Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten had their first proper head-to-head debate of the 2016 election campaign.
After weeks on the campaign trail, sending barbs at each other via press conferences and social media, the two leaders met in Canberra at the National Press Club, and it was... utterly boring, if you asked most of the viewers voicing their opinions on social media.
While the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader sparred lightly on tax and health, education and climate change, asylum seekers and superannuation, they both seemed very happy to keep it mostly civil and not get their hands dirty. Not yet, at least; remember, there's still five weeks to go until the July 2 election day.
Turnbull and Shorten didn't tell us anything we didn't already know, as the hour-long "debate" simply turned into a back-and-forth speech as both men outlined the policies we already knew in stump speeches and talking points we've already heard. It was safe and dour, from all accounts, and while neither man took a fatal blow, social media users were not shy in sharing how they felt, with political types, journalists and #AusPol buffs sounding off.
this isn't really a debate. It's two press conferences being held next to each other. #leadersdebate— Owen. (@owenwareham) May 29, 2016
OK have a good think. When have you last watched 40 minutes of television more boring than you've just watched?— Barrie Cassidy (@barriecassidy) May 29, 2016
The most compelling element of the set piece election debate is how fresh, innovative and utterly surprising it remains. Gamechanger. 💤💤💤💤— Samantha Maiden (@samanthamaiden) May 29, 2016
Pathetic "debate" tonight that told none of us anything new ... Laura Tingle the only standout . Perhaps she or Sarah Ferguson as moderator?— Tony Windsor (@TonyHWindsor) May 29, 2016
Let me answer your question with a vaguely related statement I prepared earlier #leadersdebate— Michael Roddan (@MichaelRoddan) May 29, 2016
Quite a few thought of better things to do.
#leadersdebate : There's never been a better time to have a microsleep.— Marc Fennell (@marcfennell) May 29, 2016
However, others directed their scorn at the media itself, for forcing politicians into giving middle-of-the-road public appearances.
Sucked in Australian media types - you punish risk, spontaneity and interaction from pollies and this is precisely what you get. #nosympathy— Peter Phelps MLC (@PeterPhelpsMLC) May 29, 2016
And another even gave some tips for the next debate, whenever that may be...
Know what woulda given #leadersdebate a bit of fizz and pop? Having the Greens there.— Neil McMahon (@NeilMcMahon) May 29, 2016