Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he will continue to make strong calls despite pledging a more empathetic tone if re-elected.
A week out from polling day, Mr Morrison issued a mea culpa saying he would consult more widely and empathise a lot more, as Labor continued to attack his character as part of its campaign strategy.
But the prime minister says he would handle future crises which require time-sensitive decisions in a similar way.
He said there were often occasions with no time to properly consult on decisions.
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“In crises, that’s what you have to do,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“In a crisis again, that’s exactly what I’d have to do.”
His comments come after the prime minister said, given his time again, he would have acted more quickly to “militarise” the vaccine rollout, also admitting he could’ve acted with more empathy.
But Mr Morrison continued to push a gear change for the government if it remains in power after Saturday.
“We are putting the pandemic behind us and the crisis and urgency of those times, and that gives us the opportunity as a government to move into another gear,” he said.
But the coalition government remains non-committal to paid domestic violence leave after the Fair Work Commission backed a union push for 10 days’ entitlement.
Attorney-General Michaelia Cash said the government welcomed the decision but would not confirm if the entitlement would be legislated.
“We will consult with relevant stakeholders, especially family and domestic violence advocacy groups and small business employers, on its implications,” Senator Cash told the ABC.
Labor’s industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke also welcomed the decision and reiterated the party would move to legislate the entitlement.
“I’m hoping that we’re in a situation after Saturday where a Labor government is able to introduce that legislation again and finally have 10 days family and domestic violence leave made available regardless of whether or not you’re on an award,” he told reporters in Canberra.
Senior government MPs are using the final week of the campaign to focus on the economy and housing policy, as the coalition spruiks its plan to allow first home buyers to dip into their super.
Mr Morrison visited his third housing estate in three days, beginning on Wednesday in the Victorian electorate of Corangamite covering outer Geelong, in his third campaign visit and fifth since December.
It is held by Labor on a 1.1 per cent margin after Libby Coker ousted Sarah Henderson in 2019 with a swing of just over one per cent.
Mr Morrison then used an address to the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce to outline how the strong economy under his watch would give Australians and businesses the opportunities needed to succeed.
He also spoke of less interventionism from the government, championing a free market economy.
“The Liberals and Nationals believe in the power of Australians. The Labor Party believe in the power of government,” he told guests at Melbourne’s Star Casino.
“Government must know what it can do and what it can’t, and more importantly what it should.”
The prime minister also spruiked the government’s history of supporting workers throughout the pandemic with subsidies and handouts, just after new data revealed real wages went backwards amid spiking inflation.
With living costs emerging as a focal point of the election campaign, Mr Morrison says the government’s economy shielded Australians from the worst of the financial impacts seen overseas.
“If you hand over the financial management reins to a Labor Party … then you’re dropping your shield and Australia will be fully exposed to the full force of these global financial pressures.”