Jason Clare defends Anthony Albanese after Labor spokesman grilled about his blunders

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Labor’s campaign spokesman Jason Clare appears to have taken over the reins on the last day of the election campaign – blanketing the nation’s media – while Anthony Albanese spent the morning having coffee with Julia Gillard.

Mr Clare, who has been hailed for his communication skills, spent Friday morning fronting several media outlets, including Channel Seven’s Sunrise, ABC News Breakfast and holding a solo press conference at 10am. 

Mr Clare has won over supporters for his calm and measured presence this week unlike Mr Albanese whose campaign for high office has been marked by several gaffes.

The star Labor frontbencher maintained his trademark composure as he was forced to defend Mr Albanese during a heated standoff on Sunrise on Friday.  

Jason Clare defends Anthony Albanese after Labor spokesman grilled about his blunders

ABC NEWS BREAKFAST: Mr Clare has been busy fronting media (pictured, Mr Clare on ABC) and endorsing his party one day before millions of Australians cast their vote for the next prime minister on Saturday

From Sunrise to ABC News Breakfast – Labor’s campaign spokesman Jason Clare blanketed the airwaves on Friday morning… while Anthony Albanese hit a cafe with Julia Gillard 

On Sunrise, host Michael Usher asked Mr Clare if Mr Albanese was up to the top job given the several faux pas he has  made during the campaign.

The Labor leader started the campaign by admitting he did not know the cash rate and confusing the national unemployment figures. 

He later failed to recite his six-point plan for the NDIS without a cheat sheet and said Australia’s borders were closed.

‘Anthony Albanese has had a few stumbles along the way, some would say not the best campaign for him, is he tired at this point of the campaign, or is this the sort of prime minister we’re going to have?’ Usher asked. 

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Mr Clare insisted the Labor leader had enjoyed a ‘fantastic campaign’ before turning the attention to a ‘toxic’ prime minister Scott Morrison.

‘He’s visited the whole country, setting out our plans for a better future,’ he told Sunrise on Friday.

‘You can see Australians are yearning for change. That Australians have had a gutful of Scott Morrison. You know how you can tell that? There’s hundreds and hundreds of pre-polling booths right across the country.

‘Not one of them has a poster of Scott Morrison put up by the Liberal party. They can tell Scott Morrison is toxic, the people want to get rid of him, and Australians are desperate for something better.’

Usher referred to Mr Albanese’s latest gaffe after the Labor leader mistakenly claimed the international borders were closed, even though they have been open for the past three months.

‘The borders have been shut for a long time,’ Mr Clare said.

Anthony Albanese started the day by having coffee with former prime minister Julia Gillard at a cafe in Sturt, Adelaide

Anthony Albanese started the day by having coffee with former prime minister Julia Gillard at a cafe in Sturt, Adelaide 

Mr Albanese is tracking at 42 per cent on the preferred prime minister Ipsos measure, against 39 per cent for Mr Morrison

Mr Albanese is tracking at 42 per cent on the preferred prime minister Ipsos measure, against 39 per cent for Mr Morrison

‘We’re still dealing with the after effects. We don’t have as many skilled workers, or backpackers, or international students here, as we would’ve had. 

‘There are fewer apprentices and trainees than there were 10 years ago when this mob was elected.’ 

Mr Clare defended Labor’s plans to spend an extra $7.4billion over the next four years – saying the majority of the money was going into childcare to help relieve the pressure faced by working parents. 

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He also weighed in on news that up to 200,000 Australians could have been prevented from voting because they were infected with Covid-19. 

People who tested positive for the virus between last Saturday and before 6pm on Tuesday, who were only going to be allowed to lodge postal votes.

But many missed the deadline for postal vote applications, which closed at 6pm on Wednesday, leaving them without an avenue to cast their ballot.

Mr Clare defended Labor's plans to spend an extra $7.4billion over the next four years - saying the majority of the money was going into childcare to help relieve the pressure faced by working parents

Mr Clare defended Labor’s plans to spend an extra $7.4billion over the next four years – saying the majority of the money was going into childcare to help relieve the pressure faced by working parents 

Phone voting was previously only available to people who tested positive after 6pm on Tuesday.

Now people who tested positive after 6pm last Friday (May 13) will be able to access telephone voting.

A fresh opinion poll shows the race has tightened in the final week with the coalition edging higher, confirming the trend see in other vote trackers in previous days.

Labor has a narrow primary vote lead over the government at 36 per cent to 35 per cent, excluding undecided voters, according to the Ipsos poll published in The Australian Financial Review on Friday.

On a two-party preferred basis, Labor is ahead 53 per cent to 47 per cent, after the allocation of preferences based on the last election in 2019.

Mr Albanese is tracking at 42 per cent on the preferred prime minister Ipsos measure, against 39 per cent for Mr Morrison.

But Labor is leaving nothing to chance, even going so far as to project its campaign messages onto prominent buildings in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth on Thursday night.

Mr Albanese says Labor will be fiscally responsible if it wins government, after the opposition revealed on Thursday it would spend an extra $7.4 billion over the next four years.

‘It pales in significance compared with the extraordinary waste that we’ve seen from this government,’ he said.

‘You’ll start to see a return on areas like our clean energy policy really quickly.’

The opposition leader said there would be savings to the budget bottom line following a Treasury audit of ‘waste and rorts’ under the Morrison government.

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