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Shorten Says Aussies Have 'Tuned Out' Of The Election, Blames Negative Politics

Bill Shorten is on a five-week cross-country road trip, but he knows many people don’t care at all.

The Labor leader’s election campaign took him to Brisbane’s Redcliffe Hospital on Thursday, visiting an oncology ward to meet three patients battling cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.

Shorten admitted to one woman that Australians have “tuned out” of the election, with more important things on their mind.

Bill Shorten speaks to cancer patient Debbie Tremble. Photo: AAP

“What I was thinking, in an oncology ward, is that these people are in the fight of their lives,” Shorten said.

“When you get that news, you’re not greatly fussed about what order a how to vote card is.”

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Alongside Labor candidate for Petrie, Corinne Mulholland, the Labor leader admitted to Barbara Hotham -- fighting breast cancer -- that many Australians were not paying attention to the five-week campaign anymore.

“A week to go, a lot of people have tuned out, they’ve got other things to think about, that’s understandable,” Shorten said.

Bill Shorten holds the hand of bowel cancer patient Judy Dixon. Photo: Josh Butler.

He held the hand of Judy Dixon, as he heard her story of battling bowel cancer. Shorten remarked that hearing her story - and discussions about cancer therapy and funding - “helps us put the rest of our [election] arguments in context”.

The opposition leader visited the Moreton Bay Integrated Care Centre’s cancer ward, a bright, sun-drenched room full of doctors and nurses bustling around. It was a nice view out toward trees and the city, which several patients remarked on in small talk with Shorten. Judy said it was a “wonderful” hospital with a positive environment.

Wearing a cancer “survivor” shirt, Debbie Tremble said Labor’s cancer funding commitment “means a lot to someone going through treatment”. She said her daughter was also in the same hospital having a baby at that very moment - which Shorten said was “fantastic” and “something to look forward to”.

Debbie Tremble (patient), Sue Frederickson, and granddaughter Natahlia. Photo: Josh Butler.

Debbie said she wants to see her grandkids grow up, and was supported at her chemo appointment by another daughter, Sue, and grand daughter Natahlia.

“You get to meet Bill Shorten, nobody else did today,” Debbie told the young girl as she fidgeted in her seat, curious about why their quiet hospital visit had suddenly been invaded by a phalanx of cameras and microphones.

Later, Shorten was asked about his remarks inside the ward, and about whose fault it was that many Australians couldn’t care less about the campaign.

More than one million Aussies have already voted early, and 10 Daily vox pop interviews around the country this week have found a common theme of ordinary voters not knowing or caring about politics.

Bill Shorten sits with breast cancer patient Barbara Hotham and her son Ian Hotham. Photo: Josh Butler.

“I do think that not everyone’s fully engaged in the election. I think some people are turned off by the negativity too," Shorten admitted.

The good news? It's almost over.

Josh Butler is travelling with the Shorten campaign.

Listen to Hugh Riminton and Peter Van Onselen in The Professor and The Hack discuss all things #Auspol. 

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