Malcolm Turnbull will hold his next debate on Facebook in an apparent attempt to engage with younger voters.
On Tuesday, the prime minister announced that the third leaders’ debate with Bill Shorten will take place on Facebook, in conjunction with news.com.au. The announcement comes after Turnbull rejected Sky News‘ demands for another leader’s debate on their network.
Malcolm Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten debated on Sky News on May 13, but the debate flopped with only around 54,000 viewers. A second debate was held on May 29 at the National Press Club but was likewise uninspiring.
When announcing the Facebook debate, Mr Turnbull said “It is traditional to have three debates so let’s have the third one in an innovative way”.
The prime minister will extend an invitation to Bill Shorten to participate in the live debate, but hasn’t confirmed whether Greens leader, Richard di Natale will also be invited.
Mr di Natale has previously expressed his displeasure at the Greens being excluded from electoral debate, despite growing Greens support across Australia.
This is thought to be the first time the Facebook Live streaming service will be used to host a major political event in Australia. Using social media as a political tool has become commonplace since its success during Barack Obama‘s 2008 presidential campaign.
Malcolm Turnbull has previously ignored offers by the ABC’s Tony Jones to appear in an interactive, live streamed debate on Q&A.
While there is no confirmed date for the debate, reports suggest it may occur as early as next week.