Online face-off for Aussie PM and Labor leader on Friday

The ruling Liberal-National coalition, led by Mr Malcolm Turnbull (left), and the opposition Labor party, led by Mr Bill Shorten, are neck and neck in recent opinion polls, in what was seen as an unloseable election for Mr Turnbull.
The ruling Liberal-National coalition, led by Mr Malcolm Turnbull (left), and the opposition Labor party, led by Mr Bill Shorten, are neck and neck in recent opinion polls, in what was seen as an unloseable election for Mr Turnbull.PHOTO: REUTERS

MELBOURNE • The leaders of Australia's two main political parties will hold an online debate for the first time in a national election campaign, ahead of federal elections on July 2.

Debate sponsors Facebook and News Corp - which is owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch - said that the debate between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten will take place on Friday.

It will be streamed in real time through Facebook Live on News Corp's Australian website news.com.au as well as Facebook. Australians will be able to submit questions for the debate, which will be hosted by a News Corp journalist.

The ruling Liberal-National coalition and opposition Labor Party have been running neck and neck in recent opinion polls, in what was originally seen as an unloseable election for Mr Turnbull.

His conservative coalition has been focusing on creating jobs and growth through moves such as cutting the corporate tax rate but Mr Turnbull's personal popularity has been waning.

The centre-left Labor opposition has been campaigning to boost spending on education and health care.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2016, with the headline 'Online face-off for Aussie PM and Labor leader on Friday'. Print Edition | Subscribe