Labor appears increasingly uneasy over what was to be an easy election win for the party.
With the Coalition halving the gap to trail Labor by only 48–52 in the latest poll, and Labor Leader Bill Shorten’s approval rating falling to an abysmal 35%, they indeed have cause for concern.
Enough, in either case, that Labor is scrutinising the government’s advertising budget in the lead up to the federal election.
On Monday, Senior Labor frontbencher Penny Wong probed Finance Minister Mathais Cormann, demanding he confirm or deny that $600,000 a day was being wasted on promoting the government.
‘How much are you spending per day on government advertising? Tell us how much per day,’ Senator Wong said.
This comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison is still tight lipped about when Australians can expect to take to the polls.
According to AAP, Wong alluded that the government is continuing to use taxpayers’ money to promote its policies until an election is signalled and the public service enters ‘caretaker mode’.
Senator Cormann rejects election delay claims
Senator Cormann stated the government has continued to operate as normal, and ‘completely rejected’ the suggestion that the election has been deliberately delayed.
During a heated discussion with Wong, Senator Cormann said:
‘I understand you are running this to get a grab on the evening news’.
But, the government stated it would carry on with promoting online safety for children, defence recruitment, incentives to employ apprentices and reducing electricity bills during the week.
‘Just because there is an election around the corner doesn’t mean that we now all of a sudden all have to go into conspiracy theories,’ he said.
Cormann also pointed out that the finance department was responsible for government advertising, and those officials would meet with estimate on Tuesday.
After speculation that Mr Morrision would call an election this weekend for 18 May, Senator Cormann said the date of the vote wouldn’t be until the ‘end of May’.
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