“Our government has been absolutely clear that we are not cutting Medicare. In fact, I think our record of increasing spending across all elements of our health care system speaks volumes,” said she declared.
In Cairns, Albanese was forced to clarify Labor Party policies on border protection for the second time in a week after he falsely said his party supported temporary protection visas for asylum seekers.
Asked if the Labor Party supports Operation Sovereign Borders and temporary protection visas. Albanese replied: “Yes.”
Labor has for years backed two of the three pillars of the coalition’s policies on boat arrivals – detention at sea and boat pushbacks. But the Labor Party does not support temporary protection visas on the grounds that they needlessly leave refugees in limbo for years. Instead, Labor has a policy of scrapping visas and converting them to permanent visas.
Minutes after his press conference ended, Albanese reappeared to say, “Earlier I heard half the question, I didn’t hear the whole thing.”
“Labour policy is to support Operation Sovereign Borders – we support offshore processing, we support resettlement to third countries. We do not support temporary protection visas.
It is the second clarification Albanese has been forced to make on border protection in four days after having to clarify on Thursday that Labor still supports overseas detention.
Morrison hit back, saying there had “always been three elements” to the Coalition’s successful border protection policy and “all three prongs are necessary”.
“And I know Labor never believed in it, never supported it, never understood it and that’s why they can’t be trusted to keep it. “
Morrison did not name who would take over Ruston’s existing social services and women’s safety portfolios, saying he saw the health portfolio as the most important to clarify amid a pandemic.
But he grew nervous amid lingering questions about the social services portfolio, throwing several references to ‘Mr Speaker’ in his responses to the media before catching up – ‘well, I’m back in parliament’, he said. – he laughed.
If the Coalition wins the election, Ruston will succeed outgoing health minister Greg Hunt, who is retiring after leading Australia’s response to COVID-19.
One of his latest tasks was to announce funding on Sunday for continuous blood sugar monitoring for the 130,000 Australians with childhood type 1 diabetes.
Five-year-old Kieran Delaney was unaware the minister was about to leave as they chatted at an event for children with diabetes.
“I think one of you is going to win,” Kieran said, pointing to both Hunt and Morrison.
Hunt replied that he supported the Prime Minister, but the young boy did not.
“I support him!” he said, pointing to Hunt insistently.
Morrison’s laughing response? “Gee, thanks buddy.”
After two days in northern Queensland, Albanese took a plane trip to the northern rivers region of New South Wales, devastated by recent flooding. Labor has been highly critical of the government’s response to the floods, particularly its initial financial support in the nearby town of Lismore, which is in the Nationals-held seat of Page.
He headed for Bangalow in Labour-held Richmond where he met the Reverend Rosie Wynter.
She helped evacuate people from Bangalore and surrounding towns and continues to collect and donate clothes and goods to people still recovering from the floods.
Albanese was accompanied by his partner, Jodie Haydon, who hugged Wynter as they left the church and his home which water swept through in early March.
While in the area, Albanese visited the Byron Bay Bluesfest, being held for the first time in three years after pandemic-induced cancellations, where he was greeted with a rockstar reception.
Morrison traveled to Western Australia on Sunday, the first trip west for either leader since the election was called.
Jacqueline Maley cuts through the noise of the federal election campaign with news, opinion and expert analysis. Sign up for our Australia Votes 2022 newsletter here.