News Easter election battle returns to key states

Easter election battle returns to key states

Election Easter Monday
Scott Morrison to announce help for veterans, while Labor party slams 'fake news' on so-called death taxes. Photo: AAP
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The prime minister and opposition leader have hit the two battleground states of Victoria and Queensland for Easter Monday campaigning.

Bill Shorten is throwing open his regional tourism cheque book as he embarks on a campaign blitz of Queensland but could find himself in a pickle over the Adani coal mine.

The coalition holds 21 of 30 federal Queensland seats, but Labor is well within striking distance of stealing eight electorates the LNP holds by less than 6 per cent.

Scott Morrison meanwhile starts Monday in Victoria again, a key battleground where the coalition holds 16 out of 38 seats and faces a tough fight.

Redistributions have made some of those electorates notionally Labor while Kelly O’Dwyer’s retirement from politics and Chisholm MP Julia Banks quitting the party and running against Health Minister Greg Hunt in Flinders have been a blow to the government.

After campaigning about penalty rates over the Easter weekend, Labor has now released figures suggesting some workers will be up to $26,000 worse off if the coalition wins the upcoming election.

Mr Shorten is promising to pump big money into local tourist attractions as he hits the ground running in Townsville on Monday.

Labor is pledging $40 million in grants for existing destinations and another $30 million for new experiences.

Tourism Australia would also be given $25 million to promote the regions to domestic tourists, for the first time since 2013.

Mr Shorten will also commit $100 million to upgrade regional airports.

“Australia’s tourism offerings are among the best in the world,” he said on Monday.

“However, retaining Australia’s competitive advantage as a tourism destination requires investment.”

After spending most of Sunday with his family attending church and the Sydney Royal Easter Show, Mr Morrison took briefings on the bomb blasts at three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka.

“The devastating nature of this horrific attack on innocent lives, simply going about their day, going to worship on the holiest of days of the Christian calendar, is just absolutely devastating,” Mr Morrison told reporters at Kirribilli House on Sunday evening.

“There are many Australians regularly travelling in Sri Lanka and our mission in Colombo will be following through on the safety of those Australians.”