Shorten weathers climate, tax policy storm

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten weathered a storm of attack on climate and tax policies.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten weathered a storm of attack on climate and tax policies.

Bill Shorten will spend Good Friday in Melbourne but he won't campaign as part of his agreement with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The Labor leader has spent the first eight days of the federal election campaign looping around Australia, mainly visiting Liberal-held seats.

Mr Shorten had to weather a storm of attacks over his climate change and tax policies, after a bad press conference where he misunderstood one question and refused to answer another.

But he came out swinging against the coalition on Thursday in Darwin, accusing the government of a "malicious and stupid" campaign on climate.

The coalition criticised Labor's climate change policy for using international abatement, and for imposing a cost on the economy for the next 11 years.

"What they want to do is scare Australians and say that it's too hard to take action on climate change," Mr Shorten told reporters in Darwin on Thursday.

He quoted Josh Frydenberg in 2017 saying it didn't matter whether a tonne of carbon was reduced in Australia or another country.

"The government is now scaring you about policies they used to have and support," Mr Shorten said.

"If you don't believe in the science of climate change, no amount of evidence will ever convince you because, fundamentally, it's a stupid position not to take action."

The strident tone marked a change in approach from Mr Shorten, who had spent most of the first week focused on rolling out Labor's cancer health policies.

He is due to have a quieter weekend than last week, with both leaders also promising not to campaign on Easter Sunday.

Australian Associated Press