CANBERRA, AAP – Labor has challenged the Morrison government to come clean over its stance on having 24-hour nursing staff in aged care homes, accusing it of lying.

Opposition aged care services spokeswoman Clare O’Neil demanded the government clarify its policy over the royal commission recommendation, following comments made on Sky News by Social Services Minister Anne Ruston on Wednesday.

She said Senator Ruston had “told the Australian people a lie”.

Senator Ruston said the government had accepted the recommendation to place a nurse in homes 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but that it was working to a realistic timeline to avoid placing pressure on the health system.

Ms O’Neil said the government was “pretending” this was its policy.


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“We should not allow government ministers to come on television in the middle of an election campaign and completely fib about what their policy is,” she said.

“What I want the government to do is to front up about their policies and defend them.”

Ms O’Neil said the country needed to know what the government’s policy was for 24-hour nursing.

“It was a key initiative … it is essential to fixing this crisis,” she said.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese visited the Labor seat of Gilmore on Thursday morning, held by a 2.6 per cent margin.

He is campaigning in Bomaderry on the NSW south coast, and travelled to Manildra Shoalhaven Starches, where he committed to legislating a religious discrimination act in his first term – but not the first year – if elected.

“I’ll be held to account for that,” he said.

The pledge comes as the Australian Christian Lobby prepares to target Liberal MPs who crossed the floor on the government’s religious discrimination bill ahead of the federal election.

Mr Albanese will also visit Symons House Retirement Village.

Meanwhile, Labor campaign spokesman Jason Clare confirmed the party launch will be held in Perth on May 1.

“This is an important part of Australia. What happens on election night might be determined by the people of West Australia,” he said.

Mr Clare said people in the state were angry with the prime minister over his previous support for Clive Palmer in his court challenge to bring down WA’s hard border restrictions during the pandemic.