Australia to hold first online leader’s debate

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attends a meeting at a hotel in ShanghaiThe leaders of Australia’s two main political parties will hold an online debate for the first time in a national election campaign ahead of a July 2 vote, debate sponsors Facebook and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp said on Tuesday.

The ruling Liberal-National coalition and opposition Labor Party have been running neck-and-neck in recent opinion polls in what had originally been seen as an unloseable election for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s popularity waning.

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

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

The debate between Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten on June 17 is set to be streamed in real time via Facebook Live on News Corp’s Australian website and Facebook.

Australians will be able to submit questions for the debate, to be hosted by a News Ltd journalist.

“This debate will be different to any you’ve seen before. It is a chance for millions of everyday Australians to not just watch the debate, but to actively participate – by asking questions and giving their instant reactions,” managing director Julian Delany said in a statement. (Courtesy Reuters)