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The Vote: Fighting for the Aboriginal vote (Part Two)

A complaint lodged with the Human Rights Commission alleges that there is a pattern of indirect discrimination and voter suppression in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.
Read Transcript

As Australia prepares to elect its 31st Prime Minister and next federal government, there’s a proportion of people under represented in that vote. 

Indigenous enrolment remains lower than the rest of the population, particularly in remote areas, like parts of the Northern Territory. 

A complaint lodged with the Human Rights Commission alleges that there is a pattern of indirect discrimination and voter suppression. 

Today, in the second of this two part series, 7am producer Ruby Schwartz on a historic human rights complaint - and the man behind it. 


Guest: Producer for 7am, Ruby Schwartz.

Read Transcript

(Airplane sounds fade in… )

 

##Ruby Schwartz:
Hi! Are you Matthew?

 

##Matthew:
Yeah!

 

##Ruby Schwartz:
Hi, I’m Ruby!

 

##Matthew:
Finally - get to meet!

 

##Ruby Schwartz:
I know! 

 

##Matthew:
Is that you?

 

##Ruby Schwartz:
Yes this is me!

 

##Matthew:
All good, come along… Welcome to Maningrida!

 

##Ruby Schwartz:
Thank you! Very excited to be here. 

 

[Theme Music Starts]

 

RUBY:
From Schwartz Media and 7am, I’m Ruby Jones. This is The Vote

 

As Australia prepares to elect its 31st Prime Minister and next federal government, there’s a proportion of people under represented in that vote. 

 

Indigenous enrolment remains lower than the rest of the population, particularly in remote areas, like parts of the Northern Territory. 

 

And the reason for that - according to allegations in a complaint lodged with the Human Rights Commission, is a pattern of indirect discrimination and voter suppression. 

 

Today, in the second of this two part series, producer Ruby Schwartz on a historic human rights complaint - and the man behind it. 

 

It’s Thursday May 12.

 

[Theme Music Ends]

 

Audio note: 

Good morning everyone, welcome to AirNorth flight to Maningrida… 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
In mid-April, I jumped on a tiny twin engine plane to fly from Darwin to Maningrida in West Arnhem Land. 

 

Ruby Schwartz audio note:
A little nervous because the plane looks smaller than I thought it would be and I’m a bit of nervous flier…  But yeah apparently the flight from Darwin to Maningrida is beautiful - so I’ll distract myself by looking out the window… 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
After landing at possibly the smallest airport I’ve ever seen - just a tarmac, a small office and a wooden bench… I’m greeted by Matthew Ryan - the man I’ve flown there to meet.

 

Ruby Schwartz:
Thanks so much for getting me.


Matthew:
Nah all good mate, all good. 

 

(atmos - car doors closing)


Matthew:
All good? 


Ruby Schwartz:
Yep.


Matthew:
I think that’s us.

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
Matthew is the Mayor of the West Arnhem Regional Council - which Maningrida is a part of… 

 

Matthew:
This is my second term as a mayor. Got another three or four years now, which is a big challenge - but a challenge I like. 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
And like any good Mayor, the first thing Matthew does is give me a proud tour of Maningrida. While Maningrida isn’t huge Matthew, knows it so well it’s like he could drive blindfolded. 

 

Matthew:
… this the local cop shop here…

… You got the local basketball court…

Here’s the swimming pool right here


Ruby Schwartz:
It’s a nice pool!


Matthew:
Beautiful! …


Ruby Schwartz:
Is that a cow?


Matthew:
Yeah that’s a cow! Don’t worry, there’s a couple here - surprise! (laughs)...

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
Maningrida is beautiful - right on the ocean. It’s also one of the largest remote communities in the Northern Territory - home to about 3000 people - most of them (about 90%) Indigenous. And Matthew seems to know just about everyone. 

 

(Matthew chatting with people in the car)

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
He’s waving at every car that we drive past… Occasionally putting down the window to have a chat. 

 

Ruby Schwartz:
You seem to know everyone.


Matthew: Yeah (laughs).

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:

I was there because Matthew, a sitting mayor; an elected official has lodged an historic complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission. The complaint is the first of its kind - and it alleges that the vote of people living in remote Indigenous communities is being suppressed. 

 

Matthew is actually one of two men who originally made the complaint. The other man - Mr Wunungmurra (WUNUNG-MURRA) - was from East Arnhem Land. He passed away in recent months. For cultural reasons I can’t say his full name. 

 

But Matthew is pushing ahead with the complaint. And if he gets the outcome he wants, it could be hugely consequential for remote Indigenous communities – and for the way our democracy operates.

 

(fade in on car pulling up)

Matthew:
Ok this is the council office…

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
The tour ends when we reach the council offices - where we find a quiet spot to sit and talk.

And Matthew begins to tell me about how he got to this point… 

 

Matthew:
Yeah look I’ve grown up in a unique place you could say. And experienced lots - the hardship, the good and the bad. 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
Matthew grew up about 100km south of Maningrida.

 

Matthew:
Out Bush Bush, you know? You know, and they they say, whoop whoop? That’s where we were living. 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
He was sent to school in Maningrida - and as soon as he graduated - he became a police officer. 

 

Matthew:
I suppose this - when I joined the police, I could see the gaps and the issues… 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
And in his work as a police officer, Matthew became aware of all these issues he’d never really paid attention to before. 

 

Ruby Schwartz:
What kinds of gaps?


Matthew:
The funding shortage… 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
He began to notice the poor infrastructure, the crowded houses…

 

Matthew:
We don’t get given anything - we only get the crumbles. 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
It both angered and energised Matthew - and made him want to change things, to make a difference. 

 

But being a police officer in a remote Indigenous community… it wasn’t easy. 

 

Matthew:
At times, I heard a lot of racism…


Ruby Schwartz:
From the white police?


Matthew:
Yeah…  


Ruby Schwartz:
Is there anything that sticks out as a particularly hard day… or something like that, that happened that stayed with you?


Matthew:
Yeah lots…


Ruby Schwartz:
Would you mind talking about it?


Matthew:
No, I’d prefer not to… 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
Matthew says that his work as a police officer gave him PTSD. He still wakes at 2 or 3am most nights thinking about the things that happened… 

 

Eventually Matthew left the police force. And after leaving  - he took a long break from working - and from engaging with the community.  

 

But then…

 

Archival Tape -- John Howard:
“Well ladies and gentleman… Mr Brough and I have called this news conference to announce a number of major measures…”  

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
In 2007, after a report was published that detailed supposed widespread sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory - the Howard government launched an “intervention”... 

 

Archival Tape -- John Howard:
“It is interventionist, it does push aside the role of the Territory to some degree…” 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
Which changed life in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory for good.

 

Archival Tape -- Speaker 1:
“The implementation of intervention was something I'll never forget. It was an experience of innovation... 

 

… Some people were hiding in their houses. A lot of people were scared. We were all scared.”

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
Teams of soldiers and police were sent into communities like Matthew’s. 

 

Archival Tape -- Reporter:
“So the army just rolled in in their trucks and pitched their tents in the middle of the community?”

 

Archival Tape -- Speaker 1:
“Yes yes!”

 

Archival Tape -- Reporter:
“The Australian army in the middle of an Aboriginal community?”

 

Archival Tape -- Speaker 1:
“Yes yes!”

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
Indigenous people were pushed off employment programs onto the doll. 

 

Alcohol was restricted. Pornography was forbidden. And these bans were loudly splashed on signs at the entrance of these communities. “Warning” the signs said. “No alcohol, no pornography.” 

 

The racial discrimination act was also suspended - for these communities alone... In essence acknowledging that the intervention would constitute discrimination. 

 

Archival Tape -- News tape:
“And for them alone, the racial disrimination act has been suspended. The Government suspended the act because it's believed abuse is widespread and therefore anyone living in a remote community may be a danger to children.” 

 

​​Matthew:
The intervention really blanketed all men, I don’t want to use that name… blanketed us as bad men really. Pictured all Aboriginal men are bad. And this made me angry. About one size fit all. 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
Every person I spoke to in the Northern Territory for this story brought up the intervention with me - unprompted. It’s not something I had anticipated going into this reporting trip. I was there to talk about voting. But not a conversation went by without at least a few minutes spent talking about the damage the intervention wrought on Aboriginal communities - which people told me created mass unemployment, saw Aboriginal children forcibly removed from their families and spikes in youth suicide. 

 

And Matthew is no different. When he started to see what the intervention was doing to Maningrida - he couldn’t look away.

 

Matthew:
People lost their job. People lost their faith in the system, and literally people went to look, Man, I'm being honest here - people literally went to doing drugs so they can support their families. And you can't blame the individual or families because there's nothing for them in the community at the time due to the fact of, you know what, what the intervention done. 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
And Matthew, he had this realization. Like, if I just keep not engaging - nothing is going to change. 

 

Matthew:
So they blanketed us with the same paint brush that we are bad man, and that's why we said nah nah, let’s be vocal about this. Let's speak up. 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
So he decided to do something he thought could have the biggest impact… 

 

Matthew:
So I wanted to get in where I can voice my opinion and raise concern about the intervention.

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
He decided to get involved in politics.

 

First as a local councillor… Then he was elected Mayor.

 

And it was at this point that a new issue came to Matthew’s attention: voting. Or lack thereof. 

 

Because while Matthew was voted in democratically - the turnout was laughably low. 

 

Ruby Schwartz:
Do you know how many people voted for you to become Mayor? 


Matthew:
Probably just to get in as a councillor, like 100 and something plus.


Ruby Schwartz:
And that’s a community of like 4000 plus?


Matthew:
Yeah exactly! And that shows you the statistics… it should’ve been more! 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
Matthew also noticed that there was little to no work being done before elections to get people enrolled - or to educate them about the political system. 

 

Matthew:
People don't understand why they're voting. People don't understand the politics behind that. The policies that the government implement and the fact that it'll have on the community the consequences. This what the people don't understand. And there's lack of education the way it should be taught at school. 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
And at first, Matthew tried to fix the problem congenially… 

 

Matthew:
I actually spoke to the staff at the time at the election poll. And I said look you need interpreters at the table, you need the right people at the table to explain the pamphlets and the process of electing the candidate. And never listened to me once. 

 

And at one stage there was someone trying to tell me what to do. And I said I’m trying to explain to my countrymen, my people, how to vote. That should be someone’s job to be explaining! It shouldn’t be up to me, it should be up to the electoral commission.

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
But no one listened to him. And it was this familiar feeling - from when the Northern Territory intervention happened - where it’s clear what his community needs - and doesn’t need - but no one hears them… 

 

And Matthew thought… 

 

Matthew:
Geez, we need to expose these people!

 

Archival Tape -- Warren Snowdon:
“On the 15th of June 2021, a complaint was made to the AHRC about the maintenance of the electoral roll and conduct of the 2019 federal election in respect of remote Aboriignal communities by the Australian Electoral Commission.” 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
Just last year - before Matthew was re-elected as Mayor for the second time - he filed a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission. 

 

Because Matthew was of the firm belief that his community’s voices were being suppressed in our democratic system.  

 

Matthew:
My predecessors have fought to vote and to be recognised. But then you have systems that prevent us in terms of having our say. And I still can’t believe this is still happening.

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
The complaint got a lot of attention. This is Labor MP Warren Snowdon speaking about it in parliament… 

 

Archival Tape -- Warren Snowdon:
“This suppression is so extreme that it has led my constituents, constituents in my electorate of Lingiari to take legal action to attempt to end this discrimination.” 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
And the complaint itself - it’s pretty extraordinary - and pretty shocking. 

 

And the person it's directed at… is the person in charge of running our elections. 

 

***

 

We’ll be back after this.

 

[Advertisement]

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
I have to tell you - when I first read Matthew’s complaint… all 109 pages of it… I was pretty shocked.

 

The complaint that Matthew has made to the Australian Human Rights Commission is targeted at the Australian Electoral Commissioner - the person in charge of the organisation that delivers and runs our elections.

 

Archival Tape -- Tom Rogers AEC promo tape:
“Possibly the most important element of any election in a democracy is electoral integrity…” 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
The Commissioner, by the way, his name is Tom Rogers. He’s white, served in the military for nearly 20 years, and from a quick google image search - appears to exclusively wear purple ties that match the Australian Electoral Commission’s branding material. 

 

Archival Tape -- Tom Rogers AEC promo tape:
“Over the last few elections, we’ve made sure Australian elections are as safe as can be…” 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
He was first appointed the Commissioner in 2014… and was reappointed for another five years by Scott Morrison in 2019. 

 

Archival Tape -- Tom Rogers AEC promo tape:
“It is front and center in everything we do. Authorized by the Electoral Commissioner, Canberra.” 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
Okay - let me tell you about what the complaint says - and the arguments it puts forward.

 

One of the arguments is pretty straightforward. It has to do with polling booths. Those little cardboard boxes you cast your ballot in. 

 

So if you flip through the appendix of the complaint, you’ll find pages and pages with the names of remote towns in the seat of Lingiari (the seat that covers Matthew’s town, Maningrida.) And what these pages are doing is listing out the towns that received polling booths during the 2019 federal election. 

 

You’ll see exactly where in those towns those polling booths were set up - the aged care facility, the youth centre… in one case just the “verandah” was listed. 

 

You’ll also see the mode of transport used to get polling booths - four wheel drives, helicopters, charter planes. Remember - some of these places are super remote. 

 

The most important thing listed though - is the exact amount of days and time those polling booths were there for. Because that’s what this argument is about. 

 

The complaint alleges that polling booths don’t come to remote Indigenous communities for long enough - particularly and here’s where the allegation of discrimination comes in - when you compare how long they set up in other comparably sized BUT predominantly white towns in the electorate. 

 

For example, in the 2019 federal election, Maningrida had polling booths for half as long as Jabiru even though it has more than double the amount of residents. And according to the complaint’s logic, that’s because Maningrida is almost entirely Indigenous - Jabiru on the other hand is mostly white.

 

The complaint says that this is a pattern in the electorate of Lingiari - and that it amounts to indirect discrimination.

 

Matthew:
There was a lack of polling booths in the community. And that’s some of the problems we’ve put a complaint against, you know. There was a lack of that. 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
Okay - now to the next argument in the complaint - it’s really interesting. And to understand it - you have to go back to 2012… 

 

Archival Tape -- ABC News Newsreader:
“The Federal Government introduced a bill into Parliament today to give Australia's Electoral Commission the power to put citizens on the voting roll once they turn 18.” 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
So after John Howard’s prime ministership, enrollment rates in Australia significantly dropped. 

 

And when the Gillard government came into power - it tried to address the problem through something called direct enrollment.

 

Basically, the government wanted to give the Australian Electoral Commission the power to use information from things like motor registries, Centrelink and the tax office to automatically enroll people of voting age. 

 

And what that would mean, is that when a person turns 18 - they don’t really need to do anything to get on the electoral roll. The AEC would simply find their details - write to them to let them know they’re getting enrolled - and if they don’t respond within 28 days - they’re on the roll. And therefore - they can vote.  

 

Archival Tape -- ABC News:

“The Government argues that the change will see more Australians exercising their democratic rights. But the Coalition doesn’t support the change…”  

 

Archival Tape -- Malcolm Turnball:

“The idea that somebody can be enrolled at a particular address simply because the Electoral Commissioner has found their name, with that address, on some other database or some other accounting system is profoundly wrong.”

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
And while the Coalition went hard against the idea of direct enrollment. The Bill passed - and the enrollment rate in Australia shot up. 

 

Which sounds like a good thing. And it is. 

 

But the thing is - while the enrolment rate did go up for Indigenous people too - it has remained really low. In the Northern Territory - it’s less than 70%. Well below the national average of 97%.  

 

And here’s where Matthew’s complaint comes in.

 

The complaint says that unlike the majority of people in Australia who get automatically enrolled, many people in remote Indigenous communities don’t. They still have to manually enroll themselves. 

 

And according to the complaint, that’s the fault of the Australian Electoral Commissioner. 

 

Here’s why. 

 

The complaint alleges that the Commissioner has created a “policy” that says to be automatically enrolled - you need a mailing address.

 

And having a mailing address is an easy ask for a person who’s just turned 18 in a place like Melbourne. But in remote Indigenous communities - a lot of people don’t have mailing addresses. 

 

And maybe you’re thinking this all makes sense - because the Commissioner needs to send the person they’re enrolling a letter to say they’re doing so. How else would you know you’ve been enrolled?

 

But - and here’s the really interesting thing the complaint points out - the legislation the Guillard government brought in says nothing about needing a mailing address. In fact, it explicitly gives the Commissioner the power to automatically enroll people and communicate that through electronic means, through SMS, email.

 

So - if the Commissioner’s policy didn’t exist - someone like Matthew - living in Maningrida could be automatically enrolled. The AEC could find his details - send him a text to let him know he’s getting enrolled. If he doesn’t respond within 28 days - voila - he’s on the roll. 

 

According to the complaint - it’s “inexplicable” as to why the commissioner doesn’t do this. And it’s indirect discrimination. 

 

Because why not use every power at your disposal to automatically enroll as many Australians as possible?

 

Ruby Schwartz:
Why do you think the AEC would be making it harder for Indigenous people to vote?

 

Matthew:
Look I dunno, probably because I think there’s a threat I reckon. Because there’s more and more Indigenous people speaking up. And people want to have their say in terms of what should be happening in our communities. Where I think there’s a threat because Indigenous empowerment increasingly coming up. By doing this - they’re trying to suppress us from speaking up and voting…

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
So I took all these claims to the AEC. 

 

Their response was this.  

 

They told me that the remote polling schedule is complex and involves polling of various durations in order for mobile teams to get to a number of locations. They said it’s a world leading service, which visits around 400 communities.

 

With regards to direct enrolment, the AEC said it has been their longstanding belief that they must communicate about this through hardcopy, written form. But they added that they have been trialling email notifications and that the initial trials are positive. 

 

And finally the AEC stated, quote: “There are no barriers to enrolment in Australia – it is one click away for anyone who wants to actively participate in elections.”

 

Since Matthew first made the complaint - the lawyers representing him have told me that hundreds of other people from remote Indigenous communities around Australia want to add their names to the complaint too.

 

It’s clearly not an isolated problem. 

 

But it’s also clearly not a problem that will be solved before this federal election - which is less than two weeks away now.

 

But I wonder - what if it was? 

 

What if the Indigenous enrollment rate increased to 97%, like the rest of the population? Could it change the outcome of this election?

 

(Calling Ben Raue - phone rings)

 

Ben:
Hello Ben speaking.


Ruby Schwartz:
Hey Ben. It’s Ruby. How’s it going?


Ben:
Good thanks. Thanks for doing this a bit early.


Ruby Schwartz:
No, thank you for making the time… 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
So I called up Ben Raue…

 

Ben:
Ah Ben Raue - election analyst from the Tally Room…

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
… a polling analyst - to find out what he thought. 

 

Ruby Schwartz:
I guess the first question I do want to ask is if the Indigenous enrollment rate was raised to be basically on par with the rest of the population hovering at about 97% - how do you think think it would change the outcome election? Or would it change the outcome of this federal election? 

 

Ben:
There are two electorates that I think are worth paying attention to - where there is both a large Indigenous population and the electorate is relatively close and turnout is not as high as it is in other seats. And those are Leichart, which covers Cairns and the top end of Cairns in far north Queensland, and Lingiari, which covers most of the Northern Territory, including the outback, the Top End and Alice Springs.

 

But I mention Leichardt and Lingiari because they are also close. And so, you know, for seats held by like a 20% margin, then turnout changes would have to be astronomical, almost bigger than is possible to really make a difference. 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
So what Ben’s saying is that in a lot of seats with large Indigenous populations - the margins are too big for higher enrollment levels to result in any meaningful change. 

 

But this is a very close election - so I ask Ben if the two seats he mentioned could have an impact… 

 

Ben:
It could have an impact. Some of the polls suggest Labor is on track for a comfortable win, but some of them are a lot closer and a couple of seats can be really valuable in that situation.

 

It's never going to come down to just the one seat that decides an election. Even if on the night it turns out to be one seat. That's crucial that seats only got into that position because of a bunch from the seat to fall in a particular way. 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
The other thing Ben pointed out - is that higher enrollment doesn’t always lead to high voter turnout. 

 

So maybe a change like this wouldn’t swing the outcome of this election. But in many ways, that also seems beside the point.

 

Ben:
Elections are the opportunity to influence how government works, and in theory it is supposed to be proportional to the share of the population. But yeah, it does make a difference if if one demographic is less likely to turn out, they become less politically important. 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
Because really - what we’re talking about here is a fundamental right in this country. A right to vote - to be counted - to be heard. And a right that was won by Indigenous people in this country not all that long ago. 

 

Ruby Schwartz:
And you mentioned before that Indigenous people had to fight for the right to vote in the 1960s. Does it still feel to you like you are still fighting for the right to vote? 

 

Matthew:
Yeah. We are still fighting today. And it’s disappointing. It’s the modern day. And you go how? Why? Why is this still happening?

 

Ruby Schwartz:
And would you say that our democracy - would you say it’s not working for Aboriginal people?

 

Matthew:
No it’s not. It’s not. And I say that with a passion. And we can be influential in our own right - and say if you’re not going to listen to us we’re not going to vote for you next time. So it makes them think about who we are as a community. And because the community have been left high and dry for that long - people have lost interest. But we need to start that conversation again - to say hey - the reason you’re not enrolled is because of these issues.

 

So you know these sort of discussions. Which should happen in school and the community. 

 

Ruby Schwartz:
Is it something that you talk to your kids a lot about?

 

Matthew:
Lots.

 

Ruby Schwartz:
What do you say to them?

 

Matthew:
I tell them they must vote so we can get more funding for our community. And you need to make your opinion heard. And my kids are pretty good, they listen to the advice I give them. Sometimes - kids are kids. C’mon. But at least I got my kids enrolled which is really good. 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
As we’re leaving the council offices - Matthew takes me to the board with all the names of past and present council members. 

 

Matthew:
So that’s all the old elected members, and… 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
Matthew points proudly to his name on the plaque. It says councillor Matthew Ryan…

 

Ruby Schwartz:
2008 and a dash to nowhere… 


Matthew:
Ongoing, serving member!

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
And who knows where Matthew will be heading next. To a court battle if his complaint isn’t conciliated? Maybe. To Territory politics? He’s considering it. 

 

Matthew:
There’s a lot a lot of things I want to do… 

 

RUBY SCHWARTZ:
But right now - his focus is squarely on getting his community enrolled and voting. Because the federal election - it’s just weeks away. 

 

Matthew:
Best of luck… 


Ruby Schwartz:
See you Matthew…  

 

RUBY:

This reporting was made possible through the Melbourne Press Club / Michael Gordon Fellowship. 

 

[Advertisement]

 

RUBY:
Also in the news today… 

 

For the first time ever Prince Charles has delivered the Queens speech to the UK parliament.

 

The Queen’s speech sets out the legislative agenda of parliament and this is the first time the Queen has withdrawn from delivering it personally in almost 60 years.

 

And, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described Opposition leader Anthony Albanese a “loose unit” after the Labor leader stood by his comments that he would support a 5.1% increase to the national minimum wage, which he announced Tuesday. 

 

The minimum wage is set by Australia’s Fair Work Commission, and while Albanese has refused to say he’d formally ask them to raise it, he reiterated yesterday that he supports lifting of the wage in line with inflation. 

 

You can listen to analysis on this and other election highlights in tomorrow’s The Vote panel episode.

 

I’m Ruby Jones, see you then.

 

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