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  • Missteps force campaigners to defend, clarify
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Missteps force campaigners to defend, clarify

Liberal senator Anne Ruston has been forced to defend old comments she made about Medicare not being sustainable – even when Australia was on track for a balanced budget – as Labor claimed her nomination as the Liberals’ next health minister would spell the end of universal healthcare.

During debate on the GP co-payment floated in the heavy-cutting 2014 budget under Tony Abbott, Ruston said Medicare in its current form was not sustainable and “unfortunately, the credit card is maxed out”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his pick for health minister, Anne Ruston (left). Credit:James Brickwood

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese seized on this to question the future of Medicare under the Coalition – a scare campaign tactic that worked well for Labor in 2016.

In Cairns, Albanese was forced to clarify Labor’s policies on border protection for the second time in a week after he mistakenly said his party supports temporary protection visas for asylum seekers.

Asked whether Labor supported Operation Sovereign Borders and temporary protection visas. Albanese replied: “Yes.”

Labor has for years supported two of the three pillars of the Coalition’s policies on boat arrivals – offshore detention and boat turnbacks. But Labor does not support temporary protection visas on the basis they unnecessarily leave refugees in limbo for years. Instead, Labor has a policy of abolishing the visas and converting them to permanent visas.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Monday, April 18. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the day. Climate and energy correspondent Mike Foley is also on deck to cover the blow-by-blow of today’s campaign.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started.

  • Support for Labor leader Anthony Albanese has dropped from 38 per cent to 34 per cent after the first week of the campaign, according to new polling. Meanwhile, support for the Coalition has risen from 34 to 35 per cent.

Albanese appears to have paid a price due to his performance in the first week of the election campaign.

  • Liberal senator Anne Ruston, who is the Coalition’s pick for health minister, has defended past comments made in 2014 when she said Medicare wasn’t sustainable. Labor has seized on the comments given the budget is in more debt now than under former prime minister Tony Abbott.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston will become health minister if Scott Morrison’s team is re-elected, replacing Greg Hunt. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

  • Meanwhile, Albanese has clarified comments he made yesterday about Labor’s border protection policies. “[We] support Operation Sovereign Borders,” the Labor leader said. “We support offshore processing, we support resettlement in third countries. We don’t support temporary protection visas.”

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese talking to the media on Sunday.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

  • And Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in Perth today. It comes amid polling which suggests several Coalition seats are under threat in Western Australia given the popularity of Labor Premier Mark McGowan.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday.Credit:James Brickwood

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