Both prime minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese offered little of substance during the second televised debate of the election campaign on the Nine Network when they were asked what they could do to impact wages and the cost of living.
Neither was able to provide an adequate or sufficient answer on those questions because anyone who has kept an eye on the website of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Reserve Bank of Australia, and the Federal Treasury would know that a range of factors is at play causing a rise in prices and also a rise in interest rates.
It was one of the few gains for viewers of the debate that were looking to see how leaders would respond to specific cost of living questions.
Sometimes governments are powerless to do anything in the face of global pressures other than provide relief through the welfare system, but you would think that governments could work magic on certain cost of living issues if you believed the campaign rhetoric spat out by both major parties.
Somewhere in the middle of the questions being thrown at the leaders by the panel of three journalists was a chestnut that began in overseas jurisdictions – could either leader define ‘woman’. They did. Things moved on.
There was a distinct lack of statesmanlike behaviour from both leaders at various times.
Morrison and Albanese appeared to prefer to shout at each other rather than acknowledge the attempts of the moderator Sarah Abo to call them to order. It occurred on multiple occasions.
It recalls the lack of discipline politicians periodically exhibit during question time in parliament rather than the kind of conversation you would expect from two grown-up males going through what is, frankly, a six-week job interview.
The critical question is whether taxpayers who remain undecided will be keen to give either man that stood behind the lecterns last night their thumbs up given the kind of schoolyard debating contest they observed last night.