Scott Morrison is confident he will remain in control of the Liberal Party’s policy direction if Australians return him as prime minister.
The prime minister expressed the sentiment when asked whether climate change sceptics in the coalition and those who voted against same-sex marriage, or its more mainstream MPs, would have the upper hand in making policies if he wins the election.
“I will,” he told ABC’s 7:30 on Monday, refusing to grant an advantage to either.
Mr Morrison has also been coy on whether the past three Liberal prime ministers will attend his party’s official launch this weekend.
But he stressed the event will be a far cry from Labor’s launch in Brisbane on Sunday, where former Labor leaders Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd and Paul Keating sat side-by-side in a symbol that past tensions had been set aside.
“It’s not going to be a party hoopla event. It’s not about the Liberal Party, it’s not about the National Party,” Mr Morrison said.
“Labor’s launch on the weekend I thought was very much about the Labor Party. I just want to have a conversation with people on Sunday directly about the choice.
“It’s not about who is coming, it’s about who will be listening, and my opportunity to set out to them once again the choice at this election.”
The comments come after he spent the day campaigning on the NSW south coast, including the marginal seat of Gilmore.
The coalition has two horses in the race, with hand-picked Liberal candidate Warren Mundine hoping to replace outgoing Liberal Ann Sudmalis.
Former NSW minister Katrina Hodgkinson is running for the Nationals.
The seat is among a spate of close contests that will be crucial in determining whether Mr Morrison gets to keep the top job.
Both candidates were alongside Mr Morrison as he toured Shellharbour Hospital, on which the coalition has vowed to spend $128 million redeveloping.
The hospital is in the nearby electorate of Whitlam, held by Labor’s Stephen Jones with a healthy 13.72 per cent buffer.
Mr Morrison’s earlier tour of a chemical producer in South Nowra was designed to demonstrate the sort of business that could benefit from a new $50 million fund aimed at encouraging manufacturers to invest in more modern technology.
The government would offer grants of up to $1 million for upgrades, if industry spends at least three times as much.
Ultimately, the coalition’s initial investment is expected to attract $110 million from the manufacturing firms.
The coalition has also vowed to reinvigorate the Australian Made campaign, to encourage more foreigners to buy products made down under, investing $5 million in an advertising push.
A small group of protesters who want more ships to be Australian-flagged to shore up jobs for local seafarers, rallied outside the chemical business to argue Mr Morrison was focused on the wrong logo.
“The Australian Made logo that counts is the Australian flag, the maritime flag that should be flying on all vessels,” secretary of the South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris said.