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Anthony Albanese and Scott Morrison shake hands at their debate
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Below the Line: Albanese has COVID, but Morrison is ‘blessed’ with an even bigger problem – podcast

Below the Line Episode 5. The Conversation62.4 MB (download)

When tennis superstar Dylan Alcott’s post rebuking the Prime Minister for his clumsy “blessed” comment is outperforming election news stories on social media, you know the leaders’ debate didn’t go as hoped for the Coalition.

Scott Morrison effectively lost a day of campaigning on Thursday, which he largely spent apologising to disability groups and families who were offended when he said he was “blessed” to have children without disability during Wednesday night’s leaders’ debate. Alcott posted, “Woke up this morning feeling very blessed to be disabled – I reckon my parents are pretty happy about it too.”

In this episode of Below the Line, host Jon Faine explores the political fallout from the debate and some policy highlights. Our expert panel consider what impact catching COVID and spending a week in isolation will have on Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s campaign. Anika Gauja says the virtual campaign will take off and it’s a good opportunity to hear more from Labor’s shadow ministers.

But why have we not seen more ministers and their political counterparts debating policies in the media, asks Faine? Do voters benefit from the media’s focus on the leaders, personalities and polls? Andrea Carson says The Conversation’s #SetTheAgenda survey is a good example of putting voters ahead of the interests of media proprietors and getting away from “horse race” coverage.

Finally, listen to what we make of the Solomon Islands’ security pact with China. Simon Jackman says it’s a major setback for the Coalition’s election campaign and not in Australia’s foreign policy interests.

Below the Line is brought to you twice a week by The Conversation with La Trobe University.

Image: Toby Zerna/AAP

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