Even though Prime Minister Tony Abbott has not been to Queensland during the election campaign he’s still lobbing unwelcome grenades into the state, the Federal Opposition Leader says.
Mr Abbott has insisted his absence is because Campbell Newman wants to “run his own race”, but others interpret the lack of visits as an attempt to insulate the Queensland campaign from federal issues.
”There can be no doubt that Tony Abbott has made himself an issue in this election,” Labor Leader Bill Shorten staid while in the electorate of Brisbane Central.
Controversy around the knighting of Prince Philip, the GP fee debate and talk of broadening the GST had all leaked into the state campaign, he said.
“He may be the Queen’s man – but he’s certainly not a man for Queensland.”
Mr Shorten insisted Mr Abbott and federal Liberal policies were relevant to the campaign.
“If you care about jobs, if you care about health care, if you care about education, and you’re alarmed at the terrible decisions that the Liberal government are making nationally, then you need to have a champion in your corner at the state level.”
Mr Shorten says Mr Newman is trying to hide the Prime Minister but is unlikely to ever stand up to him.
“(Mr Abbott) not being here doesn’t change the fact that he once called Campbell Newman his inspiration,” he said.
“He was at the launch of Newman’s last election (campaign), Newman was at Abbott’s last launch, but now they’re keeping a million miles away from one another. They’ve failed the test of leadership.”
Mr Shorten hailed Labor’s fightback in Queensland, traversing a “steep mountain to climb” after they were reduced to just seven seats at the 2012 election.
“I’m here regardless because I believe that true leaders turn up when the result is not certain, when the arguments still have to be made, when there are people still to be convinced,” he said.