Australia

Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten down election tools for Easter

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The campaign will wind down over the Easter break - the break coming at a much needed time for Bill Shorten who has had a rough start.

Australian voters are being given a couple of days' break as Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten call an Easter truce.

The political leaders are shutting down their federal election campaigns on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Political advertising will be halted over the holidays, with candidates from both major parties told to lay low.

The Easter break couldn't come at a better time for Bill Shorten who has endured a bruising first week on the campaign trail. 

The Labor leader is returning home to Melbourne on Friday after promoting his party's Indigenous policies in Darwin and the Tiwi islands. 

Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten watches a dance performed by Tiwi Island elders during a community barbecue on Bathurst Island near Darwin, Thursday, April 18, 2019. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten watches a dance performed by Tiwi Island elders.
AAP

Despite Mr Shorten's eagerness to focus on health, the early period of the campaign has been dominated by tax and questions about policy costings. 

The low-light of the week for Mr Shorten came when he was asked on Tuesday if Labor had any plans to change superannuation concessions. 

Mr Shorten ruled it out but actually Labor would increase the tax burden on superannuation members by $34 billion - a mistake the Coalition immediately seized on. 

"They're being dishonest, or sneaky or they're just clueless when it comes to their own policies," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Tasmania. 

Mr Shorten was forced to correct the record the next day. 

"I thought I was being asked about 'have we got any unannounced changes to superannuation?'," Mr Shorten told reporters on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison meets locals at Molly Malone's Irish Pub in Devonport, Tasmania, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (AAP Image/GETTY IMAGES/POOL/Ryan Pierse)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison shared a beer with some Tasmanians on Wednesday night.
Getty

"But obviously we have changes which we outlined three years ago, so I should have picked the words better, no question.

By contrast, the Prime Minister, who started the campaign well behind in the polls, goes into the break on a high. 

"Things are turning around for the Liberal and National parties in this election," Mr Morrison told about 100 supporters in Launceston. 

The Coalition have managed to set the campaign agenda most days, putting the spotlight on the cost of Labor's climate policy. 

Bill Shorten says the Coalition's $25 billion costing of his policy is a lie, but without providing a figure of his own, the attack has done some political damage. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Liberal member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson play bowls at the Torquay Bowls Club near Geelong, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has played lawn bowls, darts and bingo since the campaign kicked off a week ago.
AAP

The Liberal Party hasn't had a clean run though either, with Peter Dutton forced to belatedly apologise to his Labor rival after suggesting she was using her disability "as an excuse". 

Mr Morrison had his own gaffe, opening the door to nuclear power during a radio interview in Launceston - something Labor was quick to point out was illegal.  

Apart from some photo opportunities featuring family and hot cross buns, the leaders will take a break from the campaign trail. 

After finishing the first week in Tasmania where he announced extra money for health in the north, Scott Morrison will be back in Sydney on Friday night in time to watch his beloved Cronulla Sharks. 

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