Meeting a cat in a pram, an impromptu rock lobster anatomy lesson and feeding a bull a carrot is all in a day’s work for Bill Shorten.
But the Labor leader’s favourite find at Agfest in Launceston was Don Monk of Moores Hill – who runs an off-grid winery powered by solar panels and batteries.
“It will cost us another $75 grand to do it but we’ll pay for it in five years. Happy days,” he told Mr Shorten.
“I’d love to bring you to the next press conference,” the Labor leader quipped.
The chance meeting came at a pivotal time in Mr Shorten’s election campaign, with increasing pressure over the cost of his climate policies.
But Mr Monk just wants to see the Labor leader get it done.
“He and his colleagues are the only people singing the tune that I like,” he said.
“ScoMo and the team are not singing a song that I’m particularly comfortable with to be honest.”
But not all punters were as friendly, with a cider stall operator cheekily saying “vote Liberal” when Mr Shorten asked for his recommendation.
Agfest was in the seat of Lyons, which Labor holds by 3.8 per cent and are vying to keep at the May 18 election.
The opposition leader was earlier in another Labor-held electorate, Braddon, where he pledged $75 million to create 70,000 jobs in the clean energy sector, the latest announcement under his climate belt.
But the announcement comes as new modelling by a former government economist claims Labor’s plan to cut emissions by 45 per cent could slow economic growth by up to 0.8 per cent over a decade, or less if more international permits are allowed.
Mr Shorten says the modelling by Brian Fisher, a former director of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, is wrong.
“This fellow and his report remind me of the doctors that big tobacco companies used to roll out in the ’70s and ’80s to say that smoking was healthy,” he told reporters in Tasmania on Thursday.
“We will file this report under ‘P’ for propaganda. It’s full of wrong assumptions.”
Mr Shorten announced the northwest coast of the state would be a renewable energy zone under his government, to receive a $5 million down payment to build renewable industry.
Under the renewable jobs plan, Labor will put $45 million towards apprenticeship incentives and $20 million towards upgrading TAFE facilities so equipment such as batteries and solar panels are industry standard.
A further $10 million would go into a fund so workers can be trained and upskilled for renewable industries.