Bill Shorten has a new Election Bus for Labour - Photo Supplied Copyright Unknown
Bill Shorten has a new Election Bus for Labour - Photo Supplied Copyright Unknown

Morrison buys time to push Budget as ‘campaign’ heads north

QUEENSLAND  has taken centre-stage in the de facto election campaign, with both leaders heading to the state to fight over marginal seats.

But taxpayers will be stung for an estimated extra $5 million for advertisements spruiking the Budget after Scott Morrison delayed calling an election for another week.

The Government is able to bill taxpayers for a series of ad campaigns on measures including its tax cuts, road projects, school funding and attempts to cut power bills.

As both sides shift into campaign mode, Bill Shorten will today unveil a new bus, emblazoned with his image and the slogan "Fair Go for Australia", that will drive up and down the east coast of Australia.

Mr Shorten will ride on the bus along with his wife Chloe and deputy leader Tanya Plibersek in a sweep of electorates across southeast Queensland over the next two days.

The bus will be "captained" by Labor Senator Kristina Keneally and will host Opposition front benchers as well as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk as they campaign across an estimated 10,000 kilometres.

"I have listened to Queenslanders from Cairns to the Gold Coast and I know they need secure, regional jobs for their future," Mr Shorten said.

Meanwhile, Mr Morrison will talk up his plans for tax cuts and small business assistance in a lunchtime address to the Valley Chamber of Commerce in Brisbane.

Mr Morrison's decision not to call the election yesterday means a May 18 poll is likely. He said May 25 was an option.

The move means the government can continue to enjoy taxpayer-funded travel and advertising for at least a week.

Mr Morrison defended the election delay, saying he was entitled to focus on "explaining to Australians what the Budget means, which is lower taxes".

"I don't set my plans based on Bill Shorten's preference and what he would prefer," Mr Morrison said.

"I'm also not going to take lectures from the Labor Party that completely defied every single convention that has been known to Australian elections, when they ran taxpayer-funded ads during the 2013 caretaker period."