible, and check your ballot paper online before phoning.

There are interpreters available. Call the AEC support line (not the voting line) on 13 23 26 if that is something you might need.

Updated

In other deeply significant election news, Pig the dugong has called the election for Anthony Albanese.

Pig, 23, lives at Sydney’s Sea Life aquarium. He’s been there since being rescued in 2008 and is one of only two dugongs living in captivity in the world.

His keepers offered him the choice of a blue toy or a red bucket, and he went straight for the bucket, wearing it as a hat. It’s his first election prediction, but he handled it confidently.

Pig is not the only animal to call the election: Speckles the saltwater crocodile also called it for Labor; Gloomy the octopus chose the Coalition, and Hugo the Galapagos tortoise pondered the decision for some time before ignoring both in favour of his girlfriend, Estrella.

You can read more about Pig’s electoral debut here:

Updated

Hello, it’s Calla Wahlquist here, filling in for Tory Shepherd for a moment while she mentally prepares to keep blogging until the final hours tonight.

We were talking about sausages earlier, and the prime ministerial preparation thereof. You may have noticed that Scott Morrion helpfully offered Paul Karp a vegetarian sausage in Perth. Although Paul is not vegetarian we appreciate the effort.

If you are vegetarian or have any other dietary requirements but would still like to participate in the grand Australian tradition on voting day, the Democracy Sausage website is a wealth of information on the offerings available at local polling places around the country.

The election sausage sizzle and cake stall is a major community fundraiser, so please do partake.

National Covid-19 update

Here are the latest coronavirus case numbers from around Australia on Friday, as the country records at least 52 deaths from Covid-19:

ACT

  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 963
  • In hospital: 84 (with 4 people in ICU)

NSW

  • Deaths: 10
  • Cases: 10,084
  • In hospital: 1,226 (with 41 people in ICU)

Northern Territory

  • Deaths: 1
  • Cases: 290
  • In hospital: 23 (with 2 people in ICU)

Queensland

  • Deaths: 9
  • Cases: 6,220
  • In hospital: 478 (with 11 people in ICU)

South Australia

  • Deaths: 4
  • Cases: 3,901
  • In hospital: 218 (with 13 people in ICU)

Tasmania

  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 967
  • In hospital: 44 (with 1 person in ICU)

Victoria

  • Deaths: 23
  • Cases: 12,556
  • In hospital: 514 (with 35 people in ICU)

Western Australia

  • Deaths: 5
  • Cases: 15,205
  • In hospital: 304 (with 11 people in ICU)

Sarah Martin’s taken a look at who might have the most seats when the music stops:

Next stop …

Updated

The prime minister’s office is arguing that communications with a minister and his office, talking points prepared for ministers, and media inquiry documents are not “official documents of a minister” and therefore do not need to be released under freedom of information law.

In 2019 Labor had sought access to documents related to the scandal over forged documents regarding City of Sydney’s annual report out of energy minister Angus Taylor’s office.

The FOI had been rejected on the grounds the prime minister’s workload and the time it would take to process the request would be too onerous.

Last month the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner rejected this claim and ordered PMO to process the request.

As with similar FOIs relating to text messages from Barnaby Joyce’s time as drought envoy, and texts between Scott Morrison and QAnon supporter Tim Stewart, PMO also rejected the request on the grounds that the documents in question are not official documents of a minister.

All three requests are open to appeal, but would take years once again to get processed. But if Morrison loses tomorrow and Labor wins, the documents are very unlikely to be retained for the incoming government.

Please enjoy the footage of Paul “Karpnado” Karp taking it up to Scott “Bulldozer” Morrison:

It all got a little wild earlier, with those competing press conferences that were about both the flu and the monkeypox. In short: get vaccinated for the flu, and read this on the monkeypox:

Prime minister Scott Morrison is speaking again from Perth. He’s talking about women’s sport (because that’s gone so smoothly throughout the election campaign), and the importance of community sporting facilities.

He’s at the Wanneroo Rugby Club, which has attracted election pledges from both Labor and the Liberal party.

And now, the PM says, he’s off to have a sausage.

'It is here': NSW braced for bad flu season

People in New South Wales are being warned to brace for “one heck of a flu season”, with the number of flu-related hospital admissions doubling over the past week.

NSW health minister Brad Hazzard said:

If anybody is in any doubt as to whether we have a flu season, don’t be in any doubt. It is here and you need to take it very seriously. It is absolutely crucial that all of us take this virus very very seriously and go and have a flu vaccination.This is going to be one heck of a flu season.

Last week 129 people were admitted to hospital across the state with the flu, up from 60 the week before. Chief health officer Kerry Chant reiterated the call to get people vaccinated and to stay home when sick.

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Chant says the “preliminary” tests indicate it’s monkeypox, so they’re still calling it a “probable” case.

And I suppose for the community, some of differential diagnosis of what doctors think it might be, and some of things that it might look like is something like chickenpox, which now, primary chickenpox is actually quite a rare disease, because again, thanks to the effectiveness of vaccination.

The infection is usually a mild illness for most people and most people recover in a few weeks. But some people can experience more serious illness. You are infectious whilst you’re unwell, and that extends while the lesions are open. And cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in Europe and North America, the UK, Spain, Belgium, Italy and Canada.

A large proportion of the cases detected overseas are amongst gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men, and we’re particularly urging men who are gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact by phone the sexual health clinic or GP without delay if they have any concerns. It is important to be particularly vigilant if you’ve returned from overseas from a large parties or sex-on-premises venues overseas.

Chant says:

So just to reassure the community – it is not the same spread mechanism as Covid or flu, where it is more fleeting. The incubation period, so everyone will be aware, we’ve talked about that for Covid for so, so long – it takes about one to two weeks after you’ve been exposed that you develop those symptoms, but there can be extremes of five days to around three weeks.

It starts off with fever, muscle aches and pains. You can get those enlarged lymph nodes, headaches, feeling tired and lethargic and can be followed by a rash one to three days later. Often the rash starts on the face, but it can start in other locations. The rash is flat, and then develops blisters and then pus and then scabs, and it can last two to four weeks.

Updated

Back to Dr Kerry Chant! Simultaneous press conferences – a pox on them. Chant (NSW chief health officer) says it’s rare that it spreads among humans. She says:

Monkeypox is in the same family as cowpox, and it’s usually sporadically reported with people who had contacted with infected animals. But it can be spread human-to-human. Again, this is usually rare.

It’s spread by skin-to-skin contact when the lesions are present, and also, it can be spread through droplet exposure. But usually, you need to have quite prolonged contact.

Updated

A lack of immunity to influenza, because we had virtually no cases last year, means we can expect a bigger season this year, Sutton says.

Sutton’s now talking about the flu – which is getting a bit confusing considering we were all focused on monkeypox.

Vulnerable people should all be vaccinated, he says, in fact anyone six months and above should get it.

Cheng says people with monkeypox are infectious in a similar way to chickenpox – until skin lesions heal.

The patient is being treated with antibiotics, but there are no specific antivirals for monkeypox.

Updated

Victoria monkeypox press conference

OK, the TV stations ditched the NSW press conference, but I’ve found the Victorian one online, and Allen Cheng (from Alfred Health) is talking now. He says they’re treating the patient in the same way they’d treat someone with Covid.

He says: “I think it’s fair to say hospitals are under some stress,” but he doesn’t expect monkeypox to contribute to that stress.

Updated

Dr Kerry Chant, the NSW chief health officer, is talking first about the impact of influenza on the health system. She’s begging parents to get their children vaccinated, and for vulnerable people particularly not to delay getting it, because of an earlier start.

Monkeypox presents with initial symptoms that are similar to a cold or a flu, followed by skin lesions, Hazzard says (and apologies, I was listening to audio and expecting the Victorian health minister earlier!).

It is “quite incredible” that a GP managed to identify the illness, he says.

NSW monkeypox press conference

There’s a press conference now about that monkeypox case detected in NSW with health minister, Brad Hazzard, who says this is the first time it’s come to Australia and is giving a bit of a history lesson of the virus.

Updated

Contributor: Wing Kuang

The federal education minister, Alan Tudge, has been missing in action during the campaign but turned up in a campaign video last week in conversation with a “Chinese community leader”, identified only as Marcus.

It turns out Marcus is Marcus Li, who is part of Liberal MP for Chisholm, Gladys Liu’s volunteer team and a vocal supporter of conversion therapy.

On Friday, Guardian Australia reported the elusive Tudge had emerged on WeChat in an interview with Marcus, where he responded generally to questions which included what to do about the “toxic gender ideology” allegedly infiltrating schools and what families can do to guard against “woke” culture.

Li has been spotted campaigning at the prepoll station in Mt Waverley wearing a Liberal T-shirt.

He is apparently an active member of Crossway Baptist Church and of Chinese-Australian Christian community in Melbourne, and has led a group called “Crossway Political Engagement Community” that opposes the Victorian government’s ban on conversion therapy.

An email written by Li in December 2020 and seen by Guardian Australia called for members of the Christian community to contact Coalition MPs and “urge them to oppose any bill banning so-called ‘conversion practices”.

He also urged members to make the MPs “commit to repeal any such legislation when the Coalition is returned to government”.

In another email sent to the church members before the federal election in 2019, Li organised an information event about the Liberal party “for like-minded Christians who want to bring Christian values to the political party”.

Here’s the video of former Labor prime minister, Julia Gillard, declaring the party would be “a government for women”:

Amanda Meade’s Weekly Beast is in, and it’s a doozy:

Laura Tingle again channelling that Laura Tingle vibe:

Journalist Laura Tingle watches the debate between then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and former Labor leader Bill Shorten at the National Press Club in Canberra on Sunday 29th May 2016
Journalist Laura Tingle watches the debate between then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and former Labor leader Bill Shorten at the National Press Club in Canberra on Sunday 29th May 2016. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

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Western Australia records five Covid deaths and 15,205 new cases

There have been five Covid deaths in Western Australia. There are 304 people in hospital, with 11 in intensive care. The state recorded 15,205 new cases:

Updated

So strange that claiming the identity of a piece of heavy machinery so quickly became a thing this election. Here’s Calla Wahlquist on the bulldozer versus the builder (do you have to bulldoze before building?):

Daniel Hurst has been investigating that leak about the foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, asking the national security committee to double the money for the Pacific (and being knocked back).

Turns out there’s more to the story:

Updated

Victoria confirms monkeypox case

Victoria has a confirmed case of monkeypox. Victoria Health says a traveller who returned from the UK has the virus.

Chief health officer, Brett Sutton, and Allen Cheng, an Alfred Health infectious diseases physician, will have a press conference at 2pm.

Updated

Katharine Murphy did a snap factcheck on prime minister Scott Morrison telling Paul Karp he was sounding like a bit of a bulldozer:

I missed a question in the frenzy of the PM’s presser – sorry! He was asked about the million (plus) people seeking help from FoodBank every month, and how he would make their lives easier.

Morrison said (go on, you guessed it) that the answer was, in short, a strong economy that allows the government to provide emergency cash assistance.

Morrison is asked about the “deeply personal” nature of the election, and whether he has any regrets. He says:

What I sought to set out right from the first day of the campaign to this – the choice that Australians have to make. I said this isn’t an election about me or Mr Albanese, for that matter, it’s about you, and what your aspirations are. It’s about what you’re hoping to achieve. It’s about putting what happened with the pandemic well behind us, as we emerge strongly and we secure the opportunities that are ahead of us. And those opportunities are there, but we cannot take them for granted.

And – what a surprise! He then segues into a personal attack on Labor leader Anthony Albanese.

The journalist says:

You have just made it personal again. Are you disappointed that’s the way it’s gone?

Aaaaaaand the Morrison team calls an end to the press conference.

Updated

Paul Karp puts to Morrison that he said he’d be less of a bulldozer, but also “said being a bulldozer can help things be done”.

“How can Australians trust this last minute conversion when you have reneged on it in less than a week and there’s been no changes of policy or substance?”

Morrison:

Paul, I just don’t agree with your assertion.

Karp:

What have you changed, then?

Morrison:

I don’t agree with how you have conceived the whole point I’ve been making.

I’ll come back to this when I get the proper transcript, but it ended with someone saying:

You’re sounding like a bit of a bulldozer.

(I’m told that final comment was from Morrison to Karp, to much amusement).

Updated

Scott Morrison speaks at a press conference in the electorate of Pearce in Perth.
Scott Morrison speaks at a press conference in the electorate of Pearce in Perth. Photograph: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

Morrison is asked about the Biloela family – yesterday he said they were owed “no protection”:

You said yesterday the Murugappan family isn’t owed protection. But your government can use its discretionary powers to allow them to return to Biloela. You said you want to be more empathetic. Will you start by using those powers to allow them to return to Biloela?

Morrison says:

There’s two tracks here. There’s the track in the courts and those courts have not found that a protection obligation is owed under that convention. They have not been afforded the status of refugees. So they’re not refugees. That is what the courts have found. And you know what the government policy is.

If you grant visas to people who have illegally entered Australia, you may as well start writing the prospectus for people smugglers.

Updated

Q: On Chinese influence in the Pacific, you mention that China doesn’t play by the same rules. Your government has made a point about calling out Chinese cyber-attacks, if there’s evidence of corruption in the Pacific or Solomon Islands, will your government make that information or intelligence public as deterrence?

Morrison says:

We’ll do what is in our national interest and the interests of our partner countries. We work through those issues very carefully with our partner countries. We’re very respectful of our family in the Pacific. As I said to you on a number of occasions during the course of this campaign, one of the things I sought to change as prime minister was the nature of our relationship with these Pacific leaders.

Pacific leaders said to me they were unhappy with the way they were treated in the past. And I sought to turn that around. And build close personal relationships with those leaders. And I continue to go down that path and respect [them] as sovereign nations. I will always do that.

Updated

A reporter says he’s been told the leak came from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – which Morrison seemed to hint at with that suggestion that officials were also in the room. Morrison says:

I will not speculate on these issues. I’m not confirming these matters have been discussed.

Updated

Asked if he’ll investigate the source of the leak, Morrison says:

I’m not even confirming there’s a leak. So you shouldn’t jump to conclusions about these things. I know what the reports are, but I don’t discuss national security matters. The reason I don’t … play the game of saying yes or no to these questions, [is] I don’t confirm or deny any issues raised around national security.

Updated

PM fails to deny reports Marise Payne asked for money for Pacific

Morrison won’t confirm or deny the reports that foreign affairs minister Marise Payne lobbied the national security committee for more money for the Pacific. He says:

My national security committee has been extremely tight. And I have no doubt the members of my national security committee are very, very tight. I’m not going to confirm one way or another the matters in that report. I don’t discuss things. My ministers don’t discuss things that are addressed and worked through at the national security committee.

And, asked about that leak, he says:

It’s not just attended by ministers. It’s also attended by officials.

Updated

Also, Morrison says, the frustrations were caused by Covid:

Australians have been doing it tough. And yes, they are fatigued and tired of the difficult challenges they’ve had over recent years. And I understand that frustration. But what’s important is that we channel our decisions and our focus on what comes next. And putting the frustrations of the last few years, caused by Covid, we’ve all worked hard together to see this through and to come through in a strong way, and now we can secure those opportunities ahead.

Morrison is asked about voters wanting to give him a “kick in the shins” tomorrow. He says:

The decisions Australians are making is not about rewarding anyone, or necessarily punishing anyone.

Q: Do you accept that people are upset?

What it’s about is what is going to be best for them going forward. And what is best going to enable their aspirations is having a strong economy and government that knows how to manage money.

Now a question on that case of monkeypox mentioned below. Morrison says health authorities are monitoring the situation very closely, and “no one should be alarmed”:

There are treatments available. The advice I have is that it is a far less contagious condition than obviously Covid, and things of that nature. And so while we should be taking this seriously, at the same time, I would say that no one should be alarmed at this point. We’ve got the best health authorities in the world. That is been demonstrated through Covid, and those same authorities, those same health professionals, advising us through coming through Covid are the same ones managing serious issues [like this and Japanese encephalitis].

Updated

Q: Lots of people have already voted, there are votes for minor parties and independents, “what do you say to Australians about the possibility that when we go to bed tomorrow night, we may not know who will be prime minister?”.

Morrison says:

Elections in Australia always are always close. It’s very rare you get big changes. It happens occasionally. But in my experience, elections are always very close. And Australians weigh up their decision very, very carefully. Now how they have voted, we’ll see, tomorrow night, and potentially in the days that follow, as more and more votes are counted.

(And then we’re back into the “this election is a choice” and “who do you trust” speech).

This election is all about the strong economy, Morrison says, “but we can’t take it for granted”. Then on to home ownership:

Our plan ensures that people in Australia, young people in particular, starting out, can get access to their own superannuation. Their own money, so they can invest in their own home, to give them that start in life they’re looking for, not have to put it off for years and years, in more and more savings, renting and renting, and potentially seeing that dream slip away from them.

Scott Morrison takes a house tour of a property under construction at a housing estate in Jindalee, which is in the electorate of Pearce, earlier today.
Scott Morrison takes a house tour of a property under construction at a housing estate in Jindalee, which is in the electorate of Pearce, earlier today. Photograph: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

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Scott Morrison press conference

Prime minister Scott Morrison is speaking now. He’s in Perth, in the Pearce electorate and is campaigning with Liberal candidate Linda Aitken. She’s hoping to keep the seat in the Liberal fold once sitting MP Christian Porter has retired. He says it’s “in the national interest” for Western Australia to get its “fair share of GST” (that’s the share that other states are not entirely happy with). He says:

And that means the state government, with around $2.5bn extra every year, can invest in those important services much needed here in this country. In the roads, in the schools, in the hospitals, in the transport services, keeping people safe with law and order. That’s what that GST commitment and delivery has been all about. Ensuring that here in Western Australia, a growing state, that they have the resources to enable to support that population.

We want to see more people move to Western Australia. There’s great opportunities. Here in Western Australia, the unemployment rate is the lowest in the country at 2.9%, a full percentage point below the 48-year low of 3.9%, which we learned of yesterday. So we need more people moving west, there’s plenty of room, there’s plenty of opportunities.

Updated

Four Covid deaths, 3,901 new cases in South Australia

Four Covid deaths in South Australia, and 218 people in hospital – 13 in intensive care. SA has recorded 3,901 new cases:

Updated

Wonder how the campaign strategy gurus feel every time they see just how many people have already made up their minds:

Stellar – and frightfully frenetic – effort from Amy Remeikis. And she won’t be slowing down for a while. Here’s hoping I can keep up the pace this afternoon.

Scott Morrison will be stepping up very soon – the wonderful Tory Shepherd will take you through that, as I prepare for tomorrow’s election coverage.

There are still a lot of hours ahead of us – each campaign hour is counted in dog years – so stick with us. And please, take care of you Ax

And in that flurry of news, this also happened:

Probable monkeypox case found in NSW

NSW has put out this alert and NSW health minister Brad Hazzard will be speaking on it soon:

NSW Health has identified a probable case of monkeypox in a recently returned traveller to Europe.

A man in his 40s developed a mild illness several days after arriving back in Sydney. He subsequently presented to his GP with symptoms clinically compatible with monkeypox. Urgent testing was carried out which has today identified a probable case of monkeypox, with confirmatory testing under way.

The man and a household contact are isolating at home, with care and support being provided by their GP and NSW Health.

Cases of monkeypox have been identified in several non-endemic countries in recent weeks, including several European countries and the United States.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said NSW Health has taken steps to ensure it identifies and appropriately managed any potential monkeypox cases.

“NSW Health has issued a clinician alert to GPs and hospitals across the state and has also been in contact with sexual health services to increase awareness of the cases identified overseas and to provide advice on diagnosis and referral. We will be speaking with GPs about this issue again today,” Chant said.

Chant said monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people and is usually associated with travel to central or West Africa, where it is endemic.

“Cases are occasionally reported in non-endemic countries in returning travellers or their close contacts, or in owners of imported pets. People can contract monkeypox through very close contact with people who are infected with the virus,” Chant said.

“The infection is usually a mild illness and most people recover within a few weeks.”

NSW Health will continue to work closely with its colleagues throughout Australia to monitor for cases and ensure the best clinical response if any are identified.

Further information on monkeypox is available from the World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/monkeypox

Updated

Governor general in Timor Leste

An eagle eyed blog follower has pointed out the governor general, David Hurley, is not in the country at the moment.

Hurley is in Timor Leste for the inauguration of José Ramos-Horta.

Which seems important given this story reports Ramos-Horta wants to strengthen ties with China.

It is our intention to expand bilateral cooperation with China,” Reuters reports him as saying.

“Especially in the areas of sustainable, organic agriculture, small industries, trade, new technologies, renewable energy, connectivity, digitalisation, artificial intelligence and urban and rural infrastructure.”

The governor general David Hurley.
The governor general David Hurley. Photograph: Hanna Lassen/Getty Images

Updated

So much political and media attention is focused on higher interest rates for borrowers (who have various tax incentives to be indebted up to their eyeballs) but much less on savers (who are typically taxed as thanks for their frugality).

Anyway, the banks are quick off the mark to raise their lending rates after an RBA rate rise but are typically a lot less nimble when it comes to paying their depositors more.

CBA, the biggest bank, today moved one of its savings rates up by 0.25 percentage points, 17 days after the RBA rate hike on 3 May, RateCity.com.au notes today. That’s after NAB and ANZ moved on 13 May and Westpac on 17 May.

And so, 2m NetBank Saver customers will see their deposit interests rise from a paltry 0.05% to 0.3%. Those with GoalSaver, Youthsaver and Pensioner Security accounts, though, remain unchanged. “Westpac is the only big four bank to lift rates on its adult, kids and retiree accounts. However, on the eSaver account, only the introductory rate has risen, which means existing customers won’t see an increase,” RateCity said.

The banks’ response to the May cash rate hike for savers has been lukewarm at best,” the group’s research director, Sally Tindall, says.

Savers were looking to the first cash rate hike in over a decade with hope, but for millions of Australians their rate hasn’t moved an inch.”

Cue political outrage? There would certainly be more noise if it were borrowers missing out on a rate cut, you’d have to think.

For those shopping around, RateCity notes the Bank of Queensland has hiked its Future Saver account by a full one percentage point, with their young adult accounts offering up to 3%. Across the market, Virgin Money offers some of the best rates at as high as 1.6% but be prepared for delays up to 32 days to withdraw after giving notice.

Anyway, it might soon become a monthly ritual – picking out which are the worst laggards – if investors are right about RBA rate rises to come. Politicians may get more chances to chime in.

Updated

Scott Morrison is at a housing estate in Jindalee in the WA seat of Pearce, where Liberal Linda Aitken is aiming to succeed retiring MP Christian Porter.

The prime minister will tour the property and meet with two couples aged in their 30s and discuss the Coalition government’s policies to assist with home acquisition.

If you count the visit to the pavers yesterday in Tasmania this is five visits to housing estates or residential construction worksites since Monday – and all for pressers so the TVs are guaranteed to run the footage.

Updated

And the press conference ends.

Q: A question for Ms Gillard, based on your plea to the Australian women to vote for Labor, to change the government, we’ve heard so much about the culture in federal politics. The culture in Parliament House. Is changing the government enough to change that culture and have you given the opposition leader any tips on dealing with a hung parliament? Had to slip that one in.

Julia Gillard:

Albo doesn’t need any tips from me.

On your substantive question, to change the culture of Parliament House you’ve got to include more women. And as a political party, we took that decision as long ago as the early 1990s. I am of that generation of Labor women. Everything about this press conference today seems to be revolving around my age, but anyway – I am of that generation of Labor women, Joan Kirner was the huge figure in this, who campaigned for an affirmative action rule.

As a result that, the Labor party is a much more diverse party, a stronger party, and our political party sends around half men, half women, to the parliaments of Australia, the national parliament and the state parliaments. For a long period of time, I’ve been advocating the conservative side of politics take a similar step. And if they did, then we would have a parliament that was half men and half women, and that is really important to changing the culture.

Updated

Q: This has been a very personal campaign. And on a personal level, in a word or just a couple of words, as leaders, what do you have that Scott Morrison doesn’t have?

Anthony Albanese:

I have integrity. And the capacity to take responsibility.

Q: You say you’re only contemplating a majority win tomorrow. There’s a huge early vote, big support for minor parties and independents. A tightening in the opinion polls. Should Australians prepare themselves for the possibility there won’t be a conclusive result tomorrow night?

Anthony Albanese:

A whole lot of people who voted Liberal all their lives have walked away from the party.

The values they hold about individual liberty have been trashed. A government that seeks to divide people isn’t in it that tradition. That they’re not conservatives either, because conservatives respect institutions.

This is a government that have trashed institutions. We’ve had some discussion about savings. They’ve come up with further cuts to the public service.

What after robodebt isn’t obvious, if you make cuts, there’s tragic circumstances to it. When you take humans out of human service delivery, this is a government led by a bloke who speaks about a judicial or quasi-judicial body, the Icac, and calls it a kangaroo court.

There’s nothing conservative about that. No wonder so many judges have come out against that. In a range of seats, people have walked away from voting Liberal.

What I would say to people, vote Labor. Vote Labor. Because there’s two people running for prime minister, there’s three more years of the same, or there’s myself, who wants to bring the country together.

Who wants to be inclusive. Who wants to end the division, end the climate wars, and have a look at the relationship we have, not just with trade unions but with the business community as well.

I put my connections with the business community versus anyone across the parliament. And I see that as a great asset. I see that as a way that we can bring people together. This guy himself has said, remarkably, during this campaign, he’s a bulldozer. Bulldozers wreck things. I’m a builder and I want to build things.

Updated

Q: You mentioned your upbringing a lot during this campaign. You have mentioned your family a lot. I want to know from you, how much have you thought of your mother during this campaign, and 36 hours out from the polls closing, what do you think would she make of the boy from Camperdown being so close to being the next prime minister?

Anthony Albanese:

Julia knew my mum. And she would be the only one here who did. She would be proud as punch. She would be proud as punch.

Because she made the courageous decision in 1963 to keep a child she had out of wedlock. She chose, in order to – to deal with the pressures that were on a young Catholic woman at that time, in those circumstances, to take my father’s name, and I was raised, being told that he had died.

That’s a tough decision. It says something about the pressure that was placed on women.

And pressures that are still placed on women, when faced with difficult circumstances.

So, the fact that – that young kid is now running for prime minister, says a lot about her. And her courage.

But also says a lot about this country. About this country.

That someone from those beginnings, Julia went to my house there in Camperdown, where I grew up, someone can stand before you today, hoping to be elected prime minister of this country tomorrow.

And I hope what that does is it sends a message for people of whatever background, including the fact that it is the first time that someone with a non-Anglo Celtic name has put themselves forward for prime minister, we’ve got a fellow called Malinauskas as the state premier, says a lot about our diversity. But says a lot about our strength.

And that part of what I’ve said during this campaign is no one held back and no one left behind.

No one left behind because Labor will always look after the vulnerable and the disadvantaged. But no one held back because I unashamedly and Labor should always be about aspiration. That’s what we do.

We give people from the humblest of beginnings the best opportunity in life. And I pay tribute to my mum, but I also pay tribute to others who have helped me out along the way. No one gets to this spot by themselves. And I thank Julia and others who have helped me along the way.

Updated

There is a very big push for women voters in this press conference.

More women than men disapprove of Scott Morrison’s leadership. With just hours to go, Anthony Albanese is doing what he can to speak to the undecided women voters.

Penny Wong and former PM Julia Gillard listens to Labor leader Anthony Albanese.
Penny Wong and former PM Julia Gillard listens to Labor leader Anthony Albanese. Photograph: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

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The transcript dropped out, but Anthony Albanese covered off questions on cost of living – he wants it raised and infrastructure, pointing to projects the government announced but never moved forward with, saying Labor will meet its commitments.

Q: There was a time of division within the Labor party, if you don’t mind me bringing up, where Julia Gillard couldn’t rely your support. Can you tell me ... Without being too personal, what that, what you have learned from that in your time. And have you offered Julia Gillard the chance to be Australia’s ambassador in Washington as has been suggested?

Julia Gillard:

Talk about getting ahead of ourselves.

Can I say the following about your question about the long and distant past. My clear memory of that period is that Albo and I worked together every day, we occasionally had differences of views, we never exchanged a cross word, we worked together productively in the interest of the government every day. And when the opportunity came to vote for Albo as deputy prime minister, I did.

Anthony Albanese:

Over here. I will treat that with the seriousness it deserves. Julia Gillard is out there advocating for women, not just here in Australia but throughout the world globally and is doing a fantastic job.

Anthony Albanese listens to former PM Julia Gillard speak to the media during a press conference in Adelaide.
Anthony Albanese listens to former PM Julia Gillard speak to the media during a press conference in Adelaide. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Updated

Q: Mr Albanese, the polls are tight. The prospect of a hung parliament is a reality. Have you spoken to Julia Gillard about how to get through that time as a leader? And Scott Morrison is spending the morning in WA. You want to win three seats there. Are you worried that you are not in WA today?

Anthony Albanese:

I can’t be everywhere. I am in four states today.

That is not a bad effort. So get your skates on. When this press conference ends, it will be going to another state and one after that. I spent from Saturday to Tuesday ...

I put my record up of WA versus Scott Morrison, not just during election campaigns but over many, many, many years. The difference is when I go to WA, I get off the plane, go on get we deviate, funded under the Julia Gillard government.

I got on the Great Western Highway, funded under the Kevin Rudd government. Going to city and see the Pope CityLINK we achieved. A massive change in the whole nature. The whole nature of Perth. We are contemplating getting 76 plus seats for the Labor party, that it’ll are contemplating at the electorate this year.

Updated

Q: Mr Albanese, we are on the eve of the election. As you noted, you’re with somebody today that was regarded as a Labor luminary. Are you going to pressure for the Labor call today and are you contemplating the prospect of defeat?

Anthony Albanese:

I feel a great responsibility to be successful, because I know there are so many Australians out there that are so passionate about changing the government.

People have watched a government led by a man who won’t take responsibility and went – with missing during the bushfires and missing during the floods.

When it came to the pandemic, he said it wasn’t a race to order enough vaccines and there was a worse health and economic outcomes as a result.

And didn’t even learn those lessons in terms of the rapid antigen tests. We have a government whereby it never learns from mistakes of the past. It struggles with the present and has no plan for the future. What we actually need to do is to change the government. This prime minister a couple of weeks ago said he wanted to change.

He wanted to be someone who he wasn’t. He was going to distance himself from Scott Morrison, even Scott Morrison wants to distance himself from Scott Morrison. We can do better than that. We can do so much better than that.

Updated

Q: You can see that you face a long-term funding issue? Have you ruled out increasing the Medicare levy, giving you are not doing that, how are you going to address that? And Julia Gillard, can we ask you, as the prime minister to introduce the NDIS, what do you say to those that are saying that the funding is spiralling out of control?

Anthony Albanese:

We might leave questions for Julia until the end.

On the NDIS, the NDIS was very clear and it is what we will have the heart of it. It is about the people who receive that support and their needs.

One of the things about the NDIS as well is that all the economic analysis shows that if you are allowing people to fully participate in society, criticism and economic return.

It is an investment. An investment in dignity, and investment and inclusiveness, an investment in our nation.

That is what we are committed to doing. The shortcuts we have seen and the waste from the AAT procedures and the legalese and the bureaucracies are really undermining the system. That is why will have extra staff as well for the NDIA.

Updated

Q: Looking back at this campaign, do you think you put your best foot forward? Are you happy with how we have gone? Do people know you are now?

Anthony Albanese:

I think they have always known that and I was never worried about the spin that was put by our opponents of this campaign.

One of the things about this campaign, putting my best foot forward, I am very proud to have served in Julia’s government and in Kevin’s government.

I do note that we are now less than 36 hours from an outcome and I am still waiting for a single criticism from the government of the timing which I served as a senior minister in the Labor governments, over six years. During the campaign, I have been positive.

I have been who I am. I don’t pretend to be perfect. What I do is accept responsibility. I won’t go missing. I will accept the great honour if I am elected tomorrow to the prime minister of this great country.

At Cabra Dominican College on in Adelaide.
At Cabra Dominican College on in Adelaide. Photograph: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Updated

Anthony Albanese then runs through his stump speech.

We have comprehensive positive plans which we will be advocating right up until 6pm tomorrow. What the government has, what the government has is fear campaigns and smear campaigns. Shirking responsibility and smoking while they do it. A government that has left Australia with trillions of dollars in debt but not enough to show for it.

The government took out the mortgage but forgot to buy the house. A government that has not enough to show for the debt that has been created and a government that doubled the debt before the pandemic. That is the choice facing Australians tomorrow. Three more years of the same, three more years of dysfunction and disunity or a Labor government that is united.

Updated

Labor SA premier Peter Malinauskas then steps up:

It’s a great pleasure at [to speak ahead of] the man that I really hope is the next prime minister of Australia, not for the Labor party’s sake but for the sake of the Australian people and our collective ambition for the common good.

Updated

'It will be a government for women,' says Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard, who has seen a resurgence of recognition with younger voters after her “I will not be lectured by that man” speech was turned into a TikTok trend, speaks to the women of Australia:

I’ve got a particular message for Australian women, having served as the only woman to hold the job as prime minister.

You would know in the years since that I’ve made my focus women’s leadership, amongst the biggest things that I do. What I want to see for this country is the government that cares about, values and includes women. And I know that a government led by Albo will do precisely that.

So Australian women, if you want to make a better choice, please, tomorrow, go to your ballot places, go to your polling stations and vote Labor and vote for Albo to the prime minister.

I am very confident it will be a government for women.

Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard speaks at a press conference during a visit to Cabra Dominican College on Friday morning.
Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard speaks at a press conference during a visit to Cabra Dominican College on Friday morning. Photograph: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Updated

Anthony Albanese press conference

The Labor’s leader press conference has begun – he still at a school in Adelaide in the electorate of Boothby.

The bell rings.

There you go, the bells are still tolling for the Morrison government, he says.

Julia Gillard steps forward to give him her endorsement:

It’s a pleasure to be here and as you know I do this much any more. I never do it any more but I have made particular exception today and the reason I’ve done that is because they wanted to come and support my friend, Albo. Albo and I might look really young but the truth is that we have known each other for more than 40 years right back to when we were university students. And with the authority that the more than 40 years of friendship gives me, I can certainly say the following about Albo: he is ready to the prime minister, he will be a great prime minister.

Updated

This from Elias Visontay is worth your time

Clive Palmer’s United Australia party is burning through its projected $70m election advertising spend, including hour-long television commercials, as a data analyst warns the fringe party could have more backing than polls predict, with some voters embarrassed to voice their support.

It has been a verrrrry long campaign

Anthony Albanese, Peter Malinauskas and Julia Gillard are visiting a school in Boothby, and have gotten absolutely mobbed by kids for selfies.

They seemed to have timed the arrival perfectly for the recess time at Cabra Dominican College, with hundreds of students massing to see the politicians and media cameras.

But not everyone was exactly up-to-date with what was going on, or who they were flocking to get photos of.

“He’s the guy running against ScoMo,” one young girl told her friend.

“Is he the guy in the glasses?” one queried back.

“What’s he doing here? None of us can vote,” noted one boy.

Gillard was a hit with many young women, who flocked for photos and quick conversations.

Albanese waved and smiled, while Malinauskas shook hands and tossed a footy with some of the older boys.

Anthony Albanese takes selfies with students during a visit to Cabra Dominican College in Adelaide.
Anthony Albanese takes selfies with students during a visit to Cabra Dominican College in Adelaide on Friday. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Updated

Queensland records nine Covid deaths

Case numbers are also increasing.

Updated

AFL grand final returns to traditional start time

Dipping out of politics for a moment:

The AFL grand final will stick to its usual afternoon time slot at the MCG as the 2022 premiership flag decider returns to Melbourne for the first time in two years, in a win for traditionalists who were resistant to the idea of shifting the start time by two hours.

In an acknowledgment of broad fan sentiment, this year’s showpiece event on 24 September will begin at 2:30pm AEST, after the last two grand finals were forced interstate by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and played later in the day.

Last year’s decider – a twilight start at Perth’s Optus Stadium – was considered a roaring success, while the 2020 game was a night fixture played at the Gabba in Brisbane.

But recent polling of fans had indicated a prevailing preference for an afternoon start – an AFL Fans Association survey revealed 79.9% wanted an afternoon start, while 17.3% preferred a twilight game and just 2.8% a night clash.

The AFL’s chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the league appreciated the success of last year’s match in Perth, but a return to normality post-Covid restrictions was the deciding factor.

“Prior to the start of this season, we emphasised that after two really challenging years, we all yearned to return to the footy rituals and routines that set the rhythms of our lives, to continue to focus on getting back to football and going to football as we know it,” McLachlan said in a statement.

“That return-to-rituals principle underpinned our decision making in ratifying a traditional start time – the prestige, nostalgia and atmosphere of the day grand final is something we all know and love.

Updated

The Labor campaign has moved on to a school

AAP journalist Marty Silk has rounded up the newspaper election editorials:

You can read the Guardian view here:

And hear more about why, here:

There appears to be queues around the nation for prepolling.

People really just want to switch off at this point. We can’t blame them.

Updated

Asked if she has any tips for Albanese’s final day on the trail, Gillard said “he doesn’t need my advice” and that he was “campaigning magnificently”.

Albanese ordered a piccolo, while Gillard had a long black.

Albanese joked about having to pace himself with coffee, saying it was his third for the day so far.

Albanese and Gillard reminisced about their first meeting, debating the exact date but landing on 1982 when she was 21 and he was 18.

The group talked about education, campaigning and their dogs.

Updated

Julia Gillard joins Anthony Albanese on the campaign trail

A who’s-who of SA Labor joined Anthony Albanese at an Adelaide cafe this morning, as former PM Julia Gillard made a rare appearance in national politics.

Albanese kicked off a three-state swing on the last day of the campaign with a visit his team calls a “candid coffee” with local candidate for Sturt, Sonja Baram.

Albanese and his partner Jodie Haydon joined Gillard, as well as South Australian veterans Penny Wong, Don Farrell and Mark Butler at the coffee shop in Norwood.

The quiet cafe descended into a bit of chaos as the national media pack and half a dozen politicians crammed in; as did a group of Liberal volunteers brandishing “won’t be easy under Albanese signs”. The campaigners, wearing shirts for Liberal MP James Stevens, were quickly shooed out by the owner.

A truck bearing a large billboard of the same Liberal ad slowly circled the block.

“I came down to see Albo,” Norwood resident Rob told us, walking down to the scene after seeing an ABC reporter on the news giving a live cross from his local cafe.

He noted Sturt was a long-time Liberal area, but claimed there was a “mood for change” on the ground.

“What’s going on here?” other local regulars asked as they entered to see a dozen flashing cameras. Others walked up and simply turned back, sighing after seeing the media scrum.

Albanese grabbed Butler’s baby son for a cuddle and a photo, as the Labor table chatted. Behind them on a wall-mounted TV, Channel Seven’s morning show was coincidentally interviewing Christopher Pyne – the former Liberal MP for Sturt – in a segment on the most notable gaffes of the election campaign.

A local married couple peered curiously through the window at the packed cafe. Clutching a large SLR camera with a long lens, the man said he wanted to see “fewer words, more action” from politicians.

We’re despairing for state of the world,” his wife said.

Albanese will hold a press conference in Adelaide in around an hour’s time.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese holds shadow health minister Mark Butler’s son Charlie as he shares a coffee with former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard at the Sfizio cafe in the seat of Sturt in Adelaide.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese holds shadow health minister Mark Butler’s son Charlie as he shares a coffee with former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard at the Sfizio cafe in the seat of Sturt in Adelaide. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Updated

Anthony Albanese appears to be taking “embrace the small target strategy” quite literally.

Updated

There is obviously a little bit of anger around the leak in the Australian today about Marise Payne wanting to double the foreign aid to the Pacific – something which was rejected, the report says, on cost.

Simon Birmingham was not happy this morning, telling ABC radio RN:

I’m not going to debate the validity of the newspaper report, especially on the source it came from, if indeed there is accuracy to any elements of it, and those sources could be multiple, as you well know.

Prepoll will easily pass the previous record of 4.6m votes judging from what we are seeing around the country:

Updated

Paul Karp reports Scott Morrison has realised he called his Swan candidate by the wrong name “Kirsty” instead of “Kristy” after reading from his notes and has peppered his speech with a lot of Kristy’s.

Updated

It is all happening

NSW records 10 Covid deaths and Victoria records 23

Scott Morrison has doubled down on his “dying with Covid” rather than “dying of Covid” line he started using earlier this week. But as he admitted himself this morning, there is no breakdown for either.

Updated

Everyone is tired

Scott Morrison’s first event is a community breakfast in Swan, Perth. Almost none of these have been organic events that occur regularly, more usually they are groups convened by the prime minister’s staff and local candidates.

With Liberal MP Steve Irons retiring, Swan is a battle between Liberal Kristy McSweeney and Labor’s Zaneta Mascarenhas.

I toured three Western Australian seats in March, including Swan, a battle that Labor is framing as between an engineer (Mascarenhas) and a political insider, because McSweeney is a former Liberal staffer and regular contributor to Sky News.

Most voters I met had little awareness of their local candidates, and were more focused on Morrison and his handling of the pandemic. It wasn’t good news for the PM, with many thinking he got in the way of Mark McGowan’s response or, at best, took credit for the premier’s work. Far from feeling Morrison was the better devil they know, many noted he had flip-flopped on WA’s border.

At the breakfast Morrison and McSweeney will be joined by senators Matt O’Sullivan and Slade Brockman and the attorney general Michaelia Cash, McSweeney’s former boss.

The event is at the George Burnett Leisure Centre in Karawara. If re-elected, the Coalition has committed to spend $2.42m upgrading the George Burnett Park, including a new Youth Challenge Park, lighting and improvements to the cycling track.

Updated

AEC statement on candidate eligibility

The AEC has released this statement:

On Friday 22 April 2022 candidates for the federal election were formally declared at public events held across Australia, in accordance with the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act).

There has been recent public commentary regarding the enrolment of the following three candidates.

  • Andrew Charlton, ALP candidate for Parramatta
  • Richard Welch, Liberal Party candidate for McEwen
  • Bruce Nockles, Liberal Party candidate for Eden-Monaro

As with similar previous matters, the AEC has investigated each of these matters and at this point it is our view that there is insufficient evidence of enrolment fraud or false declarations to support referring any of them to the AFP.

Updated

Anthony Albanese is about to start his Adelaide campaign with a coffee with Julia Gillard

We should start to hear from the leaders in their press conference soon

What was Penny Wong’s take on the vibe of the country?

Wong:

I’ve been to every state and territory and I’ve spoken to voters in seats across this country from Tasmania to the Northern Territory from the seat of Swan to seats in Victoria and I say this: that the one common theme is people really don’t think Mr Morrison is the man for the future.

I think people understand that he’s a man who blames others.

They’ve heard ‘It’s not my job’ too many times. They’ve heard him blame others. They’ve they’ve heard him always make excuses.

People want change and Mr Morrison gets that, but the only change he’s offering is a promise that he’s going to change.

That’s the thing that’s most remarkable [about] this last week. The Liberals’ final-week strategy is ‘I promise I will change’.

Well, they’re not going to, are they. The only way you’re going to change things is if you change the government.

Updated

The Australian newspaper has reported a leak from the National Security Committee (a big deal in itself) with a story Marise Payne had wanted to increase foreign aid funding to the Pacific last year and was rejected.

Penny Wong, in an interview with ABC radio RN, said the leak from the committee was extraordinary but also showed how the government “dropped the ball” on the Pacific:

This has leaked the day before the election. What this shows again is Mr Morrison dropping the ball that they simply did not keep ensure that they looked at how Australia could make sure we were the partner of choice. How do we ensure that we secure our region? That’s the key strategic question. And on this, Mr Morrison dropped the ball and Australian security is paying the price.

Foreign affairs minister Marise Payne (right) and shadow foreign affairs minister Penny Wong during a foreign affairs debate at the National Press Club in Canberra on 13 May.
Foreign affairs minister Marise Payne (right) and shadow foreign affairs minister Penny Wong during a foreign affairs debate at the National Press Club in Canberra on 13 May. Photograph: Jane Dempster/AAP

Updated

Neil Mitchell: What sort of machine will you be if reelected?

We go into another gear, the strength mode is something you always need as prime minister...

Mitchell:

So what? Are you a bulldozer with different gearing? Or a whipper snipper? Or a lawnmower?

They land on “a bulldozer with a different gear”.

Updated

Asked whether he likes Anthony Albanese or not, Scott Morrison says:

No, I mean, that’s not what politics is about.

I mean, I don’t agree with him.

I don’t think I don’t think he’s up to the job. And I don’t think he knows anything about the economy. And I think he’ll increase debt and deficit. And I think he’s a loose unit on public finances, but, you know, I’ve spent social time with him and none of this is personal.

It’s about the future of the country.

It’s actually not about me and him and our personalities. I mean, that’s what people vote on in reality television.

This is about policies.

Q: Are you really telling me people aren’t voting this election on the basis of whether they like you or Anthony Albanese? Because...

Morrison:

What I’m saying is that that’s not what the election is about.

Asked if he has seen any modelling of the impact of Covid during the winter, Scott Morrison says he has seen some “earlier in the year”.

Has he seen any since then, Neil Mitchell asks? Any updates?

They constantly look at these things, the health department constantly looks at these things,” Morrison says.

Asked about Australia’s death rate, with 75% of Australia’s deaths occurring this year, Morrison says:

What we do know about Covid is that our hospital system has stood up and that that was always the biggest thing we was seeking to protect and Covid now is in a different phase.

We’re in phase four now, where you live with the virus and let me make this point about those who have passed away with Covid. There is a difference between passing away with Covid and passing away because of Covid.

So what is the breakdown? How many have died of Covid and how many have died with Covid?

Morrison:

There is no breakdown of that. The health department isn’t able to break those numbers down at the state level.

But my point is when you’ve got Covid with so many people having it, you will have people who are passing away for many different reasons. And it is highly possible they’ll have Covid. They they might have a cold as well, they might have a number of things.

Updated

Scott Morrison says claims he will lose election 'are wrong'

Scott Morrison claimed underdog status earlier on in this interview with 3AW, but then says people who claim he is going to lose “are wrong”.

Neil Mitchell: Your own polling tells you you’re going to lose?

Scott Morrison:

It’s very tight. Federal elections are always very tight.

Mitchell: Does it tell you are going to lose or does it tell you could win?

Morrison:

It is up to the Australian people and it is the same conversation we had three years ago. I don’t talk about my polling. Why would I talk abut my polling?

Mitchell: Well, because some of the insiders are telling me the prime minister is toast, we’re gone. Are you toast?

Morrison:

They’re wrong. And they were wrong last time to, remember. Everybody is so certain before polling day.

What I am always certain that it was the Australian people and their judgment, who quietly go about their business and listen carefully and consider it and weigh it up.

Prime minister Scott Morrison.
Prime minister Scott Morrison. Photograph: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

Updated

On 3AW Scott Morrison has slightly finessed his answer about minority government, he hasn’t ruled out governing in a hung parliament, he has only ruled out horse-trading Liberal policies:

We form a government based on people supporting our policies. If they want to support our policies, great, but we’re not about to pursue policies that we think would harm the national interests of the economy, the jobs push up inflation, and push up interest rates ... Will I trade policies? No, no.

Asked if he will negotiate with the independents, Morrison said that if negotiate means trading policies, then no, but did not rule out “talking” to them “if they want to support our policies”.

But Morrison said the teal independents “do not support our policies”:

The Greens do not support our policies and frankly we don’t support this because we think they’ll harm Australia.

So, it sounds as though accepting confidence and supply from Bob Katter or others, say, Rebekah Sharkie, then that would be just fine.

Updated

Scott Morrison claims hung parliament will be 'government by Twitter'

Scott Morrison finally got a soft run for his super-for-housing policy on Brisbane B105.

He also unveiled a new attack line against independents: that a hung parliament will result in government by Twitter:

A lot of people are saying that they are a little bit disillusioned by this election that they might be going for the independence or the Greens ... We’re facing a lot of challenges both economically, there’s a lot of pressure, and equally in an international security. The war in Europe, all of these issues. China and its own it’s, it’s a very, it’s a very challenging environment. The last thing we need is a weak parliament where basically, you know, people are voting based on what Twitter’s saying and you know, we need strength in our parliament to get through this. And if a government has to negotiate its existence every day, based on how independents are going to jump by what’s been said on Twitter, then frankly, that’s not going to help the country be strong at this time.

I understand while people are pretty tired of politics, they’ve seen premiers on the screens every day talking about Covid telling them what they can and can’t do. And then pretty much people are pretty much over governments telling them what to do. And I’m looking forward to putting that right behind us and never going back there. So I get it that people are feeling frustrated. But the answer is not to make things worse. By voting for independents that just will create chaos in the parliament.

Updated

Over on Melbourne radio 3AW, Scott Morrison is being pushed on whether he still claims he won’t make any deals with the crossbench in the event of a hung parliament and he turns it into an attack on Simon Holmes à Court.

Neil Mitchell asks if he would “rather lose” than form government with the crossbench:

Morrison:

I would rather run a government that can do the job and not trade away important policies that are really critical for Australia’s future.

If people want to support our policies, fine.

But if people want us to change things that we think would damage the economy and damage Australia’s national security, that’s why I’m saying do not vote for those teal independents. And then we saw the true colours on them.

This week with Simon Holmes à Court, I mean, that is behind all this money coming out of that big family.

And what we’re seeing in the comments that were made about John Howard as the “angel of death”, and then the bullying we saw of Jane [Hume] the other day at the polling booths.

Mitchell: Simon Holmes à Court says he wasn’t talking about Josef Mengele when he said “angel of death”.

Morrison:

Well, who else was he talking about?

Mitchell: [He says] He was quoting a Liberal insider who had said John Howard was the angel of death who turns up when the seats in real trouble.

Morrison:

I think that’s a bit cheeky, and frankly, a bit unbelievable.

I mean, everybody knows what angel of death means. And I think the use of that phrase was absolutely disgusting …

There is a great respect for Mr Howard and his service to the country. And what has been exposed by what Simon has called him and said is the real sort of hatred of the Liberal party and and he’s motivated by these things.

And the way he’s spoken about this to John Howard, I just found absolutely disrespectful. And I think people in those communities, expect their candidates to be respectful, and I think it has exposed those people attendance for exactly who they are just people who hate the Liberal party.


Updated

Jason Clare was asked if he had leadership ambitions. As a parent with young children, he says (publicly and privately) he doesn’t want the job.

He tells the ABC:

No, I don’t. Someone said to me the other day, more zingers than a KFC. My kids have seen more of me on TV than in real life.

Q: Would you like to be leader at some stage?

Clare:

I don’t have that ambition. I hope to be part of an Albanese Labor government, building a better future for all Australians.

Updated

There are about 17,229,000 registered voters in Australia.

And an (almost) record number of them have either voted early or asked for a postal vote, the AEC says:

With one day to go more than 4.6 million Australians have voted at an early voting centre, which is on track to easily eclipse the 2019 total of 4.7 million and set a new record.

The total number of postal vote applications is 2.73 million and more than 25,000 people have voted with an AEC mobile voting team. This means a combined 7.35 million people have accessed voting services ahead of election day, with one day to go.

Updated

And the official statement on the phone voting change has been released by Ben Morton:

The Federal Government, in consultation with the Federal Opposition, has immediately acted on advice provided by the AEC this morning.

Any voter who has tested positive for COVID-19 after 6pm Friday 13th May will be able to access the Secure Telephone Voting service.

It is important that every Australian who is enrolled and entitled to vote, be able to exercise their democratic right and this change ensures that.

Anthony Albanese’s campaign has arrived in Adelaide, first stop in a three-state blitz of marginal seats on the final day of the campaign. We’re expecting visits to Tasmania and Victoria later today.

The Labor leader starts in the seat of Sturt, where he’ll be joined by former PM Julia Gillard for a coffee catch-up at a cafe. Albanese will hold a press conference in Adelaide later this morning.

Labor has launched its “final-day pitch” video on social media, featuring Albanese walking through his childhood suburb of Camperdown, in Sydney’s inner west.

“We can do so much better,” Albanese says, in a black T-shirt and skinny grey chinos.

Spliced with staged footage and clips from the election trail – including packed campaign rallies and cuddling babies – Albanese presents the election choice as three more years of the same or unlocking the potential of this great country:

Our best days are ahead of us.

Updated

Tom Rogers says the AEC staffing issues has also been largely addressed, with election-day polling venues identified to be of concern decreasing from 76 to 15.

It is remote Indigenous communities which are still listed as “venues of concern”:

This is an unalloyed good news story of community members stepping up for democracy in a pandemic but it’s not at all a clear runway – that’s not how running an election in a pandemic works.

Our efforts to engage army reservists, public servants, local councils, police services, job seekers, education departments and others will mean that many regional voting centres with no confirmed staff two days ago will now be able to open.

We couldn’t be more appreciative to the more than 7,000 people who’ve put their hand up to work in these regional areas of need in the past 72 hours.

The absolute vast majority of the 7,000 election day polling places will be in operation and we’re continuing to work as hard as possible to staff the remaining 15 venues of concern.

Those areas are: Kowanyama, Coonawarra, Hyden, Karumba, Jervois, Pannawonica, Arno Bay, Paraburdoo, Georgetown, Broomehill, Wirrulla, Coolgardie and Hopetoun.

Updated

The AEC commissioner Tom Rogers has released a statement:

Telephone voting for people who have tested positive to COVID-19 commenced on Wednesday evening. Only people testing positive after 6pm on Tuesday are able to access the service, in line with the timeframe set out in regulations the AEC must follow.

“There has been a lot of discussion about the telephone voting service provision and we not only understand people’s passion for democratic participation but live and breathe it every day,” Mr Rogers said.

“The telephone voting service was legislated by Parliament as an emergency measure for individuals who had no other voting option once postal vote applications closed at 6pm on Wednesday.”

“The AEC cannot change the eligibility criteria but have certainly heard the concerns expressed by members of the public who tested positive to COVID-19 prior to 6pm on Tuesday and had not cast an early vote or applied for a postal vote.

“We have analysed the service’s take-up so far, our staffing levels and forecasts for use, and are in urgent discussions with Government about the concerns expressed by members of the public.

“This morning I have signed a brief recommending for the eligibility for the service be expanded.”

Updated

Covid phone voting fix confirmed

Scott Morrison has confirmed the government will expand eligibility for telephone voting.

On 6PR radio he said
:

What we’ve been waiting on is for the electoral commissioner, the special minister of state he’s been working with the electoral commissioner in recent days, and we’ve been waiting for the electoral commissioner’s advice on how he believes this can be fixed. We’ve received that advice now, and they’ll be expanding eligibility to people who tested positive after 6pm last Friday, that’s the recommendation of the electoral commissioner. He’s worked through the logistics of all of that, what that means, on the call centres and all of those sorts of things, the practical issues that he has to be satisfied of.

Updated

Jason Clare, who has acted as Labor’s campaign spokesperson this campaign, is then asked about Anthony Albanese’s campaign “gaffes”:

I think what Australians have seen over the last six weeks is that Albo is an honest bloke. He doesn’t treat politics like it’s a game. He didn’t make up his own nickname. He’s a bloke who will take responsibility, not shirk it. He’s not the sort of bloke who will say it’s not my job. He’ll bring the country together.

Australians have had a gutful of this rip and divide, pull Australians apart, try to create a wedge on every issue. He has brought business and unions together to create better outcomes.

Updated

Jason Clare has responded to the news there is a solution on the horizon for Covid-positive people who became positive after the legislated phone voting cutoff while speaking to ABC TV:

We’re glad to hear it. This is ridiculous, the idea that potentially 200,000 Australians who got Covid last weekend could have missed out on voting this weekend. Just because of a regulation. This can be fixed with a stroke of a pen. I suspect the only reason the government is acting now is because of the media pressure. Good on the media for highlighting this issue. If it wasn’t for the media, potentially 200,000 Aussies could have missed out on casting their vote tomorrow.

Updated

Anthony Albanese says Labor has been pushing for a solution:

We have been raising this with the government for a series of days through Don Farrell – our shadow minister. The government can fix this and they should. Our vote is precious. Our democracy is precious and it shouldn’t be the plaything of government incompetence.

The independent candidate in Kooyong Dr Monique Ryan was also planning an urgent court challenge.

Updated

Newly diagnosed Covid-positive people may be able to vote by phone

A brief has been approved to change the legislation and allow all Covid-positive Australians to use the phone voting system, the ABC reports.

There is a phone system in place, but the cutoff was on Tuesday. Anyone who tested positive in the gap before Tuesday 6pm, who didn’t have a postal vote, had been left without options.

That looks to have changed.

Updated

That’s the danger with such a big run of interviews – people want to talk about the issues.

The voting issue is gaining momentum.

Between Covid, problems for some people overseas, coronavirus impacting the available workforce and the ability to open up booths, particularly in rural and regional communities, and the impact of floods in northern NSW, voting has been a very fraught issue this time round, and the AEC has been working overtime trying to plug the gaps.

Updated

Over on the Nine Network, Scott Morrison is all about those “quiet Australians” again:

That is up to them. I have always respected the decisions of Australians, those quiet Australians as I refer to them, they are out there working hard every day and they are considering their choice very carefully.

Updated

Scott Morrison rules out intervening on behalf of Biloela family

Scott Morrison has been asked if he’s being less of a bulldozer, why not let the Murugappan family go home to Biloela.

Morrison told ABC News Breakfast:

There’s two issues goes on there, one is a ministerial case, being considered by the minister for immigration and he does that independently, that is the matter for the minister for immigration. On the second point, there are court matters still proceeding on this particular issue and to date there has not been a finding that Australia has a protection obligation in that case.

The discretion to allow them to stay is …

a ministerial intervention case and [Alex Hawke] makes that independently, he doesn’t do that on the basis of my recommendation or anyone else. He considers the matters before him. Again, I don’t pressure my ministers on these one way or the other. It is why it is called ministerial intervention and it is independent.

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Scott Morrison has firmed up his answer about whether all Australians should be able to vote. He told ABC News Breakfast:

We want to make sure Australians have as much opportunity as they should in a democracy to vote, and any recommendation that the electoral commission provides to us we will certainly act on, whether that means changing regulations or anything of that nature. We will take his advice. It is not something for politicians to interfere in. We have an independent process but we are ensuring the commissioner has every support that he can conduct the election in the best possible way.

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That question to Scott Morrison came after yesterday’s press conference. He was asked whether he thought there was any comfort for people who were doing it tough to hear that unemployment was low.

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Scott Morrison has been challenged on Channel Seven’s Sunrise about the fact that unemployment is just 3.9% but real wages are going backwards. He 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.

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Scott Morrison is now about to speak to the Seven Network. It’s about 5.30am in WA so he is using 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 up to a World Health Organization treaty that would allow the Chinese government control over our health restrictions, including lockdowns. He 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 before and I certainly wouldn’t allow it in terms of 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 just want to be very clear, Australia would never sign up to such a treaty under my government, and they can be very confident about that when they see those things, they can just ignore them because they’re rubbish.

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Scott Morrison has suggested the government would act to close the lacuna 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 then of course the government would support that. I’m sure the opposition would as well ... But the powers that were sort of provided, and of course we want to see people have the opportunity to vote and, and we’d encourage the commissioner to continue to administer the election independently, and manage it in the way that the commission always have ... If the commissioner wishes to make recommendations, then the government would certainly act on those recommendations.

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 these things should be decided by politicians – it should be decided by the electoral commissioner. 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 maximises the opportunity for everybody to vote.

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Good morning

It’s the final full day of campaigning before the polls officially open and both leaders are zooming across the country amid blanket media appearances as they try one final 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 and Hasluck, as well as Curtin, which has faced a strong independent challenge.

Anthony Albanese continues his marginal seat blitz with three states on the agenda this morning after a whirlwind visit to Queensland yesterday. It’ll start in Victoria as he tries to find Labor’s pathway to a win – as well as 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 of 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 the most comprehensive coverage you’ll find of election spend this campaign (there’s a big whiff of pork in the air) while Daniel Hurst highlights what’s happening in foreign affairs and defence. And me? I’ll continue to be your typing monkey for most of the day. I can’t bare 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.

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