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Anthony Albanese mobbed by school children demanding selfies after debate with Scott Morrison

Anthony Albanese has been swarmed by hordes of young fans at his former high school as he surges in the polls.

The opposition leader was greeted by a mob of cheering students St Mary’s Cathedral College, in Sydney’s CBD, as he campaigned on Monday. 

Dozens of teenagers called him over for selfies and high-fives, with Mr Albanese happily obliging, grabbing hold of their phones to take photos with the crowd. 

He told the youngsters he had met one of his lifelong best friends at the school and his highest HSC marks were in chemistry and maths.

A brief press conference with frontbencher Tanya Plibersek was interrupted by bells – leading Mr Albanese to quip: ‘The bells are tolling for the Morrison government because early voting starts today.

‘Time is up.’

Anthony Albanese visited his former high school, St Mary’s Cathedral College, on Monday as part of his campaign tour 

Mr Albanese spent the day promising funding for the education sector as well as a hospital in South Australia, riding high on a fresh burst of polling indicating Labor has extended its lead two weeks out from the election.

The latest Newspoll shows Labor ahead 54-46 on two-party preferred, up one point from the previous week, while an Ipsos poll has Labor on a 35 per cent primary vote while the coalition has dropped to 29 per cent.

The welcome was similarly warm at an early voting centre in the Liberal-held seat of Boothby in Adelaide.

Mr Albanese told Labor supporters their task was to convince five undecided voters to back the party every day before the election.

The visits provided a backdrop to spruik Labor’s plans for the education and health sectors.

A $150 million plan aims to get more high achievers into teaching and boost the numbers of science and mathematics teachers.

The opposition leader was swarmed by cheering young fans who demanded selfies and hi-fives

The opposition leader was swarmed by cheering young fans who demanded selfies and hi-fives 

Labor hopes to reverse nearly two decades of declining performance from Australian students.

Mr Albanese also pledged a $200 million commitment for the Flinders Hospital in Adelaide.

The funding, which will be matched by the South Australian government, will provide an extra 160 beds, expand the intensive care unit and upgrade the operating theatres.

He was joined by SA Premier Peter Malinauskas who said the Liberal Party had neglected Boothby for too long.

Yet Mr Albanese denied the announcement was an attempt to buy votes in the marginal seat.

Pictured: The leaders remove their ear-pieces at the end of the bruising debate

Pictured: The leaders remove their ear-pieces at the end of the bruising debate

‘States run the hospitals, I’m not planning to change that at all. What I am planning to do is to sit down constructively with all state governments based upon their priority,’ he told reporters in Adelaide.

‘This is the hospital that needs this infrastructure upgrade right now.’

It comes after Mr Albanese had several fiery clashes with Scott Morrison at the second leader’s debate at Channel Nine’s north Sydney studio on Sunday night. 

The debate descended into chaos with the pair shouting at each other and ignoring 60 Minutes host Sarah Abo.

Meanwhile, the education sector is facing a post-pandemic shift, as teachers say they are burned out after two years of lockdown and educators in NSW striking last week for better pay.

Opposition education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said under the Morrison government too many high-achieving teachers were leaving the profession and not enough were entering it.

At least one in three educators quit the sector in their first five years of teaching, with unions complaining of extra workloads pushing members to their limit.

The second leaders' debate descended into chaos with Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese shouting at each other and ignoring 60 Minutes host Sarah Abo

The second leaders’ debate descended into chaos with Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese shouting at each other and ignoring 60 Minutes host Sarah Abo

Mr Albanese said Labor will incentivise the best graduates to take up teaching.

‘A good teacher changes lives,’ he told reporters.

‘(Labor’s plan) is about attracting people who will become the best teachers in the profession.’

Under the plan, 5000 students with an 80 or higher ATAR will be able to receive $10,000 a year to study teaching, plus an extra $2000 if they move to the bush.

The plan will also fund 1500 extra placements to retrain mathematicians and scientists and support them as they work part-time as teachers while getting their masters degree in education.

KEY ISSUES FROM THE SECOND LEADERS DEBATE

PANDEMIC

* Prime Minister Scott Morrison admitted it was ‘wrong’ to say that it wasn’t a race when it came to the Australian government securing vaccine supply.

* Mr Morrison defended his handling of the borders during the pandemic, including barring citizens from returning to Australia at particular times to avoid overwhelming the hotel quarantine system.

* Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the Morrison government should have acted with more urgency to establish for-purpose quarantine centres and secure vaccines.

COST OF LIVING

* Both leaders would not commit to extending the cut to the fuel excise past September.

* Mr Morrison said while the government could not control international influences on the economy, it could put downward pressure on inflation by managing money.

* Mr Albanese said Labor had practical plans to make a difference to the cost of living, including powering Australia through renewable energy, cheaper child care and not putting pressure on inflation.

INTEGRITY

* The prime minister said he had never seen corruption on his side of politics.

* Labor has committed to introducing legislation to establish a federal anti-corruption commission by the end of the year if elected.

ENERGY

* Both leaders clashed over energy policy, claiming the other’s policies would increase prices.

* Mr Albanese reiterated Labor’s commitment to renewables while Mr Morrison said the coalition would not commit to ‘irresponsible targets’ to reduce emissions.

CHARACTER

* The prime minister said the election was not a popularity contest but pointed to his ability to unite his party after the 2019 election as testament to his character.

* Mr Albanese said Australians knew what he stood for because he had the same values his whole life, including supporting a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and supporting essential universal services.

INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES

* Both leaders ruled out negotiating with independent candidates on their policies.

HOUSING

* Mr Morrison claimed Labor’s Help to Buy scheme – where Australians would be eligible for a government equity contribution – is a ‘forced to sell’ scheme.

NATIONAL SECURITY

* The leaders fought over the Darwin port, blaming each other for the sale of the lease to the Chinese government.

* Mr Morrison claimed the ‘loudest voices on being pro-Beijing come from (the Labor Party)’ which Mr Albanese labelled an ‘outrageous slur’.

AGED CARE

* Mr Morrison said the problems in aged care were not a result of the coalition’s nine years in government but rather the past 30 years. He credited himself with ‘blowing the whistle’ on aged care by calling a royal commission into the sector.

* Mr Albanese said Labor would work with the sector to ensure it could implement all the recommendations from the royal commission.

WOMEN

* Both leaders agreed more needed to be done to resolve parliamentary workplace issues.

* Asked if he thought he had a problem appealing to women, Mr Morrison said he did not. He said his government had invested to address family violence and had announced election commitments fund endometriosis and IVF support.

* Mr Albanese would not commit to launching a investigation into the treatment of the late senator Kimberley Kitching but described her death as a tragedy. He said Labor would implement all 55 recommendations of the Respect at Work report.

* Asked how they defined the word ‘woman’ both leaders agreed the definition was an adult female.

 Source: Australian Associated Press

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