Scott Morrison and Bill shorten in star wars tweet
Scott Morrison and Bill shorten in star wars tweet

PM cops backlash for Star Wars tweets

IT'S  just two weeks until election day and both Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten are reeling from a messy week of candidate controversy.

Five candidates in total were dumped or resigned last week over racist, homophobic or inappropriate social media posts, including another two yesterday.

But the leaders will attempt to start afresh today after a fiery leaders' debate last night, narrowly won by Bill Shorten.

Already, the Morrison camp is copping online backlash for a tweet they posted in the spirit of Star Wars Day today.

The tweet has a photo of the PM's head superimposed onto the body of a Jedi knight, with the words: "The Economy is Strong with this one. May the Fourth be with you."

They also tweeted a picture of Bill Shorten depicted as Emporer Palpatine with the Death Star in the background, with the words: "Stop Labor's Debt Star".

Social media users replied with memes and comments attacking the tweet, saying the "dark side" of the Liberal Party would stop him from winning, referencing Tony Abbott.

They also thought the use of a science fiction film was irrelevant to the political campaign.

others were stunned and posted their reaction, calling for him to never post this type of tweet again.

Meanwhile, Mr Shorten started his day in Brisbane with a run with the Australian cricket team.

He announced $7 million in funding for Cricket Australia to create a national cricket campus, which would be an indoor and outdoor complex for all levels of cricket.

The package, which will create 300 jobs, will also redevelopment the Allan Border Field into a hub for international women's cricket, domestic first-class cricket, and outdoor high performance programs.

 

Bill Shorten attends Allan Border Field in Albion, Brisbane, where he announced a Shorten Labor Government will invest $7 million in Cricket Australia towards the creation of a National Cricket Campus. Picture: Liam Kidston
Bill Shorten attends Allan Border Field in Albion, Brisbane, where he announced a Shorten Labor Government will invest $7 million in Cricket Australia towards the creation of a National Cricket Campus. Picture: Liam Kidston

 

Bill Shorten and Australian spin bowler Jess Jonassen at Allan Border Field in Albion, Brisbane. Picture: Liam Kidston
Bill Shorten and Australian spin bowler Jess Jonassen at Allan Border Field in Albion, Brisbane. Picture: Liam Kidston

 

The Opposition leader will head to Australia Zoo on Queensland's Sunshine Coast to unveil Labor's $50 million plan to launch a new environmental watchdog.

It's part of a $1 billion environment plan, which includes $62 million to tackle coastal erosion.

The new $50 million independent Environment Protection Agency will enforce tougher conditions and "manage development approvals" for new projects, such as the Adani coalmine.

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten during the Sky News/Courier Mail People's Forum in Brisbane. Picture: Gary Ramage/News Corp Australia
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten during the Sky News/Courier Mail People's Forum in Brisbane. Picture: Gary Ramage/News Corp Australia

 

The package will also include $100 million to establish a Native Species Protection Fund in an effort to restore numbers of endangered plants and animals and eliminate non-native pests.

Mr Shorten will also face questions over one of his senators travel expenses.

The Courier-Mail reports Northern Territory senator Malarndirri McCarthy last night referred herself to the independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority over serious questions over more than $100,000 in mostly business-class flights.

Senator McCarthy referred herself to the IPEA after she was asked to explain why she spent more than 100 nights in Sydney outside parliament sittings since 2016.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten kisses his wife Chloe Shorten before the start of the forum last night. Picture: Gary Ramage/News Corp Australia
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten kisses his wife Chloe Shorten before the start of the forum last night. Picture: Gary Ramage/News Corp Australia

PM'S HARD SELL ON HEALTH

Scott Morrison will campaign in Queensland today promising $100 million for cancer and mental health services.

The multi-million dollar boost also includes $33.4 million for an urgent care service at Logan hospital south of Brisbane.

The package will also find upgrades to the Redland Hospital and Redcliffe Hospital in the ultra-marginal seat of Petrie held by Liberal Luke Howarth by a margin of less than two per cent.

The health pitch comes after Mr Morrison's narrow loss in the second debate of the campaign.

"We can deliver this record investment in health without raising taxes for hard-working Queenslanders," the Prime Minister vowed.

 

Scott Morrison with his wife Jenny after the Sky News/Courier Mail People's Forum in Brisbane. Picture: Gary Ramage/News Corp Australia
Scott Morrison with his wife Jenny after the Sky News/Courier Mail People's Forum in Brisbane. Picture: Gary Ramage/News Corp Australia

 

The commitment comes as the coalition is fighting to hold ground in the Sunshine State and gain some from Labor.

Among seats captured by the funding announcement is north Brisbane's Petrie. The electorate is held by LNP's Luke Hogarth at a margin of 1.65 per cent but is vulnerable to Labor candidate Corinne Mulholland, with Greens preferences expected to put her over the line.

Among other electorates affected will be Rankin, currently held by Labor frontbencher Jim Chalmers with a notional margin of 11.3 per cent, and Longman, notionally held by Labor's Susan Lamb by 0.79 per cent after a redistribution.

MORE CANDIDATE DRAMA

The Liberals' election chances have suffered a great blow after the party was yesterday forced to dump its candidate for the marginal battle ground seat of Lyons in Tasmania, which they could have won from Labor.

It was the third candidate they dumped in a week, after another resigned over homophobic posts and one was dumped over anti-Muslim remarks.

The controversy surrounding racists social media posts by dumped candidate Jessica Whelan - who has now declared she will run as an independent, following in Pauline Hanson's footsteps from 1996 - may also damage the party's chances in the nearby Tasmanian seats of

Braddon and Bass.

All three had been key Liberal targets.

 

Former Liberal, now independent candidate Jessica Whelan carries an umbrella for the Prime Minister Scott Morrison on day 22 campaigning in Tasmania with his wife Jenny at an Agriculture festival. Picture Gary Ramage
Former Liberal, now independent candidate Jessica Whelan carries an umbrella for the Prime Minister Scott Morrison on day 22 campaigning in Tasmania with his wife Jenny at an Agriculture festival. Picture Gary Ramage

 

Now it will be scrambling to find a new candidate with two weeks to poll day.

Ms Whelan was disendorsed yesterday morning after new posts emerged.

It was less than 24 hours after Mr Morrison came to her defence, saying racist comments posted online in her name appeared to have been "doctored" and would be referred to the Australian Federal Police to investigate.

Mr Shorten's campaign also took a hit after he stood by Labor's candidate for Melbourne Luke Creasey over a rape joke just hours before explicit new posts emerged and the 29-year-old schoolteacher was forced to resign.

He was the second Labor candidate to resign, following NT Senate candidate Wayne Kurnoth on Monday who was forced to quit over an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory he had posted online.

 

Opposition leader Bill Shorten with their former candidate for Melbourne, Luke Creasey. Picture: Aaron Francis/The Australian
Opposition leader Bill Shorten with their former candidate for Melbourne, Luke Creasey. Picture: Aaron Francis/The Australian

 

Labor only had a slim chance of winning the seat of Melbourne, held by Greens MP Adam Bandt on a 19 per cent margin, but the controversy has engulfed Mr Shorten in a week where he won the first leaders' debate and was appearing stronger on the campaign trail.

In old posts that emerged yesterday, Mr Creasey had joked online about watching his female friend have sex with multiple people.

He also joked about her wanting someone to "roughly take her virginity".

In the morning, Mr Shorten had said Mr Creasey's rape joke was "deeply offensive" and "stupid" but he had apologised and no longer held those views.

But after his other posts were made public, Mr Shorten told media he had demanded a full brief on Mr Creasey's remarks.

In a statement after he resigned, Mr Creasey said his comments were "many years ago" and in no way reflected the views he held today.

He apologised to party members for letting them down.



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