Anthony Albanese and Scott Morrison in Fiery Debate Over Anti-Corruption Commission, National Security and Cost of Living

During the second confrontation between Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese, the men got into heated discussions about national security, anti-corruption commissions and climate change.

Organized by Channel Nine, the debate covered a wide range of topics with questions posed to each leader by a panel of three journalists.

Unlike the first debate, Sunday night’s event was considerably more fiery and included a number of occasions where one or both men shouted at each other, the moderator or the panelists.

As for who won, the result was unclear. Channel Nine’s viewership poll changed from 52 percent for Morrison to 51 percent for Albanian, eventually reaching a 50/50 split.

A question about national security and the controversial security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands sparked one of the longest altercations of the evening, with moderator Sarah Abo or journalist Chris Uhlmann unable to successfully interrupt and refocus the debate.

Morrison was asked what he would do if his “red line” was crossed and China began building a military base in the Solomon Islands.

After Abo told him it seemed like people didn’t quite understand what the red line was, Mr Morrison said he thought Australians understood the government would work with others to ensure “that kind of outcome would be prevented”.

Scott Morrison holds up a piece of white paper as he stands next to Anthony Albanese with 'The Great Debate' sign behind it
The prime minister was not happy with comments about the government’s problems with China and the Solomon Islands.AAP: Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Albanese intervened, describing the deal as a “mass foreign policy failure” before Mr Morrison interrupted and asked “why have you cut defense spending?”

The opposition leader replied:

The remark sparked a lengthy shouting match with both men talking at once, with Mr Morrison saying the federal government had no hand in the lease of the port and Mr Albanese saying the government allowed it to happen within the Northern Territory.

The prime minister later returned to a familiar line and questioned Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles’ public comments about China in recent years, saying “he takes his speeches beyond the Chinese government”.

Posted updated

Leave a Comment