Labor insists the national unemployment rate does not paint the full picture, as it seeks to recover from its leader’s slippage on economic figures.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese was in Tasmania for a second day, campaigning in Lyon’s fringe Labor electorate.
In Longford, an upstate town, he announced the restoration of Medicare support for wholesale billing telehealth psychiatric consultations for regional patients.
Lyon is held by Labor MP Brian Mitchell with a 5.2% margin.
If elected, an Albanian government would reinstate a 50% regional charge for video consultations.
Funding for medical care will cost $31.3 million over four years and is expected to support 450,000 consultations over that period, or more than 1.4 million appointments over 10 years.
Mr Albanese sought to move on from Monday’s gaffe when he was unable to recall the jobless rate or the official interest rate.
He arrived in Melbourne on Tuesday afternoon, before visiting an inner-city charity in the safe Labor seat of Macnamara with MP Josh Burns and Labor candidate for Higgins, Michelle Ananda-Rajah.
Mr Albanese met priest Father Bob Maguire at his south Melbourne foundation to announce a $300,000 campaign pledge for the organization which helps thousands of struggling homeless and disadvantaged people with food and other forms of support.
Mr Burns said the funding would allow vulnerable people to continue to access financial assistance and basic support.
Father Bob invoked Star Trek during the visit and told reporters that “the crowd” being the people, must “go where no one has gone before” in “the future of this democracy”.
Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers argues the 4% unemployment rate doesn’t paint the full economic picture for Australia.
“It doesn’t tell the whole job market story,” he told ABC Radio.
“The defining feature of the labor market right now is the fact that even though unemployment is falling in a rather welcome way, we are still not generating the real wage growth that we need.
“The government has no plan to address skills and labor shortages.”
The shadow treasurer also laughed off coalition suggestions that Labor policies would cost $300 billion over 10 years.
“If only (the government) spent as much time tracking their own spending as they did sending in stories about our spending,” he said.
“They sit all the time worrying about making up stories about labor costs.”
Labor has promised to publish its costs later in the election campaign.
Asked about Labor’s plan to ensure that workers in casual jobs move into permanent jobs, Mr Albanese said ‘safe work’ should be defined as a goal of the Fair Work Act .
“We don’t see anything wrong with casual work,” he said.
“But we think we shouldn’t pretend that someone who has a permanent job with the same shifts all the time every week…should be classified that way.”
A hearing on the Senate estimates heard that before the election was called, there had been a reduction in the number of casual workers.
Casual workers made up 24.4 percent of the workforce in 1996, but that figure has since fallen to 22.8 percent.
However, the ACTU estimates that Australia has one of the highest rates of “precarious work” in the OECD.
Australian Associated Press