- Welcome to day five of the campaign, with 33 days to go.
- Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten are both in Victoria, which the opposition leader has sought to claim as home turf.
- The major parties have clashed on healthcare, with Labor promising $250m to reduce hospital waiting times and Liberals questioning how the opposition would finance their ambitious cancer care program.
- Falling support for One Nation has boosted the primary vote of the major parties, according to the latest Newspoll
That’s where we’ll leave it for today, after a busy day of campaigning in Victoria.
To recap the highlights:
- Both leaders campaigned in Victoria today, with opposition leader Bill Shorten eager to claim a home ground advantage.
- The battle over healthcare :
- The Labor Party has announced a $250 million spending commitment aimed at cutting down hospital waiting times
- Coalition has gone on the attack over how Labor will finance its ambitious cancer care pledge
- The Prime Minister focused his message on tax relief for small businesses, and officially launched Gladys Liu’s campaign for the seat of Chisholm.
- Fall in support for One Nation to the lowest levels since 2016 has boosted the primary vote for both major parties
Labor’s assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh says his party will help fund 10 new public tax clinics around Australia if they win the election.
Dr Leigh visited the University of Melbourne Tax Clinic this morning and said it would spend $150,000 annually to help low- and middle-income Australians get help navigating the tax system.
“Tax clinics like Melbourne’s will provide free tax assistance for disadvantaged communities,” he said.
“Each tax clinic will have volunteers, students and pro bono tax practitioners on hand to help low income taxpayers as well as small and microbusinesses with administrative tax matters, including completing tax returns and responding to queries raised by the tax office.
Melbourne Law School Dean Pip Nicholson said the clinic will not only be of great benefit to the broader community, but also to the Melbourne Law School students who will work in the clinic.
“Students will meet with clients and provide advice and representation services under the supervision of volunteer tax professionals and the dedicated Melbourne Law School clinic supervisor.”
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Another small additional snippet from the Labor campaign after their visit to La Trobe today:
Bill Shorten said in government, Labor would boost mental health services in the Melbourne suburbs by delivering more inpatient mental health beds at Casey Hospital.
Labor will spend $22.4 million to meet the rapidly rising demand in the growing area of Australia’s second biggest city, in a plan designed to take pressure off the hospital’s emergency department and keep doctors and nurses safe.
Health spokeswoman Catherine King said the plan will help ensure people in the region with severe mental ill health can access improved models of care in acute and high dependency beds.
Labor wants to win the seat from Liberal Jason Wood. Their candidate Simon Curtis toured the hospital with Mr Shorten.
The Coalition’s campaign spokesman Simon Birmingham is speaking in Canberra, as the leaders wrap up their day.
Mr Birmingham says Mr Bowen’s claim from this morning that the ALP would introduce one new Medicare item to support healthcare would ignore the “vast majority of cancer treatments that are available”.
“What it highlights is Bill Shorten has not done the homework on his policy – that coming out and trying to make a big hero of himself in his budget reply speech, Bill Shorten promised the earth, but is going to deliver relatively little,” he says.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has finished his public campaign commitments for today, with his media pack now filing stories on the day’s events in south-eastern Melbourne.
Earlier he met cancer patient Rob Gibbs outside the Casey Hospital.
Mr Gibbs came to the Labor leader’s press conference, waiting until the end to tell his story about an uncertain diagnosis and spending almost $20,000 on critical cancer treatment.
The former Country Fire Authority volunteer said he doesn’t trust politicians after being let down during his illness.
He has lost two toes and could lose a leg.
“You’re always hearing them promise things,” Mr Gibbs said.
“As soon as they get elected they forget about it.”
Despite believing his cancer is linked to his time fighting fires, he said Victorian Labor had not followed through in passing laws to cover the cost of treatment.
Mr Shorten spent some time speaking to Mr Gibbs and promised to raise his case with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
“What you’re talking about is the exact reason why I’m running for prime minister,” Mr Shorten said.
Labor has promised to spend $250 million to cut urgent elective surgery waiting lists in public hospitals if they win the election.
Expect to see pictures of Mr Gibbs and the Opposition Leader on the television news tonight.
Health minister Greg Hunt has jumped into the ring one more time to repeat that the Labor Party’s ambitious healthcare proposals had not been adequately costed.
“Based on the range of cancer items matched to the Australian Medical Association’s table of recommended fees there would be a cost of $6.8 billion over four years.
However Chris Bowen has been caught out saying it will be for a single ‘new Medicare item’ (Bowen, Radio National 15 April 2019), while Catherine King says it’s for a number of ‘new Medicare items’ and concedes ‘we’ve got some work to do’ (King, doorstop 15 April 2019).
This is policy on the run and a cruel hoax on cancer patients,” he said in a statement.
This line of attack has been a recurring theme throughout the day, with shadow health minister Catherine King, opposition leader Bill Shorten and shadow treasurer Chris Bowen all weighing in.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison officially launches Liberal candidate Gladys Liu’s campaign for Chisholm.
Some 20 per cent of voters in the the Melbourne Seat, which was previously occupied by Julia Banks, are of Chinese heritage.
Michaelia Cash is helping out too.
Ms Liu is facing off against Labor candidate Jennifer Yang.
Visiting the Liberal-held marginal electorate of La Trobe on Monday, the Labor leader met with families in the Casey Hospital and posed for photos with staff.
Khalil Paygham, a doctor in the hospital, told Mr Shorten he had read about Labor’s health policies and plans for investments in the public sector.
He said he was pleased the parties had visited Melbourne’s growing south east so early in the campaign.
“Thanks for what you’re doing,” he told Mr Shorten, noting a large increase in demand for health services in the region.
Accompanied by health spokeswoman Catherine King and Labor’s candidate for the seat Simon Curtis, Mr Shorten met new parents Jodi Nankervis and Cassandra Beale, 24 hours after the birth of their second child, a daughter named Myah.
Ms Beale said she was feeling well after the delivery, laughing about the large media pack in her hospital room.
“In this election we think there’s a very simple choice for people,” Mr Shorten told the couple.
“Do you want better hospitals or bigger loopholes for the top end of town?”
The couple also have a four-year-old daughter and were expecting to leave the hospital on Monday afternoon.
“I am pretty tired and looking forward to catching up on some sleep,” Ms Beale said.
“It’s been quite an experience.”
After the group posed for photos and some more policy talk from Mr Shorten, Mr Nankervis shook his hand.
“Good luck with it all, Bill,” he said.
In the hospital entrance, Ken and Lee Ellis said they wanted to see to Mr Shorten because they were Labor voters.
“I told my doctor to hurry up. I said ‘Bill’s going to be here and I want to see him,” Ms Ellis said.
Curious about the $387 billion figure, which the Liberal Party says is the impact of Labor’s tax policies over a decade?
Columnist Jennifer Hewett has you covered on the politics behind the number.
“But $387 billion represents a very calculated political gamble from the Coalition that it sounds a big enough, scary enough figure to persuade voters that Labor is going to tax, tax, tax its way to a big spending government. Spending YOUR money, that is,” she writes.
Full article here.
Snapshot from the campaign by Tom McIlroy.
Here’s the mobile billboard that has been trailing Labor leader Bill Shorten all day.
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