Australia

Jobs for young people, healthcare lead the charge as campaign trail fires up

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Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten ramped up their election campaigns on Sunday, with the Liberals targeting the youth vote and Labor continuing its drive on health.

Labor has attacked the government as untrustworthy over its Sunday campaign centrepiece of jobs and training for young people, while the Prime Minister warned of a Labor tax bomb.

Both Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten held what looked like mini-campaign launches on Sunday.

AC/DC's song 'Back in Black' blasted as the Prime Minister took to the stage in front of about 150 Liberal supporters, including senior figures Peter Dutton, Josh Frydenberg, Mathias Cormann and Michaelia Cash.

Mr Morrison promised to create 250,000 extra jobs for young Australians and said there wouldn't be a recession under his watch.

"I don't want my children to ever have to live through a recession but if you stick to the policies of the Liberal/National Party, that is the best defence that you can ever think of for going against a recession."

He also warned Australia would be held back under Labor because he said it wanted to put a $387 billion "tax bomb" on the economy, a figure Treasury has distanced itself from.

But Labor took issue with his plans to help young Australians get into jobs, saying his government had cut training programs over the years and said it had provided only $54.5 million in new funding for its skills package.

"After cutting $3 billion from vocational education and training, and presiding over a drop in 150,000 apprentices, the Liberals cannot be trusted to fix Australia's skills and training crisis," Labor skills spokesman Doug Cameron said.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten continued his focus on healthcare and the National Disability Insurance Scheme as he spoke to about 550 Labor troops in Burwood in the Sydney seat of Reid.

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Mr Shorten has pledged an extra $2.8 billion for health funding for the states, which he says they would lose under the coalition.

The government had underspent $1.6 billion on the NDIS, Mr Shorten added, before promising to put $40 million towards improving the scheme's workforce.

"The NDIS is too big, it's too important to be hostage to dodgy government accounting," he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and wife Jenny after the Liberal National Party campaign rally in Brisbane.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and wife Jenny after the Liberal National Party campaign rally in Brisbane.
AAP

Mr Shorten was joined by deputy party leader Tanya Plibersek and senior figures including Penny Wong, Chris Bowen and Tony Burke at the event.

Reid is a marginal Liberal seat which is even more vulnerable with the retirement of sitting MP Craig Laundy.

The prime minister flew into Brisbane on Saturday night in his bid to save the coalition's 21 seats out of 30 available in the northern state.

That includes Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton's seat of Dickson, which has a margin of about 1.6 per cent.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Deputy Leader of the Labor Party Tanya Plibersek after speaking at a Labor volunteers rally in Burwood.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Deputy Leader of the Labor Party Tanya Plibersek after speaking at a Labor volunteers rally in Burwood.
AAP

He backtracked on Saturday after accusing his Labor opponent Ali France of using her disability "as an excuse" for not moving into the electorate.

"I regret having said the words that I said," he told reporters at the rally.

Ms France lost her leg protecting her son from a car crash and spent more than $100,000 making her home, which is just outside Dickson, wheelchair accessible.

Both parties lost candidates on Saturday, with three Liberals in safe Labor seats dropping out due to constitutional eligibility concerns.

Labor candidate for Curtin pro-Palestine campaigner Melissa Parke, quit because of her pro-Palestine views, fearing they would be a distraction from Labor's campaign.

The Greens, meanwhile, said they would continue to campaign over the Easter weekend, although both major parties would hold off on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale will join thousands of people on an anti-Adani convoy over the Easter period, alongside former party leader Bob Brown.

"That's what I'll be doing over the Easter period - campaigning hard on the issue of climate change because it is the biggest single threat to humanity and we need to have politicians who are serious about taking action on climate change," he told reporters on Sunday.

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