Health again focus as campaign resumes

The prime minister and opposition leader squeezed in a day on the hustings in between their so-called campaign truce on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison will resume election campaigning after a Good Friday truce. (AAP)

The stop-start federal election trail provided sufficient time for finger pointing and political attacks to briefly resume as the campaign kicked off again after the Good Friday truce.

The main focus for both major parties on Saturday was again on health but Labor also wanted to talk about the restoration of penalty rates, reminding voters that it was Prime Minister Scott Morrison that cut them.

However, Mr Morrison and Labor Leader Bill Shorten have also agreed to a ceasefire in the campaign for Easter Sunday.

Mr Morrison promised $165 million in heath commitments - $100 million for clinical trials in remote and regional Australia and $65 million for a cystic fibrosis specialist unit at Sydney's Westmead hospital.

"This dedicated unit, the first of its kind anywhere in Australia today, is a big breakthrough for those who have lived with cystic fibrosis, to those who have lost family members and friend, and those who will dealing with it into the future," Mr Morrison told reporters outside the Westmead hospital.

Mr Shorten gave the $65 million promise a tick of approval but questioned why the coalition hadn't backed Labor's $2.3 billion cancer care plan.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said that's because there is a $6 billion hole in Labor's plan and labelled it a "cruel hoax".

The political argy-bargy over health came as Australian Medical Association says its latest hospital report card shows the system is "over stretched" and "over burdened.

"Increasing demand, increasing population, increasing complexity of illness has put enormous pressure that's not being funded enough," AMA President Tony Bartone told Sky News.

Mr Shorten in Melbourne focused on penalty rates with Labor calculating workers will lose between $220 and $370 over the 10-day Easter and Anzac Day period.

The Labor leader promised to restore penalty rates within 100 days of a Shorten government being voted for on May 18.

He said Mr Morrison as treasurer and prime minister cut funding for schools and hospitals.

"But perhaps to show how truly callous they are, you have to look at their performance on penalty rates," he told reporters.

Separately, Mr Shorten attacked a campaign on Facebook suggesting Labor would introduce a death tax.

"It is a lie. It is a lie. It is a lie," he said.

He also took aim at the coalition's $80 million of water purchases under the Murray-Darling Basin plan, raising questions over their probity.

But Mr Morrison hit back saying there had already been a "high-level of transparency" through a Senate inquiry where the government had produced documents of the transactions.

He said this is what the Labor leader does when he gets desperate and can't answer questions about his own policies.

"He starts throwing mud around. This is what Bill Shorten does."

Published 20 April 2019 at 4:36pm
Source: AAP