For Morrison and Albanian, the decisive phase of the election has begun – and women may hold the key

Voting started this morning in more than 500 pre-poll stations, an ominous reminder that the 2022 election is now in a decisive phase.

Very soon we will find out if Scott Morrison is a) the most brilliant campaigner of his generation, who built a trail to political survival by peeling off Labor Party workers or b) the man who didn’t fully clock until it was too late that women really meant it when they said they were fed up.

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For a year – more – it is clear that women are being combed. They were more likely to lose their paid jobs when the pandemic hit in 2020 and pick up the extra unpaid work at home. More likely to be the one in the family who lies awake worrying about childcare and aged care (both are also – not coincidentally – sectors where women are more likely to work and more likely to be poorly paid). likely to be on the front lines with anxious older relatives, or depressed teens for whom mental health care is hard to find.

Women voters reading budgets about the pandemic may have noticed significant spending to support sectors such as construction and manufacturing where they are less likely to be employed, and negligible aid to sectors where they are overrepresented.

There are signs everywhere that women are on the move. First literally, personally, when tens of thousands protested against the treatment of women in parliament. When independent female candidates showed up to contest downtown voters over climate, responsibility and respect for women, an army of volunteers sprang up.

The Liberal Party’s institutional response to this attack by capable women has been to adopt traditional tactics, suggesting that the women are hypocrites, inexperienced, vindictive, or “groupies” – a rich man’s puppets.

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Fiery second leaders’ debate sees clashes between Morrison and Albanian

For whom the poll counts

The pair of polls published this morning – Newpoll and Ipsos – suggest that the prime minister is in general struggling.

But there is a deeper story; voice patterns by gender indicate a serious lag in enthusiasm for Morrison in women.

Ipsos reports that 51 percent of women prefer Labor and only 32 percent prefer the Coalition. When Newpoll asked respondents who was best placed to tackle the cost of living, 45 percent fell for Albanian and just 38 percent for the prime minister.

What is Morrison doing to address this suspicion of women? It’s actually pretty hard to tell if he thinks it’s a serious problem.

Anyone who came through Lego Masters last night to watch the election debate on the Nine Network saw some dudes yelling at each other and talking about the patient Nine moderator, Sarah Abo – here’s Brett Worthington’s account.

And Morrison, who no doubt read the polls this morning and may have noticed the persistently raised eyebrows of the female respondents, nevertheless made his way to Gilmore’s headquarters to be photographed with some military equipment. (About $8 billion is spent buying helicopters, a craft that successive Australian governments have proven incredibly bad at buying. Almost as bad as submarines, which is saying something. Here’s a bit of history from defense correspondent Andrew Greene.)

When asked if he regretted the optic of talking through Abo, the Prime Minister seemed surprised. “I honestly don’t think gender had anything to do with it. I don’t believe gender had anything to do with it. I’m surprised why it would.”

History is littered with Morrison’s vintage men waking up one morning with a Dear John letter, realizing that the women in their lives were serious about how annoyed they were. Is this one of those situations?

Good day

One of the puzzling aspects of this campaign has been the fact that, regardless of the foregoing, Labor has made only modest use of former deputy Tanya Plibersek.

Today, however, Plibersek and Albanian announced Labour’s plan to pay high-scoring HSC students to teach and spent a happy day visiting the Labor leader’s old school, where Plibersek Junior is now a student.

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Bad day

Labor could have better luck for women if its MPs didn’t say stupid things every now and then. Labor MP Brian Mitchell has apologized for old social media posts about female incontinence more than a decade ago.

In 2011, the member of the Tasmanian seat of Lyon stated that if a national ALP conference went on too long, women would lose control of their bladders and mops would be required.

“I think it is absolutely appropriate that every MP be held accountable for what they have said, in the past or now, and I take responsibility for the comments I have made,” Mitchell said, after Albanian made the remark inappropriate.

What should you pay attention to tomorrow?

Anthony Albanese has picked up his pace as he aims to topple Scott Morrison.

The opposition leader hit three states in one day today, including his first visit of the campaign to South Australia. The Labor Camp is optimistic it will win Boothby’s liberal SA seat for the first time in eight decades.

Morrison was back in NSW and visited Gilmore, one of the seats Liberals are most confident in winning over Labour.

Where the leaders travel in the coming days will tell us where they expect this election to be won

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