Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to continue his Queensland campaigning tour ahead of the state’s election.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles has questioned why Mr Morrison is in the Sunshine State instead of “running Australia during a pandemic”.
“He is not a candidate. If people vote for the Liberal National Party, they won’t get Scott Morrison,” he said.
But LNP Leader Deb Frecklington hopes Mr Morrison’s popularity will help her party return to government in the October 31 poll, after five years in opposition.
It comes as 12 political parties and 597 candidates had nominated for state election by the close of nominations on Sunday.
“This year’s State general election sees 144 more candidates than in 2017, where 453 ran for parliament,” Queensland Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said.
“A vibrant democracy needs a strong contest of ideas.”
Mr Morrison joined Ms Frecklington on the campaign trail near Brisbane at the opening of a defence manufacturing plant on Sunday.
“This facility is about jobs, important jobs for Queenslanders,” he enthusiastically told reporters while standing in front of military vehicles.
Ms Frecklington said a Queensland LNP government would contribute $135 million to a nearby defence industry and military technology precinct if elected.
She said it would create 350 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs once operational.
“We want that advanced manufacturing, those future jobs, to be trained right here,” she said.
Mr Morrison also returned fired at Mr Miles, saying “this guy has got to grow up”.
“Those careless and juvenile remarks reflect terribly on him,” he said.
It followed Labor’s pledge to hire 9475 frontline health staff, including 1500 doctors, if it was re-elected.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said an additional 5800 nurses, 475 paramedics and 1700 allied health professionals would also be employed over the next four years.
“We need to make sure that we continue to grow our health staff to give Queensland families the best possible care they can get,” she said.
Ms Palaszczuk is expected to start Monday campaigning in the state’s southeast before flying to the regions.
Ms Frecklington is set to travel to Hervey Bay, however Mr Morrison is not expected to join her.
The Queensland Electoral Commission will start sending out postal votes from Monday.