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Tonight's Shorten visit 'blatant electioneering': O'Dowd

Bill Shorten, the leader of the opposition, visits Albion North Primary School in Melbourne, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013. After his visit he held a press conference to comment on the government dropping Labor's Gonski education reform.
Bill Shorten, the leader of the opposition, visits Albion North Primary School in Melbourne, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013. After his visit he held a press conference to comment on the government dropping Labor's Gonski education reform. AAP - David Crosling

UPDATE: 

THE battle for Flynn has begun with opposition leader Bill Shorten headed to Gladstone today amid the threat of a double dissolution.

Already the visit has been labelled "blatant electioneering" by Ken O'Dowd.

The LNP member for Flynn, who holds the seat by a slim margin of 5.8 per cent, suggested Shorten had launched into campaign mode "prematurely".

Mr O'Dowd downplayed the looming threat of a double dissolution saying "it was business as usual" for the government until the election was called.

Mr Shorten will be at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre at 6pm this evening to kick off his campaign, in a bid to woo Gladstone voters before they head to the polls.

If the double dissolution is called, that's likely to be in July.   

The electorate Gladstone calls home is a key seat for both major parties given history shows the voters of Flynn are known to swing.

In 2013 LNP member Ken O'Dowd won the seat by a slim margin of a 5.8 per cent.

But it was held by Labor's Chris Trevor from 2007 to 2010.

That places Flynn among the key Queensland seats where Labor will be campaigning hard to pull the swing their favour.

Herbert near Townsville, Leichhardt which stretches from Cairns across Cape York and five other seats in and around Brisbane are among the other Queensland seats named as key battlegrounds.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday cleared the way for a double dissolution election if the Senate failed to pass industrial relations reforms ditched by Kevin Rudd's government in 2007.

The legislation --- calling for the reestablishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission --- has already been before the Senate and if it is rejected again, Prime Minister Turnbull can call the double dissolution election.

Unlike the federal government, which has a term of four years, senators hold their seats for six-years.

But if the double dissolution is called, even those elected in 2013 will be headed back to the polls.

The Labor Party has already named a Flynn candidate, union man Zac Beers --- son of well-known Australian Workers' Union delegate Tony Beers --- to challenge the LNP for the seat.

Although he is yet to publicly begin campaigning.

There have been rumours circulating that Ken O'Dowd won't be endorsed as the LNP candidate to challenge, however Mr O'Dowd's office has confirmed that is "completely fictitious".

EARLIER: 

BILL SHORTEN will today pay a visit to Gladstone as Labor's "2016 election campaign" gets underway.

Mr Shorten will be at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre from 6pm, to take questions from the community regarding key issues, including proposed changes to Medicare.

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Mr Shorten said there was no better place to start his 2016 election campaign than in Queensland.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday cleared the way for a double dissolution election if the Senate failed to pass the key industrial relations reforms.

Mr Shorten said the difference between the Liberals and Labor could not be starker ahead of this year's election.

"I will spend the next 15 weeks campaigning on the same issues I've always fought for - protecting Medicare, decent jobs, better schools, renewable energy and fairer tax," he said.

"Protecting Medicare from the Liberals' cuts will be a fundamental issue this election."

Topics:  bill shorten medicare yaralla sports club



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