Anthony Albanese's gaffe about key economic figures will come to define this election.
Under the headline, "PM goes for jobs jugular after rates fail", the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) said, "Asked about Tasmania's unemployment rate, he (Albanese) tried and failed to answer a follow-up on the national rate. 'The national unemployment rate at the moment is ... I think it's 5.4. Sorry, I'm not quite sure what it is.'"
He didn't know the Reserve Bank's cash rate either.
The Herald didn't use the picture of Albanese with his tongue out, but since Albanese had failed basic understanding of key economic facts, the story told it all.
A triumphant Scott Morrison answered with, "Well, 0.1 per cent is the cash rate, it's been there for some time. The unemployment rate, I'm happy to say, is four per cent and it's fallen to a 50 year low," (SMH) clearly setting the tone for this election.
The Morrison government has economic management runs on the board.
Newspaper cartoons in capital city papers so often capture the public mood.
The prize goes to The Australian.
John Spooner's cartoon shows microphones pointed at Albanese with the question, "What is the unemployment rate and what is the Reserve Bank current rate?"
A red-faced Albanese answers, "Did someone say KFC?"
Warren Brown in The Daily Telegraph had Scott Morrison in his Grand Prix car zooming past Albo, who had crashed on the Official Interest Rate Bend, Unemployment Rate Corner in his "L" plate racing car.
I thought it was sad that even though the SMH's news coverage of the Albo gaffe was excellent and complete, their cartoonist simply hadn't understood the significance of the day.
Megan Herbert's cartoon showed a family at the dinner table with dad saying, "Can we risk changing now?" Mum, reading a newspaper headed "Economists: Climate is top concern", says "Can we risk not changing now?"
As the election progresses, climate change will become a background issue, fanned only by Teal Independents.
As people realise that floods in Lismore are not related to climate change and the fires were as much about arsonists, (ask Mark McGowan about the WA fires), it will be jobs and the economy that will take centre stage.
Anyone who has a mortgage should be nervous. As the campaign progresses we'll hear a lot about Keating Labor's 17.5 per cent home loan interest rates that we had to pay when we were struggling to cope with our mortgage.
In America interest rates are rising dramatically.
The inflation forecast of 8.5 per cent is the highest since 1981.
Once voters look at the US they will also ponder the stunning death rate from COVID that Biden was going to fix, and realise that Morrison's steady hand saved thousands of lives in Australia and balanced the economy.
That Albanese "didn't know" the unemployment rate was, I think, more of a case of choking on the figure.
He would know that reaching only four per cent unemployment coming out of COVID is world-beating economic management.
Albanese would also know that he has now made low interest rates and low unemployment key issues in this election.
As Shane Wright wrote in the SMH, "Memorising the the cost of petrol and a loaf of bread - which tripped up Morrison earlier this year - is one thing. But campaigning on jobs and the cost of living means needing to know key indicators of the over-all economy."
Wright goes on to say that higher interest repayments for millions of mortgage holders is the real cost of living issue.
"But if your opponent is trying to paint you as not up to the job of managing a $650 billion budget or a $2 trillion economy then you need to do better than look like a gandz".
Repeating "climate change" won't calm anxious voters who could lose their home if Albanese wins government but can't manage the economy.
The SMH headline, "Power companies say higher bills coming within months", will also test voters.
Paul Murray on Sky News summed up Albo's albatross last Tuesday. "If Labor can use 'hold a hose' for three years, the Liberals can use 'I don't know' for the next 39 days."
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