Albanese and Morrison to face off in second leaders’ debate of federal election, Nine says

Anthony Albanese and Scott Morrison will go head to head in a second leaders’ debate less than a fortnight out from the federal election, the Nine network has announced.

It follows days of backroom negotiations between the two major parties while the opposition leader recovered from his recent bout of Covid-19.

The National Press Club and free-to-air networks ABC and Seven have also pushed for debates however Morrison indicated on Thursday he would only accept commercial networks.

The hour-long debate, to take place at 8.30pm on Sunday 8 May will employ a panel of three journalists to interview the two leaders, Nine reported.

Robodebt returned to the headlines on Saturday following Labor’s announcement it would launch a 王立委員会 into the discredited scheme if it wins government.

The automated matching of tax and Centrelink data to raise debts against welfare recipients was introduced by the 連立 に 2016, and illegally raised $1.8bn in debts against nearly 500,000 Australians.

A settlement was reached between robodebt victims and the federal government in 2020 after the scheme was ruled unlawful in 2019. But the Coalition has never detailed who was accountable for the scandal.

The Australian Council of Social Service chief executive, カサンドラ・ゴールディ, said Acoss would be an “enthusiastic participant” if it goes ahead and it was an “appropriate and proportionate” commitment.

The royal commission, budgeted at up to $30m, would be tasked with establishing who was responsible for the scheme, what advice was used in its implementation, and complaints handling processes.

Albanese said robodebt had caused “untold misery”.

“Against all evidence, and all the outcry, the government insisted on using algorithms instead of people to pursue debt recovery against Australians who in many cases had no debt to pay,” he said in Perth on Saturday.

Labor’s Bill Shorten said robodebt preyed on “vulnerable” citizens including pensioners, the unemployed, people with disabilities and university students.

“I have spoken to families who absolutely believe that the pressure of the unfair debt notices raised against loved family members contributed to them taking their own life," 彼は言った.

“The robodebt campaign over four years was the government going to war with its own people and it didn’t have the legal authority … Australians are owed an answer.”

Morrison is facing backlash for suggesting it was “hypocritical” for Labor to hold a royal commission into robodebt.

“There’s been court matters which we’ve fully cooperated in and almost $750m in reimbursements have been made by the government and changes to the scheme have been put in place," 彼は言った.

“I find it quite hypocritical that a scheme that the Labor party actually introduced for income averaging – in assessing people’s welfare entitlements – that they now seek to criticise the government for when the Labor party do this all the time.”

The prime minister was in Tasmania alongside the Bass MP, Bridget Archer, on Saturday arguing the election was about a strong economy for a strong future.

“You may not like everything we’ve done, you may not like me that much, but that’s not the point,” he said at a Launceston campaign rally.

“The point is you know what our plan isnow is not the time to take a risk on what you don’t know.”

Morrison was also facing continued pressure over China’s security deal with the Solomon Islands, and defended the home affairs minister Karen Andrews’ suggestion China timed the agreement to coincide with Australia’s election.

The prime minister said the government was “very aware” of the influence the Chinese government seeks to have in Australia and “introduced laws to prevent it”.

“We didn’t put that legislation in for no reason," 彼は言った. “We put it in there to ensure that Australian security could be safeguarded from foreign influence in our own country.”

When asked about China’s vice-foreign minister’s suggestion Morrison’s criticism of the deal amounted to “intimidation”, 彼は返事をした: “The Chinese government would say that, wouldn’t they?」

デレク・ジーターは、クラブの10年にわたる低迷が続く中、マーリンズのCEOを辞任します。, the prime minister announced a $150m cash splash from 2023 on medications listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Australians will have to wait until 1 January if the Coalition wins the election for the new measures, aimed at easing cost-of-living aches hitting the country.

The measure means a $10 savings per script, with PBS-listed medicines dropping from $42.50 に $32.50 for everyday conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Pharmacists welcomed the announcement.

When asked repeatedly why the government saved the announcement as an election promise rather than including the medications cut in this year’s budget, Morrison said it was a “longer term measure”.

Cost-of-living pressures are expected to feature heavily in Labor’s official campaign launch in Perth on Sunday as inflation spikes to a 20-year high, power prices rise and an interest rate lift looms as early as next week.

Morrison said cost of living pressures were “real” but Labor had “no magic pen” that made people’s wages go up or changed the price of a lettuce.

Meanwhile in South Australia, the independent candidate Jo Dyer has confirmation she is eligible to run for the state’s only marginal seat of Boothby after fears she had not renounced her UK citizenship in time.