Shorten slams ‘sneaky operator’ Morrison
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has savaged Prime Minister Scott Morrison's rumoured preference deal negotiations with Clive Palmer, warning if the Coalition is re-elected it will deliver "the most extreme right-wing government in Australia's history".
Speaking at a tourism funding announcement in Tasmania on Saturday morning, Mr Shorten and Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese were asked about Mr Palmer's suggestion of Mr Morrison's policy deals with the United Australia Party (UAP).
The rumoured preference deal - which would see the Coalition place Clive Palmer's party second above Labor - has been denied by Mr Morrison but is expected to be announced on Monday.
Mr Shorten warned that "a vote for Scott Morrison is a vote for Clive Palmer and Pauline Hanson".
"The Morrison Government's desperate deals with extreme right-wing parties is promising a return to the chaos," he said.
"Imagine what we won't get done in this country under a Morrison-Palmer-Hanson government."
And he wasn't afraid to get personal.
"Morrison here, he's a very sneaky operator. You can ask Malcolm Turnbull that," he said.
"In Melbourne and Sydney and Hobart and Launceston, he's said we don't like One Nation, we'll put them below Labor.
"Up in Queensland, where it really matters, he has given a sly nudge and a wink to his mate the deputy leader, and you can do whatever deal you want. That's not on."
When asked if Labor had been in similar discussions with Mr Palmer, the Labor leader failed to offer a clear response.
"Whether or not there were conversations, I would not sign off on any deal with Mr Palmer until he resolves the issues of the tens of millions of dollars he owes taxpayers and workers," Mr Shorten said.
He then called on the Prime Minister to come clean to the public about what exactly he has promised Mr Palmer.
"A deal like that, leaders have to be aware of," he said.
A VOTE FOR CLIVE
Mr Palmer currently faces criminal charges in relation to his botched business dealings.
He also owes millions of dollars to hundreds of Queensland workers who were laid off following the closure of his Queensland Nickel refinery.
Despite this, Mr Palmer has spent a staggering $33.7 million on advertising to promote the United Australia Party during the election campaign.
A Liberal Party preference in the federal election would boost the UAP leader's odds of being elected as a senator for Queensland.
It would also assist the Coalition to secure a variety of lower house seats in the sunshine state.
Mr Shorten attacked the idea of preferencing Mr Palmer's party, warning Mr Morrison would soon "learn the truth" of an old saying.
"If you lie down with dogs, you will get fleas," he said.
PM BITES BACK … BETWEEN SHEARS
Mr Morrison defended himself against Mr Shorten's comments during a press conference in Eumungerie in regional NSW this morning.
"The truth is, Labor and the Greens present a far bigger threat to Australia's economy and people's jobs than the UAP does," Mr Morrison said.
"That's just a simple fact."
As he sheared a sheep, reporters asked the PM about his discussions with Mr Palmer, to which Mr Morrison remarked, "the choices get pretty thin" beyond the Nationals.
"If the question here is about workers, well, workers are going to be better off under a Liberal National government than they would under a Bill Shorten Labor Greens government," he said.
'NO POLICY DEALS'
Yesterday, Mr Morrison said no "policy deals" had been arranged between the Liberals and minor political parties.
"There were discussions about where preferences go, and Clive Palmer made the point himself, he believes that Labor's tax policy would be devastating for Australia's economy," Mr Morrison said.
Mr Shorten slammed the Coalition for preferencing a party led by a man who had left hundreds of Queensland workers penniless.
"Scott Morrison had a choice between standing up for ripped-off workers or sucking up to a tosser who ripped them off and he chose the tosser," he said.
"He chose Clive Palmer."
Mr Albanese chimed in on the attack against Mr Morrison, warning that striking a preference deal with Mr Palmer or One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson in the upcoming federal election would be a "recipe for absolute chaos".
"If we have a Morrison-Hanson-Palmer government, then it will be the most chaotic in Australia's history," he said.
Mr Albanese warned voters to think carefully about not voting for "fringe, hard-right parties" as well as a Prime Minister who "promotes them and brings them in as if they are mainstream".
"They are not. They are dangerous, they are wreckers, and they would be at the heart of a Morrison government if he's successful in three weeks' time," he said.