One week out and our Pub Test panel is still searching for campaign answers
ONE WEEK out from the 2022 federal election and the Newcastle Herald's "Pub Test" panel are left wanting in a number of areas.
For all our panelists, both debates between Anthony Albanese and Scott Morrison were nothing more than "slanging matches" with "no real substance".
Tea Gardens retiree Gordon Grainger, a staunch Liberal, said the personal nature of both campaigns has been disappointing thus far.
"Both leaders are playing the man not the ball. I find that very poor in an election process," Mr Grainger said.
"Party philosophy is far more important and where they are going to take the country."
Bernie Wilson, an avid Newcastle surfer, said he "had to laugh" when Mr Morrison referred to the Opposition Leader as a "loose unit".
"If it someone got a called me a loose unit in my circle of friends you would wear it as a badge of honour," Mr Wilson said.
The Prime Minister used the term to describe Mr Albanese when speaking about the Oppositon Leader's economic policy, specifically minimum wage.
There has been much debate between the leaders this week around whether or not the minimum wage should be increased the 5.1 per cent required to remain in line with inflation and avoid a "real wage cut".
While all panelists the Herald spoke with supported the notion that minimum wage earners deserve a pay rise, Mr Grainger was concerned with the impact this may have on a stable economy.
"The idea of a 5.1 per cent increase across the board for wages is spelling a potential disaster," he said.
"We are already uncompetitive in a number of manufacturing industries and that would make us even more so."
Business owner and conveyancer Leah Stevens described Mr Morrison's refusal to agree to the wage increase as "a bit rough and could be quite harmful to his chances".
Mr Wilson and university student Jasmine Stuart both said that after more than three years spent relying on essential services during COVID-19, it would be "shameful" not to raise the minimum wage.
"It is disgusting that raising wages at the rate of inflation is a controversial issue," Ms Stuart said.
Both Ms Stuart and Ms Stevens want to see an increased focus on climate action in the final week of campaigning.
Ms Stevens, who has already taken the opportunity to vote early and cast her lot with the Greens, supported Scott Morrison's funding announcements while in Warners Bay this week but remains "cynical".
"It is pretty convenient that ScoMo is interested in renewable technology two weeks out from an election. But where has this been for the last two decades? We could be so far ahead on this issue," Ms Stevens said.
Mr Wilson, who works as a coal miner at Myuna Colliery, is looking for action from both parties in re training coal workers through Tafe.
"It's a good thing that they are investing in universities and technology but for many of the people I work with uni isn't an option they will consider," Mr Wilson said.
Both televised leaders debates this week made particular mention of corruption and accountability in the political system.
While the lack of action on a corruption inquiry didn't even come close to passing the pub test, all the panelists noted a lack of empathy as a defining factor in the shift away from major parties.
"I think as a Prime Minister their role is to represent as much of the population as they can," Ms Stuart said.
"Managing the economy might be a part of that but if you are neglecting the millions of Australians that are on welfare and minimum wage by prioritisng big businesses and your own re election over understanding the experiences of people that aren't as privileged then I think you are failing at the job of representing."