Albanese forced to clarify comments on election campaign

Albanese forced to clarify comments on election campaign

Anthony Albanese, the Opposition Leader, has been forced to clarify comments he made on the election campaign, sparking fears that his Easter long weekend reset might be in trouble.

Labor insiders had hoped that the four-day weekend would give the opposition the chance to regain its political fortunes after a widely publicised stumble over the unemployment rate during the first week of campaigning.

After Mr Albanese unveiled a policy to fund 50 urgent care clinics if his party was elected, he declared the $135 million plan had been fully costed by the Independent Budget Office PBO yesterday, Labor's Finance Spokeswoman Katy Gallagher had to issue a late-night clarification on social media.

The costing of Labor's Urgent Care Centre policy is based on work done by the PBO, but has not been formally costed by the PBO, she wrote.

Mr Albanese tried to put an end to the confusion after a Good Friday church service in Sydney's south-west.

The policy is fully costed - it is informed by work done by the PBO, he said.

Labor sources later argued that while the party itself costed the policy, it was based on work done by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

On Thursday, Health Minister Greg Hunt seized on the comments, repeating the Coalition's argument that a Labor government would struggle to manage the economy.

This is an embarrassing economic and health backflip for Anthony Albanese and his team, according to Mr Hunt.

Anthony Albanese said the project was fully costed yesterday. He's either ill-informed, not across the facts, or have they fudged the figures?

You can't trust Labor with health because you can't trust them with economic management. Both federal leaders entered Good Friday hoping for a ceasefire, downing the tools to attend church services.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is under fire for not setting up a national corruption watchdog.

The pledge was a key election promise during the 2019 campaign. The Coalition's proposed model has been criticised as overly secretive and lacking teeth, prompting accusations that the government is shying away from tackling corruption.

Scott Morrison said he would introduce the bill if Labor gave it its express support beforehand despite bills that are routinely introduced without bipartisan backing.

On Friday, government frontbencher Stuart Robert said that the Coalition had not broken its promise.

He said that we do not stand by our promises in the terms of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

We put a bill forward, we put it in parliament and we look for bipartisan support. Labor started the election campaign ahead in the opinion polls, while Morrison faced accusations of lying and racism.

A week is a long time in politics, and sources on both sides told the ABC that the Coalition's prospects have improved in the first week of the campaign.

The leaders are expected to return to the hustings tomorrow, before going head to head on Wednesday in their first debate of the election campaign.