The dying days of the federal election campaign are bringing with them a return to where it all started for the major parties, as they make their final pitches to voters.
After a day of distraction yesterday, Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten were quick to move on from debating gay damnation in hell.
The Prime Minister had houses on his mind, as he took his campaign to two regional Victorian seats his party almost certainly has to win if it wants to hold majority government.
The Opposition Leader, meanwhile, focused his efforts out west, where he was keen to remind everyone how often he’s visited (83 days for those counting).
He too will likely need to find seats in WA if he’s to oust Mr Morrison from the prime ministerial lodgings (though he’s not willing to say which of the two PM properties he prefers).
Construction proved the one thing that united both leaders.
For Mr Morrison, it was touring new homes to spruik the first home buyer support a re-elected Coalition government would offer.
Out west, Mr Shorten turned his hand to building literal walls with wife Chloe as he made a pitch to workers who’ve been ripped off by their employers.
Labor, if elected, would create a small claims jurisdiction to recover money owed to workers.
It comes as the party continues to slam businessman Clive Palmer for money owed to employees from when his Queensland nickel mine went bust.
Mr Palmer could prove kingmaker if his party’s preference flows determine the outcome of a handful of key seats.
“He says he has spent $70 million advertising himself,” Labor’s Tanya Plibersek said.
“Well, $70 million is what he owes the workers of Queensland Nickel that he has ripped off.
“Isn’t it extraordinary that he would spend that money on himself, not paying his debt to his workforce.”
Mr Palmer’s been accused of trying to buy seats in Parliament through his multi-million-dollar advertising campaign.
Mr Morrison also had to face questions on whether his party was trying to buy the seat of Corangamite with the billions of dollars it had pledged to the Victorian seat.
“Absolutely not,” the Prime Minister insisted.
The Liberal Party currently holds Corangamite, but a redistribution has notionally given the seat to Labor.
The Age calculated the more than $3 billion the Coalition has pledged to Corangamite was equivalent to more than $25,000 per voter.
“We make no apology for the fact we’re investing in the future of this region. Absolutely none,” Mr Morrison said.
“We’ve absolutely committed it. Yes, that’s true.”
Hell hath no fury like a Coalition partner scorned
Away from the main campaign, there’s no love lost between the Liberals and Nationals as they vie for Senate seats in New South Wales.
Liberal senator Jim Molan sits in the likely unwinnable fourth spot on a joint Coalition ticket.
The retired Major General’s career in the Senate has been brief, having only entered the political arena in December 2017 after a series of dominoes fell in the citizenship saga.
Not wanting to see their man go, Senator Molan’s supporters have mounted a rogue campaign to get him elected ahead of the Nationals candidate Perin Davey.
They want voters to ignore the how-to-vote card and instead vote for him below the line.
Angry Nats have taken the extraordinary step of emailing their supporters saying they too should vote below the line, but for Ms Davey.
It’s not the first preference battle to break out between the Coalition parties this campaign.
In Queensland, where the parties sit under a single LNP banner, senator Ian Macdonald is attempting to save his political career.
He was last year relegated to the unwinnable fourth spot on the LNP’s Senate ticket.
The self-confessed disappointed senator has taken matters into his own hands and is also urging voters to ignore the LNP’s how-to-vote card and instead vote for him below the line.
The seats shaping the election
Irrespective of who wins on Saturday, the commission that runs the election expects the next Federal Government will examine the growing popularity of early voting.
As of this morning, more than three million people had cast their votes already. A further 1.4 million have applied for postal votes.
That has the Australian Electoral Commission expecting there could be a delay in knowing who’s won the election on Saturday night.
“The poor old electoral commission has these gigantic pre-poll centres to try and count on the night, and they have to use extra staff who haven’t been working on polling places on the day,” ABC chief elections analyst Antony Green said.
“On Saturday night, if it is a close contest, yes, it will delay the results.”
Green’s still expecting to predict the outcome on Saturday night “unless it is very close”, but the so-called psychic croc from the NT clearly doesn’t have time to wait, today predicting Mr Shorten would be the victor in a far from scientific test.
How good his predictions are will again be tested with just three days of the election campaign to go.