Government Accused Of Wasting Taxpayer Money On Advertising By Delaying Election Call
Labor has accused Scott Morrison of wasting both time and taxpayer money by delaying the Federal Election call for another week.
In the lead up to the weekend, Australia looked all but certain to be heading to a May 11 election, with the Prime Minister expected to call the election by Sunday.
But by late Saturday speculation began rising that the call would be delayed for another week -- ruling out the May 11 weekend as an option.
While most believe the Government is delaying the call in order to use every last opportunity to spruik its Tuesday budget, Labor has accused Morrison of playing games to increase his chances of winning.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has accused the Prime Minister of deliberately not calling the election in order to continue the Government's access to taxpayer funds for its own advertising.
Labor estimates those ads are costing taxpayers up to $600,000 a day.
"This government wants to spend tens of millions of dollars on TV advertising to pump up their own tyres," Shorten told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.
"That's why they're buying time, so they can spend some more of Australians' money."
"Wouldn't it be good if he surprised the nation and said no more TV ads by the Government."
Greens Party leader Richard Di Natale also accused the Government of delaying the election call so it could continue using taxpayer funds.
"It’s time for fixed election dates and an end to the rort that is taxpayer funded advertising for government propaganda in the lead up to an election. C’mon Bill let’s work together to fix this," Di Natale tweeted on Sunday.
But at his own press conference, while campaigning in Western Sydney on Sunday morning, the Prime Minister was having none of it, insisting the Government would not be rushed into calling the election early.
"The election will be called in April and the election will be held in May," Morrison said.
"That impatience is born of arrogance," he said of Shorten.
"He believes he should just have this election already, and he believes he has already won it."
The Prime Minister went on to accuse the Labor Party of hypocrisy, claiming it also delayed calling an election when Kevin Rudd was leader in 2013.
"So Labor honestly they can lecture nobody about anything."
Morrison said the election was always going to be called in April and could have been on any of the weekends of the 11th, 18th or 25th.
The Government has been working hard this week to spruik its budget and tax cuts.
But it's not certain if it will be enough to win the election with the latest Newspoll showing the Coalition still trailing Labor 48-52 on a two-party preferred basis.
It's still a decent gain for the Government following its budget announcement, after last month trailing 46-54, according to Newspoll.
It comes just hours after a Fairfax-Ipsos poll showed Labor holding a significantly higher lead over the government.
The poll released on Sunday night showedLabor leading 53-47 on a two-party preferred basis.
If the results, which have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 per cent, were replicated in a uniform swing, Labor would win 83 seats in the 151-seat lower house.
The poll also suggested Morrison remains the preferred prime minister, with 46 per cent of those polled preferring him compared to 35 per cent choosing Shorten.
Almost one in five voters were undecided.