Turnbull v Shorten
Turnbull v Shorten

All the fireworks from the national debate

THE QUESTIONS were solid and the answers sly and while the first national debate was heavy on rhetoric it was light on commitment. 

Negative gearing played a predictable role with both sides sparring over housing affordability and the Coalition's climate policy became a crutch for the Opposition leader who reached for it every time his fiscal capabilities were queried. 

For all the back and forth, the answers the dodges and the ducking and weaving check out our live blog below. 

DEBT AND DEFICIT: The elephant in the room has finally been raised with one of the final questioners asking how the new government would get its hands out of the public's pockets and stop spending. 

Shorten said he would cut the Coalition's climate policy, cap the loans vocational operators can claim and knock back tax cuts for businesses - including small business.

"We've outlined tens of billions of dollars of improvements to the bottom line," he said. 

The mediator pushed on when the national debt would be paid off and Mr Shorten refused to answer. 



Mr Turnbull was up next and he spoke with a new confidence in his voice. 

"We are setting to bring down the deficit," he said

"We left Labor in 2007 with no debt and when we got back their was a mountain of debt."

"Bill has a black hole of $62 billion over four years that there is no accounting for."

However he ended by saying the only way out of deficit was economic growth but he didn't want to leave debt for his grandchildren.

The mediator asked him if he could give a date and Mr Turnbull replied saying the budget would be out of deficit in two years. 

He said this was the first step to paying off the national debt. 

EDUCATION: The candidates were asked how society's future generations could be educated if funding was cut to the sector. 

Turnbull responded by saying the focus should be on outcomes not the amount of money the parties spend. 

"We're going to require that students be assessed on reading and numeracy so teachers can assess whose ahead and whose behind so they can catch up," he said before adding this would happen earlier than age nine. 

Mr Shorten said he has three kids at school and he wouldn't stand there and say money doesn't matter. 

"Anyone who tells you that money doesn't matter in education is not telling the truth," he said. 

He said his plan for economic growth was that 95% of kids graduate by 2020.



"We spend more money in this nation on negative gearing than we do on childcare," Mr Shorten said. 

"Judge me and the man next to me on our priorities."

Turnbull hit back by saying he was not suggesting money did not matter.

"We know we need to invest in schools and we are," he said. 

He was then asked about Gonski by the mediator to which Mr Turnbull replied by saying the Coalition had agreed with the state's on a consistent model that met the sector's needs. 

Shorten finished by saying if money doesn't matter then why do people go private and people in country schools deserved equal opportunities. 

HOSPITALS IN REGIONAL AREAS: Both candidates were unimpressive on a question on regional hospitals. 

Turnbull pointed to how many seats the Coalition holds in regional areas and promised nothing, 

Shorten tried to attack the Liberal Party by saying he would spend more by cutting a number of Coalition measures such as the Coalitions climate policy which he described as "paying big polluters to pollute more." 

BANKING REGULATION AND ROYAL COMMISSIONS: Mr Turnbull was asked about regulating the banking sector and replied "competition is the key."

"Our banks in Australia are highly regulated and as you know we've given ASIC additional powers to pursue the banks," he said.

Mr Shorten replied that anyone claiming the banking sector is "humming along nicely should speak to someone who was insured with ComInsure."

The Commonwealth BAnk's Insurance arm was embroiled in scandal earlier this year when it revealed it had held out on a number of life insurance policies. 

"When we talk about competition it drives me crazy that when you use an ATM owned by another bank you have to pay a fee," Mr Shorten said.

He then said a Royal Commission into the banking sector would solve many problems - including high interest rates on credit cards and the gap between the rates offered to the public and those put forward by the Reserve Bank. 

Turnbull hit back by saying he recently gave a lecture to a number of bankers at a Westpac Banking Corporation 100 year celebration.

He said he spoke on the need for cultural change.

"So we're right onto that," he said.

 He then went on to point out that Mr Shorten had been using rhetoric to suggest people in the banking sector were criminals. 

"We need to be very careful what we wish for here, we have an economy that is strong," he said before saying it should not be made less stable. 

Shorten replied by saying "I'm sure they all just went home and changed their practices after a lecture from you."

Turnbull then said a banking Royal Commission would cost millions and lead to nothing more than a report. 

Shorten then jibed this was the same as the Royal Commission into Union Corruption - to which Mr Turnbull responded by saying it had exposed a culture of lawlessness. 

SUPERANNUATION, TAXATION AND NEGATIVE GEARING: A woman who said she and her husband had almost paid off their mortgage queried how the government was going to help the next generation of Australians aspiring to own their own home. 

"Are you going to pick up the rent?" she asked before suggesting people should be given access to their superannuation to buy one. 

Mr Turnbull responded by saying every single renter in Australia would see their payments increase under Labor - if negative gearing is abolished.

The questioner then followed up by saying superannuation was pointless and would just end up paying rent whereas people would save on interest if they could put that money into their homes. 

"The purpose of super is to provide for people in retirement and if you allow for super to be drawn out there they will not have that money available to them when they retire," Mr Turnbull replied. 

Shorten then responded to the same question.  

"Labor has no plans to allow people to use thier super for a housing deposit," he said. 

"I think it is a joke that Mr Turnbull's budget means that someone who earns a million dollars a year will pay $18,000 less tax next year but there's nothing there for you." 

He also attacked negative gearing asking why a first home owner should have to compete with someone buying their fifth property - on a government subsidy through negative gearing. 

He then said abolishing negative gearing would not push up rents. 

"Why should every taxpayer subsidise a tax subsidy that only a few people get to use."

Turnbull hit back by saying Keating abolishing negative gearing in 80s was a disaster and drove up rents by stifling investment in the property sector. 

FURTHER COMMITMENTS: Shorten has now also ruled out selling Australia Post and the Australian Submarine Corporation. 

He also steered the issue back onto the Mr Turnbull asking if he would sell Australian hearing services - a service aimed at helping the hearing impaired. 

The PM faltered on the issue saying he could guarantee the hearing impaired the best service. 

EARLY QUESTIONS: The opening salvos have been fired with both leaders ruling out GP co-payments and defending their party's records on Australian jobs. 

In an unusual and candid moment Mr Shorten claimed credit for the fact the Coalition is going to buld the next generation of Australian submarines in Adelaide but he was quickly pulled up by Mr Turnbull. 


OPENING SPEECHES: Turnbull has opened the night by paying thanks to the men and women who gave their lives in the defence of Australia. 

He went on to set out the platforms of the LIberal campaign - support for small business, trade and a balanced budget. 

Shorten followed up by saying he was looking forward to "explaining Australia's positive plans for Australia, so every child can get a quality education and restoring public TAFE."

"We are determined in Labor to improve and defend Medicare."

The Labor leader also said he hoped to talk about housing affordability and fair taxation - foreshadowing his position on abolishing negative gearing. 

EARLIER: FOR the first time in this year's Federal election campaign Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull will go head to head in what promises to be a heated clash of ideas. 

The leaders arrived at the debate venue - Windsor RSL in the outer north western suburbs of Sydney and were greeted by a mob of about 60 angry protesters taking a stand against Badgerys Creek Airport.