Bill Shorten has tried to flip the script on the cost of his climate change policies, describing them as investments instead.
As the federal election campaign rolls its second week, the opposition leader continues to face questions about the price tag attached to his carbon targets.
The coalition claims Labor’s plan to reduce emissions will cost the economy at least $35 billion and rely on buying carbon credits from overseas.
Mr Shorten flatly dismisses this estimate, but has steadfastly refused to name a price of his own.
He insists the emission reductions won’t cost taxpayers a cent, and argues the cost to businesses will be comparable to the coalition’s policy settings.
Facing a fresh round of interrogation in St Kilda on Saturday, the Labor leader tried to pivot to the big picture, questioning what value people placed on saving the planet.
“The problem this government has is what they call cost, I call investing,” he told reporters at Luna Park.
“What this government calls cost, I call protecting the future for the kids and the next generation.”
During a slightly testy press conference, Mr Shorten accused the coalition and some in the media of harbouring an unhealthy obsession with his policies.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was clearly amused by his opponent’s amusement park tangle.
“He’s stuck on a costings merry-go-round which he doesn’t seem to be able to get off,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney.
Repeatedly pressed to place a price of his policies, Mr Shorten said there was no “mythical figure”, arguing the economic impact was only part of the equation.
“We believe if you invest in making climate change changes now and lowering carbon pollution this will benefit the economy,” he said.
“I believe not acting on climate change has a cost.”
The prime minister is now trying to turn the ambiguity around Labor’s climate policies into an electoral asset.
“I understand Bill Shorten’s policy better than he does – it’s not even my policy – I don’t support it,” Mr Morrison said.
“I don’t support it because I understand it. If you don’t understand it, I wouldn’t suggest you vote for it either.”