/Campaign turns silly as Jacqui Lambie enjoys a sausage and Matt Canavan eats a raw onion

Campaign turns silly as Jacqui Lambie enjoys a sausage and Matt Canavan eats a raw onion

Updated

April 14, 2019 18:20:29

The onions were raw, the sausages devoured and the happy pants fast went from joy-invoking to covered in tears.

The fourth day of Australia Votes 2019 campaigning will go down in history not so much for the policies that politicians advocated but rather for what they stuffed in their faces.

It was also a day that tested the biceps and smiling power of volunteers tasked with holding slogan-filled placards as the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader held duelling campaign rallies.

But not everyone was smiling as the political class was reminded why babies can prove a tough crowd to please.

Doing it for the kids

The message from the Coalition camp was it had a plan to get young people into work.

That meant a morning flat white for the Prime Minister and a table of young people, the intimacy of which was lost thanks to the swarm of journalists, microphones and cameras that surrounded them capturing every second.

Scott Morrison spent the morning grinning and gripping with punters in the ultra marginal Coalition seat of Petrie, north of Brisbane, where his message was all about jobs.

If the breakfast coffee guest list didn’t yell “it’s about young people” loud enough, the placard-holding party loyalists picked to stand behind the Prime Minister as he turned Sunday afternoon preacher sure did.

They smiled and with their hands filled with signs reading “better roads”, “lower taxes” and “secure borders” they resorted to shimmying their shoulders and shaking their signs to offer their support.

“We’ve had a plan for growing a stronger economy over the last five and a half years and we’ve been delivering on that plan,” he said.

“That strong economy is bringing jobs and more jobs and more jobs for young people.”

The Prime Minister spoke of a plan to create training hubs in 10 locations across the country with youth unemployment rates well above the national average.

He’d arrived at the rally with AC/DC classic Back in Black blasting (it’s about the budget, remember) and supporters chanting “ScoMo” on loop.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the PM, who suffered his first campaign baby blunder, hot on the heels of Saturday’s “ni hao” gaffe.

Smiling from ear to ear, he reached out to a baby in a high chair and remarked “I think she might have her happy pants on”.

And with that the tears began to flow, but the PM wasn’t sticking around to mop them up.

“OK, lovely to see you, cheers,” he said before making a quick escape.

Rallying the troops

Further south in Sydney, Labor leader Bill Shorten rallied his frontbench troops for a Sunday speech of his own.

While Mr Morrison opted for roaming a stage with a microphone, there was a different tone at the Labor event.

For more than half an hour, Mr Shorten stood at a lectern and delivered a prepared speech, surrounded by a red shirt brigade holding signs promoting a “fair go for Australia”.

Keen to weaponise health in the battleground of western Sydney, he spoke of Labor’s commitment to fund growing hospital costs and committed to upgrading a local hospital.

“To people stuck on hospital waiting lists, we won’t let you down,” Mr Shorten promised.

He even managed to make himself laugh, when he returned to the zingers that comedians have long mocked him for.

“I wish to make it clear today that Labor has neither an apocalypse policy nor an Armageddon agenda,” he said to rapturous applause.

But not everyone was enjoying Mr Shorten’s leadership today.

Self-described life-long Labor voter Margaret used her chance to speak with the media travelling with Mr Morrison (or the “current Prime Minister” as Mr Shorten has taken to calling him) to raise her concerns about the Opposition Leader’s electric car commitments.

“What are they going to plug them into? A bloody gum tree?” she asked.

Both leaders flew to Melbourne on Sunday afternoon, where the campaign is heating up in what had otherwise been safe Liberal seats.

What will they eat next?

From former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s infamous falling out with then-deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce (the results of which were the now infamous bonk ban), to the battle between the Libs and Nats over the Adani coal mine, governing in coalition hasn’t always been easy during the last term of Parliament.

But as Nationals senator and Cabinet minister Matt Canavan showed this morning, there’s still love between the parties in the Coalition.

Why he ate a raw onion, in tribute to former prime minister Tony Abbott, remains a mystery.

But it didn’t take long for former senator Jacqui Lambie to wade into the food wars, offering photos and a caption that left little to the imagination.

It’s only day four of campaigning and already it’s getting silly. Imagine what the next 33 might hold.

Full coverage of Australia Votes

Topics:

government-and-politics,

federal-elections,

scott-morrison,

bill-shorten,

australia

First posted

April 14, 2019 17:59:05