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Federal election: Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese face off in final debate before election — as it happened

Watch ABC News Channel's comprehensive coverage of the 2022 Federal Election.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese trade barbs on cost of living pressures, wage growth and national security issues in the third and final leaders' debate.

Look back on how the third debate unfolded in our blog.

Key events

Live updates

By Jessica Riga

And that's a wrap

Now that we have a winner, we're going to close our live blog here.

Thank you for your company this evening! We'll be back tomorrow with the latest updates from the campaign trail. 

In the meantime, you can stay up to date here on our Australia Votes page.

Goodnight!

By Jessica Riga

Key Event

Voters pick Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese as winner of third leaders' debate

We have a winner!

Voters have picked Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese as the winner.

Here's the overall result:

  • 50 per cent voted for Albanese

  • 34 per cent voted for Morrison

  • 16 per cent are still undecided

And we just got the results from the remaining electorates. Here's how it all shaked out:

Lilley in Queensland:

  • 54 per cent voted for Albanese

  • 41 per cent voted for Morrison

  • 5 per cent are still undecided

Boothby in South Australia:

  • 52 per cent voted for Albanese

  • 32 per cent voted for Morrison

  • 16 per cent are undecided

Solomon in the Northern Territory:

  • 50 per cent voted for Albanese

  • 25 per cent voted for Morrison

  • 25 per cent are undecided

Bass in Tasmania:

  • 52 per cent voted for Albanese

  • 32 per cent voted for Morrison

  • 16 per cent are undecided

By Jessica Riga

Chisholm votes for Albanese

We have a result from the seat of Chisholm in Victoria. 

  • 52 per cent voted for Albanese

  • 35 per cent voted for Morrison

  • 13 per cent are undecided

We're waiting on four more electorates now. 

By Jessica Riga

Macquarie votes for Albanese

The NSW seat of Macquarie has voted Anthony Albanese as the winner. 5 more electorates to go!

  • 50 per cent voted for Anthony Albanese

  • 25 per cent for Scott Morrison

  • But 25 per cent are still undecided

By Jessica Riga

More of your thoughts on the debate

Debate had some very key topics with great responses on Child Care, ICAC and Climate Change.

But there was little focus on issues facing First Nations people, like CDP reform, infrastructure for remote communities and the Uluru Statement.

-Arnhem Politics Nerd

By Jessica Riga

Hasluck can't pick a winner

We're finally getting some results from the pub test now.

The seat of Hasluck in Western Australia hasn't been able to decide between the two. 

  • 44 per cent voted for Albanese

  • 44 per cent voted for Morrison

  • And 12 per cent are still undecided

By Jessica Riga

A mixed bag in our comments section

It's hard to decide... buti think I'm closer... as someone who has immigrated to Australia and grown up in a family business (no skin in the game yet) I think I'm tending to Scott. He seems to understand our pressures and the cause of them better. Trust that he can then make a better decision.

-Nearly decided

Really good to see a civil debate. It really showed Scott Morrison's character when he attacked Albo after being asked to offer a compliment. Was great to see Albo being able to be genuine and sincere instead of on the run responding to constant attacks from Scott.

-Kerrod

Most if the same, so nothing gained from this debate


-Anthony

By Jessica Riga

Some more comments from the pub

We're hearing from those in South Australia at the moment. 

Alex said: "If I had to decide between two I would have to say Anthony Albanese won the debate. I think it's more of a character issue. He seemed more in touch with the Australian public."

James said: "I came into this undecided. I think both leaders addressed the points well. I was more swayed towards the Labor response in terms of climate change as well as the federal ICAC."

And when asked if she had been swayed to vote for either party, Janet said: "not from the debate that I heard tonight, no."

By Jessica Riga

More of your thoughts on the debate

I didn't watch the debate, just read along here.
Seemed to me that they were both making the same points they've been making the whole time - so there was nothing in this debate that changed my original preference.

-Same same

By Jessica Riga

Your thoughts on the debate

This is a better run debate than the last two. I am glad to see that we have learnt from bad experience. Keep it up.

-Reg

By Jessica Riga

What do those at the pub think?

Seven just had a chat to some voters at the pub, here's what they said:

Susan said: "At the end of the day it's Scotty from Marketing and a real man. I would rather go for Albo who spoke from the heart. Scotty is still a marketer."

Dave said: "I'm still undecided but leaning more to Scott Morrison. It's probably more that the Labor Party policies around things are all uncosted and so I guess we know what Morrison has done and maybe not done. And so at the moment he's got his nose in front."

By Jessica Riga

Now to find out who won

It's over! Soon we'll be hearing from punters across the country and see who passed the pub test. 

But who did you think won? What did you think of the debate? Moderator Mark Riley just described it as "spirited and civil."

By Jessica Riga

Here is Anthony Albanese's closing statement

"I have a plan for a better future, a plan to make sure we can grow the economy in a sustainable way by investing in infrastructure, by investing in climate policy, by making sure that no-one is left behind and no-one is held back. We can do better. We have a range of challenges facing us as a nation. We have childcare costs that are spiralling, that stop women working that fourth or fifth day. We can do better than that. We have had 22 attempts at climate policy and we have issues, floods and bushfires, we have seen the impact.

"We can do better than just continuing to drift there. We have pressure where so many people can't see a doctor when they need one. We can do better than that. We have young Australians who can't get the skills and training that they need for the jobs of the future. And we can do better than that.

"This election is a choice. It's a choice over whether we seize the opportunities which are before us. We have a government that's asking for three more years of more of the same. They don't really have a plan or a policy for the future, because they struggle with the present. That's why at this election we have got constructive plans and processes in place that we are putting forward to the Australian people. If we don't elect a new government we will miss out on the opportunity to increase women's economic participation through cheaper childcare.

"We will miss out on the opportunity to end the climate wars. We will miss out on the opportunity to deal with cost of living and stop everything going up except for people's wages. If we can't even get consensus here about a $1 increase for the minimum wage then I think that this country isn't able to go forward. I firmly believe that we have a great future but in order to do that we need a better government."

By Jessica Riga

Here is Scott Morrison's closing statement

"Thank you Mark and thank you everyone for joining us here this evening to are this debate and thank you Mark and Anthony. There are great opportunities ahead Australia and I'm really excited about them. Over the last couple of years we have come through the most difficult times that we could have ever imagined and couldn't have contemplated through years ago, but here we are. We have stuck together.

"As a government we have backed you in. This is one of the big differences, I think, in what we have heard tonight. We believe in you, we believe a strong economy is based on you. We don't believe the government is the answer, we believe you are the answer and that's why our policies are designed to do. That's why we believe a strong economy is the best way to enable you to fulfil your aspirations for you and your family. To shield you against the pressures that are going to come in the years ahead on our economy, putting upward pressure on interest rates and the cost of living. To shield that job, to shield that income and that business and that retirement saving that you have. It's also going to guarantee those essential services so we can tackle the big problems in aged-care. 19.1 billion dollars to support our response to the Aged-Care Royal Commission that I called.

"These are tough challenges. Continuing to support Medicare at record levels. Bulk billing at 88.8%, it's up from 82.2 when we first came to government. To ensure we keep building those roads and infrastructure that keep you safer and get you home safe and on time to be with your family or to get to work. And to ensure that we continue to invest in our defence forces and our secure and intelligence agencies. This election is a choice about who can manage and deliver that strong economy, because that's what your future depends on. And now is not a time to risk that on an unproven Opposition and Labor leader who don't have a plan for our economy and haven't got the experience with the challenges that we face. A vote for the Liberals and be Nationals on May 21 is the strong, responsible and safe choice for a strong economy, for a stronger future."

By Georgia Hitch

Time for some compliments!

Ok we're at the end of the debate and just before closing statements the leaders have been asked to share one strength of the other.

Scott Morrison is going first:

"The thing about Anthony I've always admired he has never forgot where he has come from. He grew up in housing commission and I have no doubt that the other day on Mother's Day is always probably the toughest day of each year, it is for him. And he has shown the ability to rise to be the leader of one of the oldest parties in this country, and he should be commended for that. He has shown a great deal of determination over that period of time to rise from very humble beginnings.

I admire that in Australians and I admire that in Anthony. That's great.

But you know, to do this job you need to know your stuff. You need to be across the detail. You need to not make things up on the run and you can't be loose on the economy. Because too many Australians livelihoods dependent on it. As much as I respect what he has been able to achieve I just don't believe that he has been able to demonstrate that he is able to get across the detail to do this job."

Mark Riley made a joke about his comment being a "compliment sandwich", with Albanese replying that "he was trying" with a bit of a laugh.

Now it's Anthony Albanese's go to say something nice about Scott Morrison:

"The job of prime minister is one that is obviously a difficult one to do. Scott's absolutely committed to his nation. And I admire that. And on a range of issues, to name one, mental health in terms of young people. We have seen increased funding for mental health but in particular increased funding for head space and those issues. Mental health is something that when we were all a bit younger wasn't spoken about. It's a good thing it's being spoken about, it's a good thing the prime minister speaks about it as well."

By Jessica Riga

Albanese asked about free childcare

Here's another question from Lanai Scarr: Mr Albanese, you have said you want a Productivity Commission into this issue, there has already been one, why do we need another one?

Here's Anthony Albanese:

Albanese: Because you need to, when we move to more affordable childcare they will be able to see what is happening in practice, what the implications are. Where Scott I think is wrong on this issue is to see it as just a cost. It is an investment in women, it's an invest in families, it's an investment in our economy because it will grow, all the analysis shows that every time you spend a dollar on childcare more than $2 comes back. Through economic growth, through increased work force participation, through increased productivity. Australia has fallen to 70th in the world for women's economic participation and opportunity. We can do so much better than that. We do very well on education for women, but that isn't translating into those full- time permanent career jobs and those career paths. It's also having a significant income whereby women — impact whereby women are retiring with up to 40% or more less retirement incomes than men.

Lanai Scarr: If it's so important will you commit to free childcare? Why can't it be brought into line with the school system?

Albanese: Because what we are doing is putting forward very clear costed policies. Our policy is costed policies. Our policy is costed on childcare. It is 5.4 billion dollars across the forward estimates. It's an investment. It is less than the waste that has gone on in this government. Far less. 

By Jessica Riga

Is this an issue you talk to Jenny about?

Here's another question from Lanai Scarr: Mr Morrison, has been reported that an MP in your party room suggested that childcare and women accessing childcare was outsourcing parenting. Do you agree, and is this an issue you ever talk to Jenny about?

And here's Scott Morrison's reply:

"No, it's not something I agree with. And we talk about childcare and many issues all the time. Our children themselves went through childcare and we went through that with other parents and their families. We have a responsible and affordable policy on childcare. What we don't do is go and promise the world when you know you can't pay for it. If you go to 90% childcare for everybody that is a policy that all Australians are going to have to pay for. What we have demonstrated is we have been getting women into work because they want to work and they want those opportunities and a strong economy is what provides for it. It's fine to make big promises, but out of got to be able to pay for them. We haven't seen one policy costed by the Labor Opposition."

By Georgia Hitch

Does Labor have a "sneaky carbon tax"?

Lanai Scarr's follow up question is about the safeguard mechanism, which Morrison referred to in his last answer (you can read more about what it is here).

Scarr: Prime minister you've called that a sneaky carbon tax, a carbon tax by stealth. Is that really the truth though? 

Morrison: "It is."

Scarr: Mr Albanese, how do respond to that?

Albanese: "Lanai, there he goes again. He says he supports net zero by 2050 and comes up with all the reasons why nothing should happen. The truth is this government have had 22 different energy policies and haven't landed one of them. Business is so far ahead of the government with its strategies. That's why our policy will end the climate wars. It's supported by the Australian industry group, National Farmers Federation, Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the ACTU. 

We need to move on this from this debate. Climate change is real and it's here now. We see it with the bushfires and floods. We need to make sure that we actually harness the energy that business has for this change to make sure that we take advantage of the opportunities which are there. Australia can be a renewable energy superpower for the world if we seize this opportunity."

By Jessica Riga

Why can't free childcare continue?

Here's another question from The West Australian's Lanai Scarr: Women are getting a stronger voice in particularly this election campaign. Looking forward, they want certainty, security and equality, especially in the workplace. Free childcare happened during the pandemic, you've both spoken about it tonight. Why can't free childcare continue?

Albanese: "We have a plan for more affordable childcare where 96% of families will be better off. We have also said that what we will do is to have the Productivity Commission in our first term look towards whether you would move to a universal system of affordable childcare.

What are the economic implications of that? Why do we do cheaper childcare?

It's not welfare, it's economic reform. It will boost productivity, help business, help women's retirement incomes. That's just one element that we have. We also want to make gender pay equity an objective of the Fair Work Act. We want to make sure that we deliver on safe work places as well, which is why we will adopt all 55 recommendations of the Jenkins Review in to safety in the workplace, including the obligations on employers to do what they can to make every workplace safe."

Morrison: "I mean when you look at the results this is an incredibly important issue. The gender pay gap has fallen from 17.4% under Labor to 13.8% where it is now, and it even went down to 13.4%. What does that mean? It means women today because of the closing of the gender pay gap under our government are better off. 

There is 1.7 million more women in work than when we came to government.

Female participation in the work force is at record levels. Opportunities have been provided for women into get into the work force and we have been championing women's entrepreneurship and championing women in non- traditional trades and skills.

So many more women taking up jobs in the Western Australian mining industry but also up in Queensland. I've met them at Snowy Hydro, in the manufacturing industries, I've met them taking up that's these jobs and getting the skills. We have got $3.8 billion invested in the skills of our country providing record numbers of apprenticeships right now and women are taking up more and more of those jobs."

By Georgia Hitch

More on carbon taxes

Lanai Scarr: Most economists do believe pricing carbon is the most effective way to reduce emissions. You are going to this election with a strong mandate on climate change. If you're saying no carbon tax or no price on carbon, how are you going to achieve net zero by 2050?

Albanese: "We have got a better system. We are using the Abbott government system that it created, the safeguard mechanism, but also what we have is a plan to fix transmission, what that's about is making sure that renewables can plug into the grid. At the moment that's one of the weaknesses that will stabilise the grid. We also have a plan for electric vehicles. We want to encourage the take-up by reducing taxes on electric vehicles is what we will do."

Lanai Scarr: Mr Morrison, you also want to achieve, said you are going to achieve net zero by 2050. How are you going to do that and why are most economists wrong if they say a price on carbon is the right way to go?

Morrison: "We are investing $22 billion to develop the technology that Australia and in fact the world needs to address the challenge of climate change. Our plan is about technology, not taxes. It's about not mandates, but giving people choices about how to achieve this and to have reliable affordable energy in our system to ensure we can make the transition over a long period of time. Anthony talks about the safeguard mechanism which he says he is borrowing from us.

"What he is doing is lowering the threshold which means a carbon credit scheme which will put additional prices on mines, oil, gas, petrol and cement production, that's what he won't tell you. He won't tell you by investing $20 million in the transmission network which adds another $50 billion from the private sector that has to be recovered from you, the electricity consumer, and that will put up electricity prices by $560 a year."