Speaking of Boothby (held by retiring MP Nicolle Flint), independent candidate Jo Dyer writes this morning:
As disillusionment with the Morrison government grows in Coalition-held seats across the country, a new generation of independents is emerging.
Prime minister Scott Morrison was in South Australia yesterday, shoring up support in the marginal seat of Boothby.
Footage from a press conference shows him accidentally referring to Adelaide as a â€œshitty cityâ€, but the official transcript this morning (on the announcement of the next leg of a transport corridor) reads:
This brings to completion the full financial commitment of the commonwealth government to this shcity [sic] city shaping. Got to be careful with that, this city shaping, Iâ€™m sure thatâ€™ll get a run.
This wasnâ€™t a referendum on the government … these were four byelections that had unique issues in each of the seats.
He does concede that there are â€œhuge threatsâ€ from independent candidates.
And he thinks the federal government should abandon its religious anti-discrimination legislation.
Calls for the Morrison government to make rapid antigen tests free for everyone have not subsided, Elias Visontay reports:
Frydenberg asked about possible axing of low-income tax offset
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is certainly doing the rounds this morning.
Heâ€™s on ABC television, where heâ€™s again asked about the possible axing of the low-income tax offset. Heâ€™s asked if he realises itâ€™s effectively a tax increase. He doesnâ€™t â€œaccept that characterisationâ€. He said:
The low- and middle-income tax off-set is not a permanent feature of the tax system. Weâ€™ve introduced it due to the particular economic circumstances of the time.
Here are the details on that ANU survey I mentioned earlier. Paul Karp writes:
The ANUâ€™s Centre for Social Research and Methods found 34.5% of adult Australians had confidence or were â€œvery confidentâ€ in the federal government, down from a peak of 60.6% in May 2020.
The result is only slightly higher than the low of 27.3% recorded during the 2019-20 bushfires.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has been on ABC radio this morning. Host Sabra Lane asked him about reports he was â€œa bit vanillaâ€ (as far as I know, this is unrelated to the bread and milk questions that came up last week).
Albanese says heâ€™s â€œvery confident that our positive messages that we will put forward of a better futureâ€ and frustration at the current government will be votersâ€™ focus.
He also has a push back at government attempts to portray him as a friend of China (Asio chief Mike Burgess will be up in Senate estimates this week, which will be interesting).
The teasers released last week sparked ridicule, but Iâ€™m sure a decent-sized audience would have tuned in to watch Karl Stefanovic chum up to the prime minister. Katharine Murphy isnâ€™t convinced the show will solve prime minister Scott Morrisonâ€™s problems:
If you missed it over the weekend, thereâ€™s speculation beer taxes will be cut. Some have pointed out thatâ€™s quite blokey, as far more men enjoy beer than women. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg declines to blow the froth off that one.
Frydenberg says the Morrison government is getting the â€œbig thingsâ€ right. He points to the low unemployment rate and high vaccination rate as proof. He says there was â€œan understandingâ€ the government would have more support on the floor of the house for the religious discrimination vote.
(Thatâ€™s in the context of five Liberal MPs crossing the floor.)
On the NSW byelections, he says the situation â€œcould be very differentâ€ by the time we get to the federal election. He cites international tensions, such as a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Straight to the national security button.)
On that tax offset mentioned below, he refuses to pre-empt the budget. But he does say that the situation has changed, that the government has brought forward other tax reform.
â€œWe havenâ€™t made a decision,â€ he says. Young women (24 and under) have been paying less tax, he says.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is talking up tax cuts for women this morning, but there are also reports the government will axe a low-income tax offset for those who earn less than $126,000. (Those at the lower end save $1,080 on their tax bills.)
Heâ€™s on the ABCâ€™s Radio National also talking about those weekend byelections and the latest Newspoll.
Todayâ€™s Newspoll shows very little shift for either major party, despite the Coalitionâ€™s turbulent week last week. But the Coalition was already in pretty poor shape, with a primary vote of 34%, and a two-party-preferred of 45% to Laborâ€™s 55%.
And shortly weâ€™ll hear from treasurer Josh Frydenberg â€“ newspapers this morning are reporting that the federal government might axe the low-income tax offset as it tries to claw back budget deficits.
Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Josh Butler,Daniel Hurst and Paul Karp will be your guides this week. Mike Bowers will be out there, snapping all the action.
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