An unkind, yet often used expression, is that politics is Hollywood for ugly people.
The Opposition Leader could be forgiven though for thinking he is an exception to the rule, having attracted a raucous reception while heading into enemy territory.
“Bill, Bill, Bill,” they chanted upon his arrival.
Unfortunately though for Bill Shorten, there’s little they can do to help in his quest to become prime minister.
The Labor leader was visiting a school on the NSW Central Coast as he set his sights on a marginal Liberal-held seat.
The Prime Minister, meanwhile, started day 32 of the federal election campaign eyeing off a Labor-held seat the Opposition is battling to retain.
While both leaders took their case directly to voters, the same can’t be said for a man who’s loomed large over the election campaign.
Businessman Clive Palmer was personally, yet noticeably, absent as his million-dollar ad campaign ramped up its efforts days out from voters heading to the polls.
Government replacing parents
Irrespective of who wins the election, first home-buyers will get support climbing onto the property ladder.
Scott Morrison on Sunday used his campaign launch to commit his party to guaranteeing part of a home loan to help new buyers.
Under the plan, home buyers would no longer need a 20 per cent deposit to avoid getting mortgage insurance.
The buyer would only need 5 per cent and the government would guarantee the difference between the deposit and the 20 per cent threshold.
The policy hasn’t been costed by the Treasury, is expected to cost $500 million and yet Labor has backed it in.
Having gained its support, the Prime Minister then attacked Labor for supporting his plan before it saw the full details.
“Labor aren’t mimicking our policy — they are just picking the bits,” Mr Morrison said in Sydney before taking his campaign to Western Australia for a day trip.
“I understand … they supported it before they saw the whole policy.”
Labor says its support is because the idea isn’t “objectionable”, according to Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen.
“We’re not in the business of bagging an idea just because someone else has an idea,” Mr Shorten said.
Shorten’s Beaconsfield response remembered
Meanwhile, the Opposition Leader had a surprise meeting with a rescue worker involved in the Beaconsfield mine disaster, during a visit to Launceston a week on from the 13th anniversary.
Labor and the Liberals are locked in a fierce tussle for Tasmania’s five lower house seats, particularly the two northern electorates of Braddon and Bass, which takes in Beaconsfield.
In a pub in Launceston, after Mr Shorten thanked Labor volunteers for their efforts during the campaign, he was approached by Peter James who had worked as a paramedic at the mine site.
Back in 2006, Mr Shorten was the head of the Australian Workers’ Union.
When news came through that Todd Russell and Brant Webb were alive 1 kilometre below the surface, he was front and centre speaking to the media on behalf of their families, and the grieving relatives of miner Larry Knight who did not survive the collapse.
Palmer pumps up the ads from Fiji
For the businessman trying to make his political comeback, Mr Palmer’s mark on day 32 came in a takeover of News Corp websites.
@latingle: What you see when you open the @australian home page
Bright yellow banner ads promoting his United Australia Party were plastered across the top and side of newspaper websites, including The Australian and Herald Sun.
His campaign’s $50 million advertising spend will be remembered for the mobile phone messages it’s sent to voters, the full-page ads it’s taken out in newspapers and the billboards it’s plastered across electorates.
Though his party spent advertising dollars with News Corp, the organisation didn’t miss out on a spray from Mr Palmer as he took aim at the media.
“The media continually comments on me as a person. Australians are sick of the media’s ethics and morals,” he said in a statement.
The statement was sent to media outlets after it emerged Mr Palmer was in Fiji for the final days of the election campaign.
That angered the billionaire, who said he’d left Australia to spend time with a terminally ill friend.
Mr Palmer, who is vying for a Queensland Senate seat, then broke with the convention that the party leaders keep their travel plans a secret.
“I look forward to returning to the campaign trail in Adelaide late tonight before heading to Western Australia and then spending election night in Victoria,” he said.
The seats shaping the election
In politics, everything can be spun.
So too was the Newspoll that politicians awoke to read on Monday morning.
The facts are these: Labor retains its lead on the Coalition 51 per cent to 49 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.
That is unchanged from the last poll.
What has changed, though, is the major party primary vote.
The Coalition’s support rose slightly in the poll to 39 per cent, compared to Labor’s 37 per cent, but that movement is within the poll’s margin of error.
For Labor, the spin is it retains its election-winning lead but is a reminder to its supporters not to take the outcome for granted.
For the Coalition, it’s keen for voters to think that it’s within striking distance — a far cry from where it was in the aftermath of toppling Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister.
But polls are just a snapshot of intention when voters are surveyed. How they actually voted will be known in five more days.