National

Climate, tax debate as campaign week ends

By AAP Newswire

Labor has sought to remind voters of the coalition's record on cutting spending, as Scott Morrison doubled down on the cost of Bill Shorten's climate policy.

A week on from the prime minister launching the May 18 election, the two leaders have already traversed much of the nation focusing largely on health, tax and the economy.

They'll pause the campaign over the Easter weekend, before candidate nominations close on Tuesday.

Mr Morrison campaigned in Tasmania, where he argued Labor would slug Australian businesses $35 billion to meet its carbon emissions target, through the purchase of international credits.

"That could be invested here in Australia in employing more people, increasing wages," Mr Morrison said.

Labor is seeking to bring down emissions by 45 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, compared with the coalition's plan of a 26 to 28 per cent cut.

"It is just a nonsense claim," Mr Shorten said of the government's attack.

Mr Shorten quoted Josh Frydenberg in 2017 saying it didn't matter whether a tonne of carbon was reduced in Australia or another country.

He said Labor expected the economy to grow with greater investment in renewable energy.

The opposition leader, who was in the Northern Territory backing in Labor's support for indigenous communities, launched a counter-offensive on the coalition's income tax cuts.

He said Labor would beat the government's plan on tax cuts for people earning under $40,000 but would not progress a second and third round of cuts largely benefiting medium to high income earners because of the cost and inequity.

"I never lose sight of the fact that the current prime minister was the treasurer for the last three years," Mr Shorten said.

"He's the cutter in chief of schools, cutter in chief of hospitals, cutter in chief of services."

Labor says the government has locked in $40 billion in cuts to cover its largesse, which Finance Minister Mathias Cormann described as a "brazen lie".

"They may as well try and convince Australians that boiling water is freezing cold," he told ABC radio.

During a visit to Bathurst Island, Mr Shorten also confirmed he wanted Patrick Dodson to be indigenous affairs minister if Labor wins the election.