Australia politics live updates: Anthony Albanese back on campaign trail as deputy Richard Marles tests positive; 26 Covid deaths

Scott Morrison press conference

The PM is back in northern Tasmania, campaigning with Bridget Archer, who faces losing the seat of Bass.

Scott Morrison says the election is a choice “between a strong economy or a weak economy”.

Scott Morrison has been touring a hydrogen plant for the last 40 or so minutes.

His press conference is expected to be held soon.

Updated at 23.08 EDT

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

Here is what the prime minister of Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, said in parliament in Honiara this morning, hitting back at criticism from the Australian government and others about a lack of transparency about his security agreement with China:

The Aukus treaty … will see nuclear submarines in Pacific waters. I learned of the Aukus treaty in the media, Mr Speaker! One would expect that as a member of the Pacific family, Solomon Islands and members of the Pacific should have been consulted to ensure that this Aukus treaty is transparent, since it will affect the Pacific family by allowing nuclear submarines in Pacific waters. Oh, but I realise, Mr Speaker, that Australia is a sovereign country, and that it can enter into any treaty that it wants to, transparently or not – which is exactly what they did with [the] Aukus treaty …

When Solomon Islands signed this treaty with China, we were accused by the western media of not being transparent and being secretive. We are a sovereign nation and we did not answer to the western media.

When Australia signed up to Aukus, Mr Speaker, we did not become theatrical and hysterical on the implications that this would have for us. We respected Australia’s decision. And I’m glad to say that Australia, United States of Australia and Japan respected our sovereignty to enter into this security agreement with China as well, based on trust and mutual respect.

We should point out there is a touch of sarcasm in some of these remarks. It is also worth pointing out that Aukus is not technically a treaty – the three countries describe it as an “enhanced trilateral security partnership”, which includes a bunch of wording groups on emerging technologies and the high-profile joint study into how the US and the UK will help Australia to gain at least eight nuclear-propelled submarines.

Updated at 23.07 EDT

Solomon Islands PM found out about Aukus in media

Daniel Hurst will have more on this soon, but the prime minister of Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, has criticised the Morrison government for not consulting with his nation before signing the Aukus security pact.

As AAP reports, Sogavare told Solomon Islands parliament:

I learnt of the Aukus treaty in the media. One would expect that as a member of the Pacific family, Solomon Islands and members of the Pacific should have been consulted to ensure this AUKUS treaty is transparent.

I realise that Australia is a sovereign country, which can enter into any treaty it wants to, transparently or not, which is exactly what they did with Aukus.

He also took a swipe at the “hysteria” over Solomon Islands signing a security agreement with China.

When Australia signed up to Aukus, we did not become theatrical or hysterical about the implications this would have for us.

Updated at 22.47 EDT

Before Barnaby Joyce was re-elected as Nationals leader (and deputy prime minister) there were warnings he was seen an a voter turn-off in some Liberal held seats. He was elected anyway.

And now that he is proving to be a voter turn-off in some Liberal-held seats, the Coalition is blaming … independent candidates

Updated at 22.34 EDT

The tourism section of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry wants guarantees that no matter who wins the election, tourism will be looked after.

John Hart, the executive chair of the Australian Chamber – Tourism said in a statement:

The tourism sector has been severely impacted for over two years now, with total expenditure losses since the start of the pandemic estimated to be at $142bn.

There’s a lot of ground to make up, and now that the international borders are open and the cruise industry has restarted, it is a crucial that our next federal government to support the rebuilding of tourism businesses and kickstart tourism growth. This will equip the tourism sector to support local jobs and communities, benefitting all Australians.

We have already seen a commitment by the Coalition government for targeted financial assistance for hard-hit businesses that will continue to be negatively impacted beyond the lifting of restrictions, including travel agents and tour arrangement service providers. It is crucial that all political parties indicate their support for measures to help these businesses bounce back.

The contribution for Tourism Australia marketing initiatives announced in the budget was also welcomed by Australian – Chamber Tourism. This funding needs to occur regardless of the result of the election to ensure Australia is in the best position to attract visitors in a highly competitive market.

Updated at 22.33 EDT

The PM has spent at least part of the morning at a whiskey distillery this morning.

PM amongst it at Lark Distillery in Tassie. The whiskey distillery will be given $4.5m to build a new single malt distillery, capable of producing 1 million litres of spirit. #auspol

— Hannah Cross (@hannahjcross) April 28, 2022

Updated at 22.24 EDT

AEC refers double candidate nomination to AFP

The AEC has released a statement on a candidate who has nominated for election in two electorates, for two different parties:

On Friday 22 April 2022 candidates for the federal election were formally declared at public events held across Australia, in accordance with the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act).

Mr Malcom Heffernan was among those candidates declared – both for the Division of Banks (NSW) and the Division of Brand (WA). Mr Heffernan’s nomination for two electoral divisions is in contravention of section 165 of the Electoral Act.

Each nomination form had a signed declaration that the candidate did not intend to be a candidate in any other election held the same day. The two nominations were for two separate political parties – Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (Banks) and the Australian Federation Party (Brand).

Each nomination form had differences in the listed information – including a different date of birth, and a different expression of the candidate’s name.

Given these declarations are false the AEC has now referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police for investigation as to whether a crime has been committed under section 136 and/or 137 of the Criminal Code. We have notified Mr Heffernan and both registered political parties regarding this referral.

Contravention of section 165 of the Electoral Act renders Mr Heffernan incapable of being elected. However, candidate nominations for the Divisions of Banks and Brand must remain as they were formally declared on 22 April 2022. Ballot papers have been printed and some postal voters have already received their postal voting packs.

Updated at 22.11 EDT

National Covid summary

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers from around Australia today, as the country records at least 26 deaths from Covid-19:


  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 1,072
  • In hospital: 65 (with 3 people in ICU)


  • Deaths: 7
  • Cases: 11,903
  • In hospital: 1,645 (with 68 people in ICU)

Northern Territory

  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 428
  • In hospital: 47 (with 2 people in ICU)


  • Deaths: 6
  • Cases: 4,477
  • In hospital: 492 (with 11 people in ICU)

South Australia

  • Deaths: 3
  • Cases: 3,924
  • In hospital: 222 (with 11 people in ICU)


  • Deaths: 1
  • Cases: 1,090
  • In hospital: 37 (with 3 person in ICU)


  • Deaths: 7
  • Cases: 11,083
  • In hospital: 428 (with 35 people in ICU)

Western Australia

  • Deaths: 2
  • Cases: 8,117
  • In hospital: 233 (with 4 people in ICU)

Updated at 22.39 EDT

If you need a break from it all, Fiji is once again open for business:

From Sunday 1 May, all visitors aged 16 years and above must be fully vaccinated. This change comes as more children globally have access to vaccinations and is to support not only international travellers but Fiji’s local communities.

From Sunday 1 May, all international travellers entering Fiji will now only need to follow the below entry requirements:

  • Be fully vaccinated if you are 16 years old and above with a Fiji recognised dose.
  • Book an in-country Covid-19 rapid antigen test prior to departure to Fiji. The test must be completed within 48 – 72 hours of arrival into Fiji. These can be booked at
  • Have trusted travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage.
  • Australia does not currently require a pre-departure test upon return from Fiji.

Updated at 22.06 EDT

Scott Morrison is campaigning in Tasmania – we are still waiting to hear when he will hold his press conference.

Everyone who has had Covid reports a bit of a brain fog for the next week or so, which the Labor campaign will be watching out for with Anthony Albanese.

Updated at 21.55 EDT

Anthony Albanese then turns to the Coalition’s “united team”:

My shadow cabinet will be out there each and every day of the campaign. Not just in Perth with me, but right around the country.

We have a coordinated schedule in making sure that Labor’s message has gotten out to every city, to every town by our entire team.

That stands in stark contrast with Mr Morrison who, just a couple of days ago, was with the deputy prime minister in Rockhampton* and they couldn’t even meet each other.

They didn’t do a joint press conference, the truth is that the Liberal Party are internally divided.

The National Party are internally divided, they are just one swing vote over whether Michael McCormack or Barnaby Joyce or someone else becomes the deputy leader of the Coalition and the leader of the National Party. Labor is united. We have a strong team made up of 50% man, 50% women. People from right around the country. And at the campaign launch on Sunday, you will see more evidence, more policies for our better future plan.

* Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce were at the same event in Rockhampton – but they did not hold a joint press conference

Updated at 21.54 EDT

Labor deputy leader Richard Marles has Covid

Anthony Albanese is speaking to the media in front of a plane, as he prepares to take off for Western Australia.

He is now taking some question – and announcing his deputy, Richard Marles, has tested positive for Covid:

I am very much looking forward to travelling to Perth today. I was due to go to Perth last Friday before I tested positive for Covid on Thursday afternoon. It is great to be out and about and I am looking forward to travelling to Perth, to engaging with Western Australians and to having the first-ever national campaign launch to be held by a major political party in Perth.

Can I also just take the opportunity to give a big shoutout to the workers at New South Wales Health? They have been magnificent. The support they have given, to me and to others that have suffered through Covid over the last 2.5 years, they are working under incredible pressure and I just say a big thank you to them. Happy to take a couple of questions.

Q: [The question seems to be on whether he was worried he missed a week of physical campaigning]


What it has shown is the strength of Labor’s team. I have a magnificent team that I lead. We are ready for government. That team today has had some unfortunate news in that my deputy, Richard Marles, has also tested positive with a routine test this morning.

I spoke to Richard, I wish him well. He will follow the health advice and self-isolate the next week. But what we have seen is shadow ministers right across the country portraying Labor’s position. We have a plan for a better future.

We are now halfway through this campaign and Labor’s plan to strengthen Medicare, to address the cost of living issues where everything is going up except for people’s wages by having cheaper childcare, cheaper electricity, lifting wages, by making more things here in Australia, by addressing climate change, all of these policies and plans stand in stark contrast to a government that hasn’t learned the lessons of its mistakes over the last 10 years.

And every single time there is an issue that they are uncomfortable with, like the rising rate of inflation and the problems of cost of living, Mr Morrison never accepts responsibility. He always blames someone else.

Updated at 21.55 EDT

Here was Anthony Albanese on the Nine network talking about his doctor’s advice:

It just means being sensible. So it means if I if I feel really tired, have a rest, it means doing, perhaps, less things during the day. But I expect, and the doctor’s advice is, I’ll get better each day. And certainly today I feel terrific this morning. I feel better than I did yesterday. And yesterday, I felt better than I did the day before. That’s what happens.

But this does have an impact, as millions of your listeners tragically have had this over a period of time, more than half my shadow cabinet have had Covid now. And at the moment, I think there’s at least two of them out, including Madeleine King, will miss campaign launch in Perth on Sunday.

So if it was going to happen, the timing, whereby I’m out a couple of days before our campaign launch in Perth, is really the sweet spot. So I look at it from that perspective, it could have been a lot worse, this could have happened today. I could have tested positive and then we would have had all this planning for the campaign launch that would have had to have been postponed.

Updated at 21.40 EDT

A man has died after falling into floodwaters in western Queensland after the region was swamped by heavy rainfall.

(Via AAP:)

The 45-year-old was with family when he fell into floodwater at the Lloyd Jones Weir on Barcaldine-Isisford road, east of Longreach, just after 6pm Thursday, police said.

The man’s body was found by search crews just hours later, about 200m downstream.

The man’s death was not suspicious and a report would be prepared for the coroner, police said.

Major flood warnings remain in place for the region with floodwaters continuing to flow through the interior.

Updated at 21.18 EDT

Queensland reports six Covid deaths

Queensland has reported its Covid figures for the past 24 hours. Sadly, six people have died, with 4,477 new cases.

Updated at 21.26 EDT

Peter Hannam

It’s been passing strange electricity prices haven’t featured more in this election campaign since it’s been clear for some time that they are on a steep rise.

The Australian Energy Market Operator helpfully laid out how much wholesale prices have risen in the March quarter (141% up from the same quarter a year ago, and two-thirds up since the start of the year).

We explore more of that detail here:

(But we also flagged it here about 10 days ago, coincidentally published on the day the Morrison government dropped its “modelling” on the costs of Labor’s main climate policy.)

Anyway, one key takeaway is that renewables continue to look more and more attractive as the cost of fossil fuels keep rising (and coal plants keep failing).

Another is that Australia’s decision to link east coast gas markets to the global price continues to cause grief. Yes, blame Russia now, but both major parties own that decision.

Gas prices averaged about $10 a gigajoule for the quarter, a two-thirds increase from a year ago that also feeds into higher power prices when gas plants kick in.

The higher wholesale prices will take time to feed into retail prices but when they do, households and businesses will be unhappy – with no equivalent of a temporary fuel excise cut to plead for. Victorians, with their relatively high use of gas for space heating, face an extra hit.

And, as it happens, Aemo’s March quarter report on wholesale prices looks positively cheap at $87 a megawatt hour. Future prices for most states are already double that for June, including $200 in NSW and Queensland.

Updated at 21.11 EDT