Labor leader Chris Minns has emerged victorious from the final debate ahead of the NSW general election, winning almost half of the 100 undecided viewers compared to 32 who voted for Premier Dominic Perrottet.
The two leaders made their latest offers to woo the people of NSW as the March 25 general election fast approached.
On the Sky News/The Daily Telegraph People’s Forum, the heads of state and government were grilled by viewer and presenter Chris O’Keefe, among other things, about the rising cost of living.
Out of 100 undecided voters, 48 said they were persuaded to vote for the opposition, 32 opted for the coalition and 20 remained undecided.
CASH SPLASH PROMISE
The cost of living was a major topic of audience questions, with both leaders poring over what support they would offer if elected.
Mr Perrottet rattled off a list of benefits he would offer families if the Liberal Party were elected to a fourth term on Saturday, including cutting the ceiling on public transport costs from $50 a week to $40 a week and a $250 discount on “each.” Energy bill in NSW’.
NSW Labor leader Chris Minns (left) emerged victorious over Prime Minister Dominick Perrottet (right) after the final debate before the state election
The Labor leader reminded voters of his promised $60 toll cap, raising the stamp duty threshold and small business energy rebate – but said it was his party’s commitment to stopping the sell-off of public assets that was what would make the biggest difference.
“I think the best thing we can do for the long-term future of the cost of living in New South Wales is to stop the privatization madness,” he said.
MINNS FLAPED ON HEALTH CARE
After both leaders were invited to put a question to each other, Mr Minns asked if the Prime Minister “regretted” his decision to freeze wages for essential workers such as nurses and paramedics.
Mr Perrottet said it was a “difficult” decision needed during the pandemic.
“That’s why our state was able to navigate through the year,” he said.
Mr Minns refuted his response, blaming Mr Perrottet’s decision for an exodus of healthcare workers.
‘It was wrong. Now he’s doubled it,” he said.
The response seemed to resonate with the audience, with some clapping.
Chris Minns (pictured) was applauded for refuting Mr Perottet’s claim that freezing wages for essential workers was a “difficult” decision but one that allowed the state to navigate the pandemic
PREMIER GRILLED IN THE FIRST MOMENTS
In the first question from Sky News/The Daily Telegraph People’s Forum on Wednesday night, Mr Perrottet was grilled by a member of the public about the privatisation.
Listener Kim asked the prime minister if he would buy back state assets sold to private companies.
“You continue to sell our assets. Obviously you keep spending, which worries me that you don’t know how to budget properly,” Kim asked.
While Mr Perrottet assured the audience that the government had no plans to sell any more assets and highlighted the government’s AAA credit rating, the response wasn’t good enough for Kim.
Unhappy with Mr. Perrottet’s response, Kim bought up tolls.
Mr Perrottet was grilled in the privatization debate early on Wednesday. Mr Perrottet defended the sale of the state’s toll roads like WestConnex, saying the “freeways have made a real difference” (pictured by Mr Minns and Perrottet shaking hands at the closing debate).
Mr Perrottet defended the sale of the state’s toll roads like WestConnex, saying the “freeways have made a real difference”.
“WestConnex ensures people can get to work faster, farther home, and spend more time with their families,” he said.
The prime minister received no help from his opponent, who has spent much of his campaign highlighting the Liberal Party’s poor privatization record.
Opposition leader Chris Minns said the tolls would cripple families, particularly those unable to access public transport.
“It’s important to note that the entire M8 could pay for itself eight times over as a result of the revenue flowing into the privatized toll company,” he said.
MINNS HIT THE WAGE CAPSULE MONEY
The first two questions – on privatization and NSW’s public health system – were in Labour’s favour.
A maternity ward nurse asked what each director would do to help the state’s public hospitals, noting that she had seen maternity wards overcrowded and claimed “every woman” who gave birth in the last five years brought to the world have “a horror story”.
In response, Mr Minns was repeated on his promise to end the wage cap for public sector workers.
During the debate, both leaders answered questions from 100 undecided voters (pictured: Dominic Perrotter speaking during the final debate before the state election).
However, the debate quickly shifted to the budgetary cost of lifting the cap.
On Monday, the Parliamentary Budgetary Office (PBO) found that a 1 percent increase to the current 3 percent cap could cost the state budget $2.6 billion if the measure is not matched by other savings could be equalised, as Labor had promised – something Mr Perrottet was quick to remind the audience of.
“If you have big budget costs that you cannot claim, that will cost NSW taxpayers,” Mr Perrottet said.
“What Chris has done is raise wages for public servants without telling anyone how much it would cost.”
Wednesday night’s debate will be the last time Mr Perrottet and Mr Minns will face off before the all-important Election Day of March 25.
During the debate, both leaders will answer questions from 100 undecided voters.
Mr Perrottet and Mr Minns both wore dark suits with a white shirt and light blue tie. Before the debate began, they spent time shaking hands and meeting the audience.
Mr. Minns began his campaign by promising to fix the state’s education and hospital systems and eliminate the wage cap for civil servants.
Mr Perrottet highlighted the coalition’s infrastructure achievements and the Government’s Kid’s Future Fund.
As of 12pm Wednesday, the NSW Electoral Commission says 638,484 votes have been cast in primary voting booths, plus 28,788 returned postal votes (Image: Dominic Perrottet)
In the same debate ahead of the 2019 state election, then-Opposition leader Michael Daley’s lackluster performance was blamed for toppling Labor in the polling booths.
Asked about the opposition’s education and funding policy, he stumbled across the figures his party had promised.
Days later, then Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian led the coalition into its third term.
Sky News Australia chief newsreader Kieran Gilbert will moderate Wednesday night’s forum in the key Penrith fringe seat, which will be held by Liberal MP Stuart Ayres and challenged by Labor candidate Karen McKeown.
As of 12pm Wednesday, the NSW Electoral Commission said 638,484 votes had been cast in primary voting booths, plus 28,788 returned postal votes.
5,521,688 voters are expected to cast their ballots in this election.
The cost of living was a common theme among viewers, who were all undecided about their vote (pictured: NSW Labor leader Chris Minns and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet shake hands during the televised debate).
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11889251/Premier-grilled-moments-debate.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Dominic Perrottet loses the final Heads of State debate ahead of the NSW general election on March 25 to Chris Minns