Malcolm Turnbull And Bill Shorten Face Off In Particularly Polite Leaders' Debate

Notes were even taken.

13/05/2016 6:34 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST
Fairfax: Andrew Meares
Bill Shorten won the debate, 42 to 29 votes.

It doesn't get much better than Friday night drinks. The exception, of course, is Friday night in Windsor, where Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten went head to head tonight in the first leaders' debate.

Despite winning the coin toss to address the room first, Turnbull appeared the more shaky of the two leaders as they answered questions from some of the 100 undecided voters (chosen by Galaxy research) in the Western Sydney town.

However, Shorten did start writing notes as he stood on stage listening to some questions. Do they do that in Question Time?

The first five minutes of Sky News and The Daily Telegraph's People's Forum didn't go past without mentions of 'jobs and growth' and 'positive policies' as the pair went head to head in a particularly polite manner on negative gearing, healthcare including regional hospital funding, income tax and keeping jobs on home soil.

The most heated discussion of the night, with a fleeting moment of cheek, came when the pair addressed a question about the banking sector.

When asked whether he thought bankers were criminals by Sky News host David Speers, Shorten -- who is pushing for a Royal Commission into the sector -- replied: "No, I'm not saying banks are criminals but what I am saying is.."

Before Turnbull interjected: "Then why would you put them in the dock?"

After laughter from the room, Shorten replied with this zinger.

"I bet they changed their practices after a lecture from you."

Here it is in all its glory:

While both leaders came to the debate well-research and prepared, Shorten appeared to come out on top, despite holding back on Labor's childcare and healthcare policies.

The Opposition leader won 42 votes to 29, with 29 voters still undecided.

And the final 29 may be the most revealing. All in all, it was a night of pleasantries, with the pair even collectively standing firm against allowing Aussies to dip into superannuation funds to buy homes.

That's always the joys and perils of holding a leaders' debate on a Friday night. Regardless of whether you win or lose, everyone's too busy having their own debates at the pub to notice.

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