And which of the claims threatens Albanian?
Labor is not accused of a radical agenda that would increase unemployment. Labor voted in favor of the tax cuts in 2019 and confirmed last year that they would not roll back. Labor promises ‘safe change’ for the economy.
Top corporate groups seem to be comfortable with the idea of a Labor government and unconcerned about what it would mean for their profits or stock prices.
As usual in this campaign, Morrison was more polished and more powerful than the Albanian on Tuesday, as all sides knew the rate hike would dominate the campaign. The Prime Minister knows exactly what to say to address community doubts about change, during a press conference in a wood-panelled government office. In a country with a long history of conservative government, he plays to his strengths.
Albanian wasn’t nearly as slick at his backyard press conference on the NSW Central Coast after talking to a young woman about his housing affordability plan.
In some ways, this is a contrast between the backyard and the boardroom: Albanian tries to channel household anger at the government, while Morrison reassures the incumbent.
The government record is, of course, not as black as Labor paints it.
Unemployment is at levels few could have predicted, and voters may remember the financial payments and JobKeeper wage subsidies that helped them through the pandemic.
And Morrison has a predictable line against Albanian: that the man who couldn’t remember the RBA cash rate three weeks ago now claims to be the better leader to make sure.
Yet there is no escaping the contradiction in Morrison’s basic message. He blames the rate hike on forces beyond his control, while claiming to be the only one who can keep them down.
Melbourne radio host Neil Mitchell interrupted Morrison on 3AW on Tuesday to point this out.
“You’re doing it again,” he said. “You’re telling me interest rates have been low because of you, but now that they’re going up, you’re telling me it’s not because of you.”
What Australians see is a rare sight in a recent federal election: a leader forced to walk on his record.
The regular replacement of prime ministers over the past 15 years means Morrison is the first to serve a full term in office since John Howard. And like Howard in 2007, Morrison faces an RBA rate hike mid-campaign.
The rate hike forces a judgment on Morrison’s management of the economy and nine years of coalition government.
Morrison wants voters to trust him, Albanian wants them to blame him. It’s all about whether the mood for change is greater than the need for reassurance.
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