Labor leader Anthony Albanese has called on his election opponent to show he's not allergic to the country's public broadcaster after failing to appear on ABC during the campaign's first 32 days.
In the central Queensland city of Gladstone on Thursday, Mr Albanese visited an oil refinery where he announced the party's plans to kickstart an onshore battery manufacturing industry if elected, where Labor is trying to win the seat of Flynn held by a margin of more than 7 per cent.
But Mr Albanese used his first post-leaders' debate appearance to take aim at Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has yet to appear on any ABC programs since the election was called.
The 2022 federal election will also be the first in nearly two decades without a leaders debate being hosted on the public broadcaster.
The Labor leader was asked whether he was heartened or sceptical about recent opinion polling indicating he was on track to win the election, which would make him just the fourth Labor opposition leader to do so in Australia since the Second World War.
He dismissed what the polls were indicating, adding they "come and go", but launched an attack on Mr Morrison's snub of the ABC.
"I cannot believe that the national Prime Minister will be the first one during a campaign who has not appeared on any ABC programs," Mr Albanese said.
"It is like he has an allergy to the ABC. No debate on the ABC. No appearance on Q&A. No appearance on [Radio National] Breakfast. No appearance on ABC Breakfast. No interviews on Insiders, on the major programs, and no appearance yet at the National Press Club."
Thursday's press conference marked the first public appearance since his win at Channel Seven's leaders debate on Wednesday night.
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The two leaders hoping to be elected on the evening of May 21 disagreed on whether wage rises should be in line with the rate of inflation and the government's role in those decisions.
"One of the things that this government is saying consistently is they talk about how strong the economy is, but a $1 increase for those people, who are on the absolute minimum wage, somehow the sky will fall in," he said.
"If the Fair Work Commission, that operates independently of government ... makes the decision to not cut real wages and to keep up with the cost of living, that is something that I would welcome and I'd welcome it, absolutely."
The centre-left party is seeking to make inroads in Queensland, where the Coalition hit a high water mark during its upset 2019 election win.
Labor's messaging has focused its efforts on spruiking the benefits of a shift to clean energies while reassuring voters in coal country the sector won't be phased out.
Mr Albanese was joined by Labor's candidate for Flynn, Matt Burnett, a former Gladstone mayor, who stressed the party's shift to new energies would be worked through in concert with the sector.
"You can't be mayor of Gladstone and not support the coal industry ... we have the new industries and old industries working in harmony," Mr Burnett said.
The story PM 'allergic' to ABC during election campaign: Albanese first appeared on The Canberra Times.