Election diary: Leaders attempt to woo the west before first debate

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Photo: AAP

Day 19 of the federal election campaign has been entertaining, with both our leaders wooing Western Australia.

But it was not just the leaders out and about on Monday. Lots of other politicians were active, providing a flurry of activity to comment upon (looking at you, Clive Palmer).

And the night ended with the first leadership debate of the campaign. It was a lively affair with Seven’s audience verdict giving Opposition Leader Bill Shorten the edge.

Mr Shorten managed to convince 25 undecided voters to go for Labor, while Prime Minister Scott Morrison convinced 12. Another 11 remained undecided.

Now, here’s an overview of the day’s other major developments.

Where were they?

Both leaders were campaigning on the west coast before their first televised debate.

Mr Morrison was in Fremantle, while Mr Shorten was in Stirling.

Labor Promises

Childcare: The Opposition Leader visited a childcare centre in Stirling to spruik child care policies that will increase pay for workers in the sector.

Mr Shorten also alluded to pay increases for other traditionally female-dominated sectors.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and his deputy Tanya Plibersek read a book at a childcare centre in WA. Photo: AAP

New mining: Labor also announced a a funding package to help explore new mining sources, such as lithium, which is used in the batteries of electric cars and to store renewable energy.

Liberal Promises

Mr Morrison’s messaging was about the Liberal Party’s record defence spending and plans to lift funding for the sector to two per cent of GDP.

The PM also announced a $1 billion package to bring forward the construction of three navy warships.

Mr Morrison visits Civmec ship building facility at Henderson. Photo: AAP

Quotes from the road

“Bill Shorten’s going to be a Very Hungry Caterpillar chomping into your wallet, chomping into your wallet, to pay for his spend-a-thon.”
Mr Morrison picks on his opponent’s choice of reading material in a childcare centre

“It is a choice between a united and stable Labor team led by myself and supported by Tanya Plibersek or the divided, ramshackle coalition of the unwilling led by Mr Morrison and Clive Palmer and Pauline Hanson. This is a very unstable coalition of cuts and chaos in Canberra and it needs to stop.”
Mr Shorten on the different options for voters

“I mean this is a fast track to a socialist, if not communist, economy. It is unheard of.”
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan speaking on ABC radio about Labor’s weekend policy announcements

“My wealth is $4000 million. Do you think I give a stuff about what you personally think or anyone else thinks? I care about this country.”
Mr Palmer talking to the Nine Network

Elsewhere on the election trail

Newspoll: The latest Newspoll showed a tightening in the race.

It shows that this election is going to be a tight one, with the Coalition trailing Labor 51-49. 

If those numbers hold, the Coalition could lose up to 10 seats and the election.

Palmer addresses the media, calls Labor ‘sad losers’: Clive Palmer addressed the media about preference deals.

Mr Palmer said he met Labor’s Anthony Chisholm regarding preferences in 2013 and 2015. He also said he had lunch with a former Labor minister in 2019.

After delivering his statement, Mr Palmer strolled off stage and refused to answer any journalists’ questions.

Mr Chisholm responded to Palmer’s accusation: “At no stage did I negotiate or offer Mr Palmer anything in regard to preferences. I was not authorised to offer anything and I didn’t.”

Early voting is open: Early voting is now open, which means people around Australia can cast their votes before May 18.

Early voting is rapidly becoming more common in Australia. At least 5 million of the 16.4 million Australian voters are expected to vote early in the 2019 federal election.

It continues an upward trend: In 2007 about 8 per cent opted for pre-voting, while in 2016 more than 22 per cent did.

That’s odd …

Last campaign diary we brought you the news that our PM likes to swim laps in the morning. He also made a subtle diss at Mr Shorten for running in public and appearing far too happy to have his photo taken mid-jog.

Labor senator Kristina Keneally fired back at Morrison for being photographed on Easter in the throes of worship.

Senator Keneally tweeted that he was a bit of a “hypocrite”.

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