Australia's political leaders remain in full campaign mode, even though the starting gun for the May election has yet to be fired.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in Tasmania on Sunday to announce further funding for the Marinus Link electricity interconnector, just days out from visiting the governor-general to spark the start of the election.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese was in Queensland for a rally of the party faithful, a state he must win to secure the election.
"Somewhere as great as Queensland deserves great representatives," Mr Albanese said in his speech.
Mr Morrison announced $75 million for the Marinus Link project, which will export hydro-electricity from Tasmania into the other regions of the National Electricity Market, delivering an expected $4.6 billion in benefits across the market.
"This will have enormous benefits for Tasmanians and Victorians, strengthening the economy, creating thousands of jobs, driving down power bills and easing cost of living pressures," he said.
But the prime minister remains hounded by claims he made a racist comment against an opponent during his 2007 preselection, which was alleged in a speech by outgoing Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells last week.
She made the accusations under parliamentary privilege, claiming Mr Morrison told party members they couldn't have a Lebanese person as a candidate for the NSW seat of Cook.
Mr Morrison has repeatedly denied the accusations.
"These are quite malicious and bitter slurs, which are deeply offensive, and I reject them absolutely," he told reporters on Sunday.
But shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers doubts anyone believes him.
"I don't think people believe the prime minister more broadly," he told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program.
Dr Chalmers also attempted to kill-off what he described as another government scare campaign by ruling out tax increases should Labor win the election.
"We have made it very clear that we don't have any proposals for tax increases beyond working with other countries to make the multinationals tax regime fairer," he said.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said his government had been working on the multinational agenda and creating a minimum global tax through the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Otherwise he said the coalition government was always looking to cut taxes.
"We're always looking for opportunities to cut taxes and in this budget, we've done it both for small business and for households," Mr Frydenberg told ABC's Insiders program.
The coalition government repeatedly drags up the tax plan Labor took to the last election, which Mr Frydenberg's office claimed amounted to $387 billion.
"This latest scare campaign from Scott Morrison speaks volumes about a government which has been in office now for almost a decade, entirely bereft of any ideas for a better future," Dr Chalmers said.
But Liberal frontbencher Anne Ruston described his comments as "weasel words and throwaway lines".
"The thing the Labor Party have got to do going through this election campaign, they have got to tell us how they are going to pay for the things that they are promising," Senator Ruston told Sky News.
Mr Albanese used his budget reply speech to promote his plan to reform aged care, which Labor says will cost $2.5 billion.
But Senator Ruston said $2.5 billion "won't touch the sides".
Even so, Mr Albanese beefed up his aged care plans in Sunday's address, announcing a General Duty of Care, which will set minimum standards to protect residents and workers.
"We will introduce criminal penalties - including jail time - for aged care providers who seriously and repeatedly facilitate or cover up abuse and neglect," he told the rally.
Australian Associated Press
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