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Leaders visit key seats as election campaign nears end


Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten will continue to hammer home their messages in key seats in Tasmania and Western Australia today, as the election campaign heads into its final days.

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Morrison will begin Wednesday in Launceston which lies in the seat of Bass, an electorate he wants to nab from Labor’s 5.4 per cent margin.

Although Morrison wanted to focus on his first home buyers’ policy ahead of Saturday’s election, other issues such as questions about his religious beliefs threatened to throw off his narrative.

“The party administration will (deal with) that and I’m not being distracted by it,” he said when asked about homophobic remarks made by two Liberal candidates.

“What people are interested in is the home they are going to buy and the rent they’re going to pay.”

Bill Shorten will pledge to deliver “win-win” outcomes for business and workers while visiting Perth.

The former Australian Workers’ Union national secretary is expected to reflect on a lifetime spent negotiating and delivering outcomes for workers and business.

“I genuinely value co-operation, I understand that successful employers are a prerequisite to creating good jobs, maintaining safe workplaces and ensuring decent wages,” Shorten will say.

“I also understand that achieving win-win outcomes is only possible when everyone plays by the same rules.”

The opposition is keen to crack down on tax-avoiding companies.

“When multinational tax minimisers treat Australia like a doormat, this robs the budget of money which could be invested in schools and hospitals and services,” Shorten will say.

Wage theft and abuses of labour hire cause a hit to the vast majority of employers who do the right thing, he will argue.

Shorten will promise to establish a new jurisdiction to sit alongside the Fair Work Commission, to ensure ripped off workers with unpaid wage claims of up to $100,000 could have them resolved in a day under a Labor government.

Labor is eyeing up to four seats in Western Australia, with Hasluck, Stirling, Swan and Pearce all on the radar.

Independents are also in focus, as the possibility of Australians electing a hung parliament weighs on both parties.

Shorten will give controversial businessman Clive Palmer, who is a chance to return to federal parliament after Saturday’s election, a spray.

“Thanks to the preference deal he’s done with Scott Morrison, Clive Palmer can turn up on day one with a political IOU almost as big as his ego.”

Former MP Rob Oakeshott, who is running for the regional NSW seat of Cowper, said independents are being “very presumptuous” by talking about who they might back if there is a minority government.

“None of us are elected and we don’t know what the make-up of the parliament is,” he told ABC Breakfast.

Former prime minister John Howard doesn’t expect an “overwhelming” result towards either major party at Saturday’s election, but he thinks the Liberal Party can still clinch it.

“I think we can win, I’m not saying we will, I think we’re still behind,” he told Sky News on Tuesday.

“I don’t think you’re going to have an overwhelming result, I think it’s going to be close – it could go either way.”

Meanwhile, the number of Australians casting an early vote is expected to hit three million by Wednesday, with 2.6 million people already voting by close of business on Monday.

At the same point in the 2016 federal election, 1.5 million people had voted early.

-with AAP

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