What's In And Out After The First Online Leaders' Debate

The first online leaders' debate delivered some actual answers.

17/06/2016 5:51 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:54 PM AEST

For all those Aussies choosing to chat in the pub instead of tuning in to Facebook for the first online leaders' debate in election history, you might have just missed out. It was even almost a slogan free zone.

And maybe it was the new debating platform, or the fact there's only two weeks left before July 2, OR the reality they were answering voters directly (probably all of the above) but Turnbull and Shorten actually delivered some straight answers.

Hosted by News.com.au and moderated by News Corp journalist Joe Hildebrand, the pair covered everything from same sex marriage, climate change and mental health to negative gearing and company tax cuts.

But when it came to deregulation of university fees, medicare and penalty rates there were some clear answers. So here's what's in and out after the final leader's debate:

Penalty Rates.

While many in the Coalition have come out supporting the reduction of penalty rates, when push came to shove Malcolm Turnbull said penalty rates would not be lowered if he was returned to govern on July 2. For his first three year term at least.

After running with the oldest political trick in the book saying the Coalition had "no plans" to change it, Turnbull was forced to "go further".

"Not only do we have no plans, we will not. We will not make changes to penalty rates. It is a matter for the independent umpire, the Fair Work Commission," Turnbull said.

"That applies to your full next term in Government?" Hildebrand asked.

"All three years of it, yes, that's right."

Although he could escape with a Fair Work Commission's ruling.

The Labor party has long defended penalty rates but on Friday night Shorten tried to go further than Turnbull saying Labor would put in a submission to the Fair Work Commission supporting the retention of penalty rates.

So a reduction of penalty rates is out.

University Fee Deregulation

Turnbull admitted the Coalition would deregulate university fees slightly for a small number of "flagship courses" across the nation to "provide more flexibility to universities".

"What we will seek to do is to offer the universities the ability to deregulate fees, if you like, for a small number of flagship courses so that they can compete, so that you do get more competition between universities, but the strong support -- Government support -- through HECS, for higher education, is absolutely critical."

Shorten strongly opposed Turnbull's proposition and promised $10,800 in minimum student funding for each student annually.

So deregulation is partly in for Turnbull, and out for Shorten.

Medicare Privatisation

Bill Shorten pitted Labor as the party to "save Medicare" throughout the debate, while Malcolm Turnbull has spent Friday defending the Coalition's plans for the national health system after setting up a $5 million taskforce to investigate the privatisation of the payment system.

So Medicare privatisation is out.

So who won?

All in all, both leaders spoke passionately about mental health, suicide prevention, climate change and same sex marriage with Turnbull admitting his party have voted for a plebiscite so a vote in parliament is out of his hands.

News.com.au report Shorten prevailed on Friday night, winning over voters in the room 17-7.

The Labor leader didn't leave Facebook headquarters without a few zingers hitting the internet.

The first came during Turnbull's defence of the Coalition's climate change policy.

"Now all of a sudden, Tony Abbott's his climate advisor." Zing.

The second came during the NBN debate, where Turnbull argued Labor's 'fibre to the node' policy would be more costly and take longer than the Coalition's 'copper to node' scheme, while Shorten said it was more important for the nation to have "first-class" technology.

The newest element to the online debate was the real-time Facebook reactions which the moderators and leaders checked in on during the eleven questions.

"Let's press "Like" if you prefer fibre to copper," Shorten said. And the likes came in. Zing.

But there were plenty of people who couldn't, with many aspirational viewers complaining about the video buffering or cutting out online.

First time's a charm.

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