Australian federal election 2022: Morrison promises ‘gear change’ if reelected; Labor pledges $970m for Medicare

Anthony Albanese is in the Northern Territory to spruik his announcement on health spending, and we will bring you that as soon as it begins.

Three dogs and their two owners rescued from Queensland floods

Two men and their dogs have been dramatically rescued from rising floodwaters in Morwincha, Queensland.

Police footage showed officers from Ipswich rushing to aid the dogs and the men, who were trapped in their van, wedged between a tree, with one man clinging to the passenger door.

Victoria records 22 deaths and 12,160 new cases

Victoria is reporting 22 deaths overnight, as well as 12,160 new cases:

And with that the PM wraps up his press conference.

So, why has the PM decided to change gears in the last week of the campaign?

I have been listening to people. I have been listening carefully to people. And over the course of this campaign, it has been the opportunity to do that which, frankly, over the course of the last two years, we have all been locked up in Canberra. Most of you are from Canberra. We were all locked up there. The opportunity to get out and be with people in the community has been one bout we have not had, and it has been a very unusual time, an unusual time, where each and every day, we were dealing as a government with, often, quite existential crises.

It is not perfect and I think Australians need to know that I know that, as we gear-change into this next phase than the policies we have diligently put in place, our understanding of the economy and how it works, people know I’m not loose with the economy. People know that I’m not a loose unit when it comes to the economy. People know, even if they don’t like me, they know that I understand the economy.

So changing gears from fixing things into also fixing things, but now it’s different.

Back to questions about changing gears, a clear theme today. So, can we epxect a change beyonf economic recovery and oppoprtunity, as the PM has been rattling on about today?

I have told the story a few times, so forgive me if I tell it again. Jenny refers to it as the Morrison men. My father, my brother and I, we go in and fix things. And sometimes when we go in and fix things, people can get the impression that perhaps we are not as aware of many of the sensitivities that can be around these issues. We see a crisis, we see a problem, we see a need. My brother is a paramedic. He turns up on the scene and sees a child in great danger. He just gets to work. I must admit I am a bit the same. I go in and I seek to solve the problem.

I get it about the job of seeking to fix. I know that sometimes that makes it look like I am just pressing on, but has a Prime Minister, you’ve got to get the stuff done. You’ve got to get the stuff done. I will seek to be and to explain my motives and my concerns and empathise a lot more, but I tell you what, at the end of the day, what matters most is that I get the job done.

The PM is now asked about his “red line” comment on China, and whether yesterday’s so-called “act of aggression” (Peter Dutton’s words) was a crossing of said red line:

I thought I was very clear yesterday. Of course freedom of navigation is permitted all around the world. As nobody has made any suggestions that any rules were breached in relation to the international law of the sea.

But what yesterday highlighted, particularly when you take it in the context of economic coercion, foreign interference, pushing into our region, and asserting Chinese government seeking to impose its will across the region, this highlights the challenges that we face. This is why I did Aukus.

He then says he is “very clear eyed about the threats” three times in a row.

We are discussing change extensively today, the PM is next asked if Australians can honestly believe he will change after the election:

What you have seen from me, especially over the last few years, is what Australians have needed. And I think Australians would agree with that stop the strength to get us through the pandemic and where we are today, obviously our government has played a significant role in that, but can I tell you, the thing that is always guided me as a politician, as a political leader, as a minister, is a treasurer and as a Prime Minister, is my fundamental belief in the resilience and strength and character of Australians.

We have had enough of government interfering in every aspect of our life, particularly here in Victoria. I think they have had a gutful of it here in Victoria, it is fair to say. I am hearing a few “hear hears”. They have had a
gutful. What they want now is governments not telling them what to do, they want to buy a house.

They want governments which enable you to go out there and succeed. That is what the liberals are Nationals have always been about, fuelling a people’s ambitions, getting government out of the way, so that they can go and secure the opportunities ahead of us.

Asked for what mistakes he has made that he would take back, Morrison falls back onto an oldie but a goodie:

Now, in hindsight, bringing in Lieutenant-General Frewen was something I would have done earlier, because when I put him in charge, we fixed the problem and we ended up ensuring the highest vaccination rates in the world and we met our target, ensuring that every single person in Australia who wanted a vaccine could get one, and we originally set that goal in late 2020 as being by October of 2021.

Of note there is the minor shift in discourse from the PM, mentioning again that he needs to “shift gears”.

OK and we are in questions. First question is a solid “how will your leadership change after the election” question:

The first one is, as we have been effectively dealing with a global crisis for the last two years, that was a time for me as prime minister in my government to be in the year of pushing through. And that was
necessary to ensure that Australia was able to not just come through this pandemic and make many decisions and make many decisions quickly, and that frankly has not been the time during that period of crisis to undergo the broad-scale consultation and engagement which is my preference, but in these times, that has not been the opportunity for that. I have had to act quickly with Josh Frydenberg.

I have had to take decisions not all of which were popular and not all of which people would agree with and not on every occasion were right, because we were dealing with a global pandemic and we had to move fast and we had to get things as right as we possibly could. Now, the result of that is where we are at in terms of the strength of our economy and where we go to next.

The next stage is very different to where we have been. We are coming out of this pandemic, just like those kids understand. We are coming out of it and does a government, I’m looking forward to changing gears of our government to secure those opportunities that I had of us, and that means being able to engage more with local communities. We’ve been locked up in Canberra just as people were locked up here in Victoria. And that has all changed.

That means that my team and I in particular can do more of what we’ve been doing lately over the course of this campaign and indeed before, when we have had the opportunity, I have revelled in the opportunity to be back out and connecting with Australians, because while there were great fears during the pandemic, and that strength was necessary, where we are going next is a gear change, where we are securing opportunities and realising the ambitions and aspirations Australians have their future. I said at the last election, how good is Australia? Well, are about to find out just how much better it is going to be because of the work we have done together and we move into this optimistic mode where we are able to seize the opportunities ahead of us.

Now the PM is saying he is looking forward to a “golden decade” of sport in Australia:

Whether it is the Fifa women’s World Cup in 2023, the women’s basketball World Cup happening this year, the cycling road World Championships, also happening this year, we have just won both the women’s under the men’s Rugby World Cup, with the government directly providing that sport, with the assistance needed to insular that they can bring that bid home.

We have the Commonwealth Games here in Victoria, we have the world transplant games here in 2023, the world cross-country championships in 2023, we have got the UCI BMX World Championships, and those of you who were able to join me at the BMX track over in Western Australia will know that we’ve got some great young champions emerging there, and of course the biggest of them all, we’ve got the T20 World Cup in 2028 and in 2022, but the Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games, which I can tell you, wouldn’t have happened where it’s not for the first mover in the Federal Government in making sure that we went forward without bed, working closely with the government