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Voters Choose Shorten Over Turnbull In First Campaign Debate

The two leaders faced questions on health, education, housing affordability and Bosnian extraditions at a people's forum in Western Sydney overnight.

The Day So Far

  • Both leaders are in Sydney tonight for the first debate of the campaign.
  • Malcolm Turnbull had a fun day in Adelaide, announcing some infrastructure spending for South Australia and going for a shopping centre walk to meet the locals.
  • Bill Shorten spent the day in Sydney discussing Labor's education plans (again).
  • The High Court dismissed a challenge to the government's senate voting reforms.
  • Students have expressed their concern after Malcolm Turnbull failed to elaborate on the government's higher education plans while visiting a university today.


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The undecided voters in the room have given it to Shorten by a decent stretch.

And the room gives it to... 42 Shorten 29 Turnbull 29 Undecided #peoplesforum

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Here's a look at how the debate unfolded on social media.

Here's the final rundown on how @TurnbullMalcolm and @billshortenmp compared in terms of Twitter mentions. #ausvotes

Here are the top topics during tonight's leaders debate on #ausvotes

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Aaand that's a wrap. Both leaders made it through the forum relatively unscathed. Bill Shorten looked very comfortable, which makes sense when you remember that he's done a lot of these forums before. The PM stuck to his script and did a good job of prosecuting his arguments and attacking the opposition.

It's worth noting which subjects did and did not come up tonight. Some things that were raised: - Banks - Health and education - Housing affordability - Privatisation - Childcare

Not raised: - Asylum seekers - Science and innovation - Infrastructure - Climate change - Marriage equality

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This is a question which should play right into the government's hands. Malcolm Turnbull points out that the previous Labor government inherited a surplus and squandered it (on that pesky GFC, it must be said). He also accuses Labor of opposing many of the government's big savings measures. It's all about jobs and growth, the PM reckons.

Shorten won't put a time frame on a return to surplus. He says doing so would be "reckless".

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PM Turnbull says he understands Samantha's concerns, citing the experience of his own family.

Both leader iterate their policies on childcare. Bill Shorten says he'd like to direct more funding to people who earn less than $80,000. Malcolm Turnbull says the government would like to do more, but has faced a hostile senate. (A double dissolution election may be helpful for that)

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Bill Shorten pledges to reverse recent cuts and "fully fund" the ABC. It's worth noting that the recent Budget maintained funding levels for the ABC (with a small haircut for regional news services).

The PM says he's committed to arts funding.

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Malcolm Turnbull, with a big smile on his face, takes a chance to attack Labor's negative gearing policy. The PM says that there are 69,000 families around Windsor, and "every single one of them" will see rent increases under Labor.

But the questioner, Julie, hits back, she wants to know why she can't access her super in order to pay for a home. She wants to make it easier for young people to crack into the housing market.

The PM says that while it's a worthy idea, it's anathema to the superannuation system, which is designed to help people in retirement. Bill Shorten agrees, then goes on to attack the government's tax cuts for higher earners.

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Turnbull seizes the moment to announce the government has struck a deal with pathologists to continues bulk billing in the sector.

Shorten takes the chance to attack the government's plans to introduce a GP co-payment, which Turnbull points out is no longer government policy.

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Prime minister Turnbull answered first, describing the government's plans for jobs and growth (DRINK), and discussing the Budget's measures which crack down on multinational tax avoidance.

Bill Shorten says Labor lead the government in cracking down on multinationals and speaks about the collapse of the manufacturing industry in Australia in recent years. He then shifts to Labor's education plans, which he's been discussing all week, but Sky News' moderator David Speers is having none of it and directs Shorten back to the question.

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The only poll that matters.

Here are the ballot boxes. #leadersdebate

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An early victory for the PM.

Malcolm Turnbull wins the coin toss and will speak first.

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It's all happening out at Windsor in Sydney's west. BuzzFeed News political reporter Alice Workman is there, bringing you all the colour of the evening.

"Mr Harbourside Millionaire meet the plebs" #ausvotes #leadersdebate protests

Protests against Malcolm Turnbull outside the first #auspol #leadersdebate

No Western Sydney Airport protestors #ausvotes #leadersdebate

Some of the best protest signs (including Smelly the dog) at the #leadersdebate #ausvotes protest

We Love Solar are here #ausvotes #leadersdebate

A few of the locals aren't happy about the "blow in media". Apparently we're sitting in the exact spot they sit every Friday! #leadersdebate

Some of the upcoming attractions at the Windsor RSL #leadersdebate #ausvotes

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💅 💅 💅

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Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull us conducting a shopping centre walk in Adelaide. Things mostly seem to be going well.

These ladies just told me they thought Malcolm Turnbull was quite handsome. #ausvotes

FIRST KISS OF THE CAMPAIGN. Not a baby, but a pensioner. #ausvotes

Last stop of the PM's #Hindmarsh shopping centre visit - Um🐟 Sushi #ausvotes

Only one slight hitch.

The PM had 1 heckler - she asked what he was doing about homelessness, and was escorted away by AFP after knocking things over #ausvotes

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Foreign minister Julie Bishop has confirmed a 34-year-old Australian man has been killed in a shooting at our embassy in Baghdad.

"The government extends its condolences to the family of the Australian man over this tragic incident," she said. "All appropriate assistance is being provided to his family," Bishop said.

The man was a former SAS commando providing security for the embassy, Fairfax reports.

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Former Labor leader Mark Latham has penned a whole column about them, in fact. But Shorten, who lost 15kg in preparation for the election campaign, is having none of it.

"I think I'd put Mark Latham's fashion advice in the same box I put Scott Morrison's," Shorten said when asked about the weighty issue this morning.

Right, on to more important things.

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Twitter has unveiled a fun little emoji for the election campaign, and revealed some stats about how the election campaign is unfolding on social media.

Add a little more colour to your election Tweets with the new #ausvotes emoji

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The reforms make it much harder for Day, along with other independent senators Jacqui Lambie, Glenn Lazarus, David Leyonhjelm, Ricky Muir and Dio Wang to win back their seats at the upcoming election.