Thursday night of week two added two fresh scandals to an already dirt-fuelled week of opponent smearing and divisive debate.
The commentariat went into meltdown last night, initially due to accusations that Greens Leader Richard Di Natale failed to declare his family farm in the Otway Ranges, and paid three live-in nannies as little as $6 an hour. It all may prove a bit rich from the supposed champion of penalty rates.
If that wasn’t enough for one night, the drama increased further once news surfaced that the Australian Federal Police were raiding the office of Labor Senator Stephen Conroy.
There will be plenty more written and said about this issue in the days ahead, with Labor set to grasp the opportunity to highlight a series of issues around the NBN.
Shift in focus
Labor’s David Feeney will breathe a little easier now the focus has shifted from his own failures to properly declare his property portfolio, including his startling admission he ‘doesn’t know’ if his $2.3 million Northcote home is negatively geared. Not a great look for the Labor powerbroker who is in the midst of a fierce battle with the Greens to retain his seat.
Thursday night’s revelations may also detract from the ugly debate around border protection, following inflammatory comments from Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.
The comments led to a predictable backlash and some awkward moments for the Prime Minister. However, one suspects the Coalition won’t be too upset that the issue of boats has been placed on the agenda yet again.
Labor went back to one of its core issues in healthcare this week to announce a signature policy – $12 billion over 10 years to unwind the controversial freeze on Medicare rebates. The policy was enthusiastically welcomed by the medical sector and will be a major focal point for the ALP in the weeks ahead.
The Coalition made some significant local announcements relating to transport infrastructure, with $150 million towards the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor, and $50 million to upgrade Appin Road in the Liberal-held seat of Macarthur – a seat that has changed from a safe to marginal seat following a boundary redistribution.
Given only two weeks have passed between the Budget and the release of PEFO, it’s unsurprising that there have been no dramatic revelations.
After a week mired in controversy and scandal, a little less drama might be just what the doctor ordered.