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Labor deputy tests positive for COVID-19

Richard Marles COVID
Deputy PM Richard Marles sees the future of China and Australia inextricably intertwined.Photo: AAP Photo: AAP
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On the day Labor’s leader has emerged from COVID-19 isolation, the party’s deputy has been struck down by the virus.

Richard Marles has been forced to miss Labor’s campaign launch this weekend after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.

“I will be isolating at home and following advice,” Mr Marles said on Twitter.

“I’ll be back on the trail in no time, fighting for a better future with Anthony Albanese.”

Mr Albanese came out of seven days of COVID-induced isolation on Friday.

The opposition leader will start the day in Sydney before flying to Perth later on Friday ahead of Sunday’s campaign launch in Western Australia.

While coming days will see Mr Albanese take it easier on the campaign trail as he recovers from the virus, he said he was looking forward to a return to in-person campaigning.

“It’s no use not looking after your health, there’s still three and a bit weeks to go in this campaign,” he told ABC TV on Friday.

“I certainly feel much better today than I did yesterday … for me the peak was day three and four of iso, but now I’m feeling good.”

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said it was reassuring Mr Albanese was out of isolation.

“We’re very pleased that our captain will be back on the field with us,” he told reporters in the Sydney-based electorate of Reid.

“Consistent with doctor’s orders, he is coming back, making sure he can do enough on the first day back.”

However, Labor has come under criticism after Mr Albanese did not appear at a press conference on Friday, despite making multiple morning TV appearances.

Dr Chalmers tried to shrug off suggestions the opposition leader was attempting to avoid scrutiny, as well as concerns Mr Albanese was not liked by voters in critical seats despite Scott Morrison’s own unpopularity.

“The campaign has still got three weeks to run. Anthony Albanese has done a heap of interviews this morning, and he will have a heap of engagements out west as well, consistent with the health advice,” he said.

As the election campaign moves into the second half, Mr Albanese said he was up for further leaders’ debates with Mr Morrison.

Mr Morrison said he had agreed to participating in two debates next week, one on the Nine Network and the other on Seven.

However, Mr Albanese said he wanted to see a debate on the ABC.

“The national broadcaster can have a role here as well and the prime minister thinks that he is the only person who has a say in this,” he said.

“The idea the ABC would be excluded from any participation is rather extraordinary, and that is the suggestion being made by Scott Morrison.”

Mr Albanese said the national secretaries of both major parties should be able to work through a debate schedule for the remainder of the campaign.

“I’m up for more debates, but I’m not up for the prime minister deciding when, who, how that occurs,” he said.

– AAP