PM slams Shorten as Labor edges ahead
PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has attacked Bill Shorten as "the missing man" as tensions rise ahead of the critical Longman by-election in the Super Saturday contest.
Mr Shorten failed to publicly appear in any of the seats on Friday - doing only radio interviews - leaving his senior team to dodge questions in Longman and Braddon about whether the ALP leader was facing an imminent challenge.
Meanwhile a Newspoll for The Weekend Australian today gives Labor a narrow lead over the LNP going into the final hours of the battle for Longman.
It says the ALP has 51 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.
Mr Shorten spent Friday holed up in Melbourne, later posting a video to social media saying he had done so to pick his daughter up from school.
"After nearly three months on the campaign trail in every by-election seat, I decided to be a dad first on school pick-up duties for my youngest daughter and her best friend. See you on the polling booths tomorrow!" he posted defending his decision.
Mr Turnbull, who was in Longman meeting with voters at the Sandstone Point Hotel on Friday, labelled his rival "the missing man".
"The reality is that Bill Shorten knows the people of Longman and the people of Braddon, right around the nation, have woken up to his lies, his negativity, his shocking lies," he said.
However, the PM's pitch was interrupted by a group of angry pensioners who accused him of cutting penalty rates and called out his defence of LNP candidate Trevor Ruthenberg's mistake over his military medal as "bulls--t".
Both leaders will start today in the knife-edge seat of Braddon in a last-ditch effort to sway voters in Tasmania.
Mr Shorten will then head to Longman in Queensland, while Mr Turnbull will watch the results from his Sydney home.
The five by-elections battle is a warm-up for Mr Shorten as he shapes up for the main event fight for the Labor leadership.
A third of voters in Longman have already cast their ballots in pre-polls, with predictions One Nation's primary vote will surge above 20 per cent.
Incoming Labor president Wayne Swan said the by-elections were "tough contests" but Mr Shorten was safe.