Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison in tonight's People's Debate.
Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison in tonight's People's Debate.

Morrison vs Shorten in election debate

AFTER a scandal-filled week for Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten, the two leaders will tonight face undecided voters at their second debate ahead of the federal election.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor leader Bill Shorten will go head-to-head tonight in front of an audience of undecided voters in Brisbane. Watch right here when the debate goes live. We'll bring you updates as the debate gets underway. 


8pm: Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten have failed to land a major blow in a relatively civil debate where they were both on their best behaviour.

The biggest clash of the night was on Labor's emissions policy, where Mr Shorten appeared visibly under pressure to reveal the cost his plan would have to jobs and the economy.

But Mr Shorten also had the best quip of the night, branding the PM a "classic space invader" as they butted heads over how they would deliver a surplus.

Up to 100 undecided voters will cast their own ballot to determine who won the night, with the results to be broadcast on Sky News.

- Jack McKay 


7.42pm: The two leaders are now giving their closing addresses to the crowd of undecided voters. 

Morrison and Shorten thanked the voters in the crowd. Morrison hung his closing speech on tax and spending.

Shorten focused on the rising cost of living affected working people, and the leadership spill that put Morrison in charge. 


7.40pm: Climate change and renewables: what is happening in those areas long term?

Mr Shorten responds by saying under Tony Abbott Australia was pumping out 512 mega tonnes of carbon pollution. Now it has gone up to 541 mega tonnes.

"This government is not going to bring pollution down, it is going up, we have more ambitious targets than the government but we owe it to our kids to take action," he said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has been unable to say how much his emissions target policy will cost the economy.

But he has offered up as much as he ever has in the past, saying it would cost taxpayers practically nil.

The leaders have clashed over their competing plans, with Labor promising to cut emissions by 45 per cent before 2030, while the Coalition wants to reduce them by 26 per cent.

Mr Shorten, who appeared visibly under pressure, dismissed suggestions their plan would wipe out jobs, insisting Labor's plan would not cost a single taxpayers' dollar.

"This nation deserves better than a scare campaign," he said.

"The cost to the taxpayer of policies is practically nil.

"Beyond that, we're not going to spend taxpayer money."

He attacked the Prime Minister for "speaking a load of rubbish", saying the country needed better than a leader who did "bugger all" on climate change.

'We owe it to our kids, we owe it to the future to take real action," he said.

Scott Morrison said the government was on track to achieve their 26 per cent target in the biggest clash of the night.

- Jack McKay

7.25pm: Another question has come in on mental health, this time about the health of defence force members. A member of the audience asked both leaders for their plans to help returned service members who are struggling with life. 

Morrison said investment had helped reduce waiting times to address cases through Department of Veteran Affairs. He highlighted work to help develop alternative employment pathways for veterans. 

'The waiting times have come down, but they haven't come down far enough," he said. 

Bill Shorten said he understood not everything was working in this country, and that individuals often felt powerless when facing the system. 


7.15pm: Shorten says Labor will release full costings next week and promised to deliver surplus every year of government. 

Morrison made the same promise, but said it would not be delivered by higher taxes. 

Moderator David Speers steered both leaders away from the topic of franking credits that earlier took over the answer to a costing question. 

The debate has not been free of laughs. "I wouldn't trust your maths in a heartbeat," Morrison told Shorten when the Labor leader offered to help with the maths. 


7.05pm: Prime Minister Scott Morrison said youth mental health remained the biggest challenge in the country in response to the question.

"Young people are killing themselves," he said.

"Youth mental health is the reason why you need a strong economy."

Mr Morrison said they were increasing funding for Indigenous youth mental health, particularly in Western Australia.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it was good more people were willing to talk about the mental health challenge.

"It used to be a stigma," he said.

"Even in the 1980s, people weren't saying what it was."

He asked the audience how many people had family members who had been affected by mental health challenges - dozens raised their hands.

At the last debate, Mr Shorten identified Mr Morrison's commitment to address mental health as something he admired about the PM in a rare moment of bipartisanship.

- Jack McKay


7pm: The third question is a religious one. A mum in the crowd has asked Bill Shorten what Labor's view are on people identifying as Christian expressing their views publicly. 

Both leaders expressed their belief in freedom of religion. 

"We treat each other with respect," Mr Morrison said. 

"We should have freedom of speech in this country but that does come with a responsibility." 

The audience member raised concerns Christian people would not be able to speak about their beliefs. 

"You can't really say something like abortion is wrong," she said. She said Israel Folau's recent comments on gay people were an example.

Morrison said religion should not be a basis for discrimination in this country. 

Shorten echoed the same feeling. He did say women seeking an abortion should not have to go through a ring of protesters. 

"It's a difficult question," he said. 

"I think you go to a deeper question here. There is a lack of civility in the public debate." 


6.40: The worldwide question over Facebook and tax and the hot-button topic of franking credit has taken up much of Bill Shorten's answer to a question about policy costing. 

It was the second question of the night, and gave Morrison a chance to question why Labor voted against multinational tax avoidance laws in 2015.

Speers attempted to get an answer on whether Facebook would be forced to pay tax in Australia under a Labor government. 

Shorten eventually told the audience more plans on multinational tax would be announced on Sunday. 

6.35: Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison have given their opening addresses to a debate crowd in Brisbane as both leaders attempt to snag votes from an undecided electorate. 

Sky News' David Speers moderates tonight's debate. 

The first question was about sexual assault and rates of conviction against rapists. 

PM Scott Morrison said he couldn't think of a more disturbing prospect. 

He said the country needed to address the disrespect of women.

Shorten said he was in agreement with many of Morrison's strategies. 

"What we intend to do is invest in more refuges," he said. 

Shorten said Labor would also introduce family violence leave using federal funding. 

Morrison said the LNP had already legislated for domestic violence leave.  

News Corp Australia

Hey Gladstone, grab a cuppa for a good cause

Premium Content Hey Gladstone, grab a cuppa for a good cause

Gladstone Bowls Club will play host to the Port City’s version of Australia’s...

Hey Gladstone, grab a cuppa for a good cause

Premium Content Hey Gladstone, grab a cuppa for a good cause

Gladstone Bowls Club will play host to the Port City’s version of Australia’s...

1770 takes step back in time to celebrate its history

Premium Content 1770 takes step back in time to celebrate its history

Friday will mark a special day for the town of Seventeen Seventy.