Leaders debate: More reality on House Rules, Masterchef

IF there was one defining moment of drama in Sunday night's election debate between Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten, it was this gem.

"There is a big difference between me and Mr Turnbull,''  Mr Shorten said.

"I genuinely lead my party whereas your party genuinely leads you."

The barb was made more painful for the LNP by vision of Mr Turnbull looking unimpressed, if not angry.

Apart from that, the leadership debate was dull, scripted, and both men failed to answer questions.

As we become accustomed to in this modern age of politics, the party line, the PR line and the dodge have become an art form.

The format of the debate was dull.

A town-style meeting, with real people (sorry to the journos there) asking the questions, would have been far more entertaining, far more truthful.

That's if both leaders could be 'trusted' enough to actually answer the questions.

In terms of policy, Mr Shorten and Mr Turnbull offered clear differences.

If you want a strong economy and jobs, vote for the LNP, Mr Turnbull said.

If you want Medicare, decent hospitals and schools, vote Labor, Mr Shorten argued.

But the reality is the choice is not so clear.

To have a decent health and education system, you need to a decent economy.

And generally, it is business, not government that creates jobs.

With an ageing population, and the decline of major industries, including coal mining, both sides of politics will struggle to balance the books in coming years.

Mr Shorten made solid points in claiming that the LNP was spending at GFC levels even when there was no longer a global financial crisis.

He also pointed out the fact that the Coalition had done nothing to pull in Australia's deficit.

For his part, Mr Turnbull looked vulnerable on climate change, with Mr Shorten painting him as a clone of Tony Abbott.

Both men have sunk to desperate scare campaigns during this election.

And we can expect to see more over coming weeks.

Unfortunately, both Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten have spent more time talking of what could happen under their counterparts than what they truly offer.

For his part, Bill Shorten appeared better at actually answering some questions.

He said Labor had 'learnt its lessons' from the leadership infighting, while not referring specifically to the knifing of Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd.

Mr Turnbull dodged the question altogether, instead reverting to the machinations of the "it's all about the economy".

Actually, it's about who we trust to lead Australia over the coming years.

Is Malcolm Turnbull really just out to help the big end of town with his $48.2 billion in tax cuts for business, or will those cuts genuinely help small to medium size firms create thousands of real, long-term jobs not dependent on government funding?

Or is Labor's $37 million in high spending on schools and $12 billion on Medicare a far smarter investment for this country's future?

While Sky gave the debate to Mr Turnbull, many observers on Monday morning were reporting there was no clear winner in last night's debate.

Both performed well, largely by sticking to their scripted mantras, and managed to get key messages through.

But who should be Australia's next PM?

In the end, many Australians are yet to make that decision.

The sad part is the debate was so dull, you could forgive them for watching Masterchef, The Voice or House Rules.

There might have been more reality there.

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