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Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison on the campaign trail.

Campaign Countdown: dog days, Pauline visits WA and Mother’s Week

Less than a week to go in the Federal Election campaign and all eyes are on WA seats that shape as crucial battlegrounds in the race to form government.

In the final of our weekly updates tracking the campaign, we take a look at the who, where, why and what (on earth!) of the political happenings ahead of a May 18 polling day.

 

Poll position

Newspoll suggests the race remains locked at 51 per cent to 49 per cent in Labor’s favour for a third straight week. The bookies have also shortened the odds of a majority Labor win on Saturday, with Bill Shorten at $1.14 to be our next PM and Scott Morrison (and the Coalition) at $5.50 to remain in the job after Sunday.

 

WA spotlight
Labor has promised $30 million to redevelop the WACA and $23 million for a new cycle bridge at the Swan River crossing at the Causeway to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians.

Meanwhile, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has made one final push for votes out west, visiting a Joondalup shopping centre and a Mandurah early polling station and arguing with Labor’s Anne Aly about the fallout from a lunch they once shared.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that some key WA seats – Liberal-held Hasluck, Pearce, Stirling and Swan and Labor’s Cowan – could be crucial indicators of the way this election will go.

 

While you were playing:

The Coalition unveiled some new policies at its party launch in Victoria on Sunday:

  • $53 million for perinatal care and post-natal depression, something Prime Minister Scott Morrison said was “close to home”
  • $75 million for a program to encourage parents and carers back into the workforce
  • $70 million for women’s sports
  • A new home loan deposit scheme that means first home buyers would need to pull together a 5 per cent deposit to buy their new home, instead of the 20 per cent most banks now require. Labor quickly matched this: a plan to offer first home buyers a taxpayer-backed guarantee for their deposit.

On the road again
PM Scott Morrison spearheaded the Coalition’s campaign launch in Melbourne on Sunday but was in Perth by Monday, catching up with the Hockeyroos. Meanwhile, Labor leader Bill Shorten fronted for an interview with Barrie Cassidy on ABC TV’s Insiders, participated in a Mother’s Day fun run, and attended his own rally in his electorate of Maribyrnong (Labor/10.4 per cent).

 

Everybody’s talking

Labor finally released its costings late last week, promising bigger surpluses than the Coalition has suggested it could deliver.

It was Scott Morrison’s birthday on Monday (51) and and it was Bill Shorten’s on Sunday (52).

Some of the Liberal Party’s star power has been rolled out for the final, crucial week of campaigning, with Julie Bishop joining Scott Morrison in Perth yesterday and John Howard hitting the trail in Warringah with Tony Abbott.

 

Hot topic, hot seats:

Russell Crowe has given a celebrity endorsement to independent Rob Oakeshott who is a short-priced favourite to win Cowper (National/4.6 per cent).

 

Mind you, the man who was once Maximus might have broken his promises about “one political tweet” within days:

 

Roll Call

Gurpal Singh, the Liberal candidate for Scullin in Victoria, last week became the seventh candidate to jump ship (or be pushed) from his party over sketchy social media history – in his case, comments relating to same sex marriage and allegations of rape.

Mother’s Week

It’s been an election campaign light on for truly emotional moments but one arrived last week after Bill Shorten’s tearful response to a Daily Telegraph article querying his mother’s life story. Mr Shorten’s own words were poignant but it was the flurry of #MyMum tweets that followed in the hours and days afterwards that really gave the topic legs.


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