Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten face off in the final debate of the election.
Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten face off in the final debate of the election.

Shorten and Morrison have faced off in final debate

THE third and final debate of the 2019 federal election is now over. Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten faced off on cost of living, climate change, a history of leadership turmoil and their visions for Australia in 2030. 

Read our election debate updates below: 



8.30PM: The final question called on both leaders to reveal their picture of Australia in a decade, when their children will be young adults. 

Morrison highlighted hospital and schools investment, reduced youth suicide and achieving carbon reduction targets in his vision for 2030. 

Shorten said he wanted his children to see a more modern Australia, one that had embraced action on climate change. 

He said he wanted to see equal pay for his daughters in a country where access to opportunity was not determined by postcode, gender, religion or ethnicity.

"I want us to be a nation that is more equal," he said.

And that finishes tonight's third and final debate.  


8:30pm:  Scott Morrison's second question to Bill Shorten is predictably about negative gearing.

Mr Shorten has not guaranteed his negative gearing and capital gains tax will not lower house prices or increase rents, but pointed to analysis that suggested it would have no negative impact.

He said suggestions it would create falling house prices were a "scare campaign looking some credibility."

"The biggest falls in house prices have happened under this Government's watch," he said.

"If you want to talk about renters, look at the reduction in the amount of social housing.

Mr Shorten aggressively hit out at Mr Morrison in a fiery exchange.

"You don't like our policy but that doesn't give you the right to scare Australians or ignore first home buyers," he said.

- Adam Langenberg


8.15PM: Bill Shorten has defended Labor's emissions reduction target plan on climate change and called Morrison's question over its cost as a dishonest question. 

He suggested questioning the cost of the policy without also interrogating the broader cost of climate change in action was dishonest.

Morrison rebutted the suggestion that no action was being taken on climate change, by businesses. 

"It's a fair question, because they'll (businesses) have to pay it," he said. 

Cost of living and climate change have been running themes in this final debate and both leaders attempt to secure the vote before next Saturday. 


8PM: Free speech has again become a debate topic because of the Israel Folau debate. The leaders were quizzed on their stance on expressing controversial views on platforms such as social media.  

"Free speech is one of our fundamental freedoms," Morrison said, echoing his answer from the second debate. 

'We have to exercise it... with civility, and with due care."

Shorten said the two major parties held similar views. 

"He shouldn't suffer an employment penalty for it," Shorten said. 

"I get that's what he genuinely believes, but when you're a public figure that has a negative impact." 

"I don't think it's a simple issue. 


7.50PM: Earlier in the debate, both parties took on the chequered history of knifing sitting PMs. 

Bill Shorten said the Labor Party had learned from its six-year period of instability, where he was twice crucial in deposing sitting prime ministers.

"I do regret we had instability in our time, absolutely," he said,

"But what I'm also sorry about is the Australian people, they're fed up with politics as usual, the idea that they can vote for one PM and get someone else.

"So we understand that if we're to rewin their trust, it's not just our stability, it's also putting forward good policies to the Australian people and creating greater institutions and more institutions which Australians can trust, such as a national integrity commission."

He said Labor had been a "united force" under his leadership. He said it had "learnt our lesson" and put in place internal party rules to make it harder for leaders to be overthrown.

The Liberal Party's constant leadership change is due to the party "lurching to the right" and debate over climate change, Mr Shorten says.

Rebutting an answer from Scott Morrison, he said Malcolm Turnbull would still be prime minister if the Liberal Party was united.

"I think some of the fault lines in the Government are real," he said.

Franking credits also came up, as expected. 

Franking credit concessions are a "gift" and a "30 per cent top up" and removing them is not a tax, Bill Shorten has declared.

He said keeping the concessions was "unsustainable" and not acting on them would mean cuts to schools and hospitals.

"Why should millions of Australians go to work and pay their taxes and give it to people who have not paid any tax and give them a refund?" he said.

"What we can't afford to keep doing is giving a gift to people."

The franking credit concessions will not be grandfathered like the negative gearing changes because it's "not sustainable to keep paying people $6 billion a year", Mr Shorten said.

"I can understand why some people don't want to lose the money, I get it," he said.

"But there's no principle of tax law anywhere since the ancient Romans which says you get a tax refund when you haven't paid income tax. It's a gift but it ain't a principle of tax law."

- Adam Langenberg


7.45PM: Both leaders get to ask each other two questions tonight and the first one goes to Morrison. He asked Shorten about superannuation contributions for self-employed. 

Shorten defended a change in policy and said superannuation would still be preferentially treated. 

In his question to Morrison, he asked if the LNP government would implement Labor's plan to reduce cancer costs. 

Morrison said LNP had plans to reduce costs on cancer medications. 

He said those treated in the public system were treated for free.

"It is fully covered. That is the rules." 

The ABC's Sabra Lane is moderating tonight's debate. 


7.40PM: The first question called on Morrison and Shorten to name an unpopular but 'right' policy, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison took it as a chance to discuss the LNP's controversial history on boat arrivals. 

'The turn-back policy wasn't popular, but we did it," Morrison said. 

Shorten also labelled the turn-back policy as unpopular among his own party, and saw it as a need for the party to change. 

The debate then turned to the hundreds of asylum seekers still on Manus Island and Naura. 

Morrison said showing a lack of resolve would invite more asylum seekers to attempt to come to Australia by boat. 

He said the hundreds of people left on the two islands had been recognised as refugees and would not be returned to their home countries. 

Shorten said a Labor government would attempt to resettle those still on Manus Island and Nauru, including revisiting an offer from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for resettlement. 

7.15PM: THE two leaders have arrived at Canberra's National Press Club ahead of the finale debate of the 2019 election. 

The debate will start at 7.30pm and comes after a day of heated social media debate about the campaign. 

A Daily Telegraph story on Bill Shorten's mother inspired a social media trend in response, with hundreds of people sharing stories of their mothers who put off education or careers for the sake of their children. 


EARLIER: SCOTT Morrison and Bill Shorten will tackle questions about leadership and the economy in the third and final debate of the federal election campaign  

The prime minister and opposition leader will front the National Press Club in Canberra tonight in a televised debate from 7.30pm.

It's expected they will face questions about leadership, the economy, tax, climate policy, immigration and health.

They will also get to ask two questions of each other.

Polls of undecided voters have given the first two debates in Perth and Brisbane to the Labor leader.

Earlier, Paul Keating's controversial comments about Australia's security and intelligence agency sparked a tense exchange between Trade Minister Simon Birmingham and Opposition Senate Leader Penny Wong.

Mr Keating referred to those leading the respective agencies as "nutters" at Labor's official campaign launch on Sunday.

Appearing at the South Australian Press Club, Ms Wong refused to shake Mr Birmingham's hand after he seized on Mr Keating's remarks.

Mr Birmingham described him as "an isolated figure" within Labor, while Ms Wong accused Mr Birmingham of "desperate politics".

"Paul Keating made comments that were firstly insulting to the heads of our intelligence agencies who have managed to intercept at least 15 major potential terrorist incidents. I know that Labor have distanced themselves from the remarks but Paul is not an isolated figure," Mr Birmingham said.

Ms Wong responded: "Speaking of not being [appropriate] this is not appropriate and it is desperate politics."

On day 28 of the federal election campaign, the the Greens dumped their candidate for the Melbourne seat of Lalor, Jay Dessi, over multiple offensive social media posts.

Mr Dessi's social media history has revealed a racist joke in which he questioned "which eyes are the real eyes" of an Asian friend.

The candidate had joked about having sex with children and dead people and also posted a cartoon about oral sex and liked a post which joked about abortion and child pornography.

And an emotional Bill Shorten hit out at news reports he omitted details about his mother's career.

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