5.9k Share this
The 9NEWS Federal Political reporting team take a look back at the first week of the campaign.
ANALYSIS: Albanese stumbles but Morrison carrying the scars of office
The spiral began on day one, with the Labor leader not being able to name the unemployment rate or the Reserve Bank’s official cash rate.
There was no excuse, the Labor leader knew it, Scott Morrison knew it, too, and promptly campaigned on jobs policy to keep attention on the issue.’
As Nine Political Editor Chris Uhlmann summed up “I can’t remember a worse first day to a campaign than the one Anthony Albanese just had.”
By the end of the week the list of blunders had broadened; initially saying there was no need for offshore processing of refugees, before being forced to clarify statements he’d made earlier in the week over the costings of one his major policies, Labor’s urgent care plan.
Scott Morrison’s troubles are different. He is carrying the scars of office, the weight of people’s anger and things promised but not delivered.
This week he was forced to fend off questions about his record on the pledge to set up an national integrity commission, and on failing to deliver building projects from the last election.
There is no doubt creeping into Labor minds. Anthony Albanese is still the favourite to win this election, but Scott Morrison has seen the frontrunner stumble.
Have your say
Has the first week of the election campaign changed your mind on who you will vote for?
On the road: Morrison team buoyant after week one but questions of integrity and trust hover
The Prime Minister started the campaign with a clear nod to the past, a visit to the bushfire-hit electorate of Gilmore on the New South Wales south coast, writes Jonathan Kearsley, who spent the week following Scott Morrison.
He appeared with by his prize pick as candidate, former New South Wales state minister and a face of the bushfire recovery, Andrew Constance.
A small contingent of protesters gathered outside the gates of a cannery business playing the ukulele and singing “April Sun”, a reference to the Prime Minister’s appearance on 60 Minutes.
Inside, the Prime Minister’s focus was on the economy, but questions circled around whether Mr Constance stood by comments made in the wake of the fires, that the Prime Minister “got the welcome he deserved” when Scott Morrison visited the town of Cobargo.
It was set to be a bumpy start to the campaign, but it was superseded by Opposition leader Anthony Albanese being unable to say the unemployment rate, or Reserve Bank’s cash rate on interest rates, which the Prime Minister initially tentatively weight into.
But by Tuesday, when he flew to Sydney to campaign in the Labor seat of Parramatta, the language was stronger, “he didn’t miss it by that much, he missed it by THAT much”, the Prime Minister emphasised.
Scott Morrison continued his campaign offensive in Labor’s seat of Macquarie before trying to defend the Liberal held seat of Lindsay with a local announcement to invest in a training centre for assistance dogs.
Wednesday took the Prime Minister to Victoria and the Viva Refinery outside Geelong, again in Labor territory in Deputy Labor Leader Richard Marles’ seat of Corio, but appearing publicly alongside the candidate for neighbouring Corangamite, a seat the government believes it can win from Labor.
Scott Morrison didn’t want to be knocked off his feet, but his glasses were knocked off his face during an afternoon visit to a sports stadium in Torquay on Victoria’s surf coast.
This was clearly about localised campaigning.
The Prime Minister promised $500,000 to upgrade a sports stadium that was only opened in January last year.
The campaign then took him to Tasmania and the most testing day of the Prime Minister’s campaign so far.
Scott Morrison faced a series of questions over broken promises on small-scale infrastructure and road projects, and the lack a National Integrity Commission.
He would also campaign in the Labor-held seat of Lyons before a horrific crash involving some of his personal protective officers brought a somber end to the day.
A car carrying two Tasmanian and two Australian Federal Police officers was hit by another vehicle and flipped rolling down an embankment near Elizabeth Town.
All four officers were alive, but taken to hospital. The Prime Minister was not been involved in the crash but sent his thoughts to the police and their families as he took his campaign into Victoria.
Good Friday was an unofficial truce on campaigning, but it didn’t stop Scott Morrison from heading to church in the marginal Liberal-held seat of Chisholm before visiting children to pledge money for an appeal for Victoria’s Royal Children’s Hospital.
But Good Friday also coincided with the Jewish festival of Passover and the Prime Minister joined Josh Frydenberg at a synagogue in his electorate as the treasurer faces a challenge from an independent.
On the sixth day of official campaigning the Prime Minister kept an Easter theme again visiting Chisholm, and a shop filled with Easter Bunnies and bilbies.
Again, the pressure was on integrity as Labor announced plans to legislate an integrity commissioner before the end of the year, and faced questions over past tweets from his hand-picked candidate for the Sydney seat of Warringah.
It emerged Katherine Deves had called transgender children “surgically mutilated and sterilised” and NSW Liberal Matt Kean pushed the call for her to be disendorsed.
The Prime Minister has so far resisted that call.
Then came a big risk, a very public appearance at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show. Labor had been taunting the Prime Minister accusing him of being unwilling to meet members of the public.
His media visits until this point had been limited to businesses, and work sites.
It would be a test of public perception.
It ended with a moment one of his closest allies said has “put the wind in the sails” of the campaign.
Farmer Rocky Allen approached the Prime Minister, handing him a cap and told him he was from Cobargo.
It’s the New South Wales town now synonymous with the Prime Minister’s immediate response to the bushfire, where he received a rather uncomfortable welcome.
On Saturday Mr. Allen, who is the son of the mayor who accompanied Scott Morrison on the day after the fires, told the Prime Minister, “You’re welcome back to Cobargo anytime”.
Given the week was dominated by mistakes and missteps from the Opposition Leader, the Prime Minister and his team are buoyant heading into week two.
But this is a six-week campaign, he starts from a long way behind in the polls, and the spotlight is still on questions of integrity and trust.
One week down. There’s five to go.
THEY SAID IT
“Google it, mate” – Greens leader Adam Bandt returns fire after journalist’s ‘gotcha’ question about the current WPI.
Fiona Willan take you inside life on the campaign trail.
DOWNLOAD THE PODCAST