With Scott Morrison yet to win a debate against Bill Shorten as a third bout between them looms, the prime minister is getting some advice from one of his candidates on entering the ring.
“As a Mundine, I’m giving him a bit of training on boxing,” Liberal candidate for Gilmore Warren Mundine joked on Monday, referencing his second cousin and boxer Anthony Mundine.
Mr Morrison and the opposition leader will go head-to-head at Canberra’s National Press Club on Wednesday night.
That comes after the prime minister narrowly lost their second debate in Brisbane on Friday, according to the undecided voters who attended, and their first by a greater margin in Perth the week before.
“It’s another debate, I’m happy to have any debate, and the Australian people will make that judgment,” Mr Morrison told reporters on the south coast about his chances for the third exchange.
Beyond the glare of a televised debate, the Liberals are hoping they can win the election on a seat-by-seat basis.
Mr Mundine is conscious his NSW seat of Gilmore, which he holds by a notional margin of 0.73 per cent, is among those that could decide the national result.
“It’s so important for the government to win this seat because if we’re going to be returned we need to win seats like this,” he told reporters.
For Mr Morrison, the seat has some personal significance, being named after his great-great-aunt, writer Dame Mary Gilmore.
“My daughter Abbey is actually doing a school project at the moment, where she has to learn one of Dame Mary’s poems,” he said.
Among the tools in the coalition’s arsenal is offering local manufacturing businesses access to a new $50 million fund that would incentivise them 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 prime minister, touring a chemical manufacturing business in South Nowra, also wanted such companies to know they’d have to cough up more cash under Labor’s climate policies.
“They are one of the businesses that is going to get it right between the eyes,” he said of a food and industrial product maker on the south coast, the Manildra Group.
The coalition also wants to reinvigorate the ‘Australian Made’ campaign, to encourage more foreigners to buy products made down under, investing $5 million in an advertising push overseas.