Welcome to The Examiner's election blog.
We'll be updating you on what politicians are doing in your patch, chewing over the politics of the day and sharing stories from the campaign trail.
ATTACKING the Coalition's ``unfair and unaffordable'' paid parental leave scheme is the Australian Labor Party's new favourite motif.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's plan to offer six months of pay at current wage rate _ up to an annual salary cap of $150,000 _ has also copped flack from within his own party, with West Australian Premier Colin Barnett joining traditionally pro-Liberal business and industry groups in speaking out against the scheme.
Those critics are speaking from the same place Mr Abbott was when, as health minister in the Howard government, he said paid parental leave would happen over the government's dead body.
They see the $5.5 billion scheme, partially funded by a 1.5 per cent levy on big business as maximum cost for minimal gain.
Paid parental leave is still primarily a women's issue, which is why Mr Abbott has championed it.
How better to overturn those nasty misogynist rumours? Tony has daughters AND supports paid parental leave. What a nice, women-lovin' guy.
The ALP attack was inevitable: apart from the risk it could grab back the female vote, it's the most significant positive policy idea put forward by the Coalition.
But is it really ``unaffordable and unfair''?
The first point will be hard to determine until the Coalition releases its costings.
We don't know exactly what will be cut to pay for the scheme, but it's clear the company levy won't raise all of the official price-tag and economist Saul Eslake has warned it could become a net cost of government.
So it might be unaffordable or at least more than we are willing to pay.
What about unfair?
An analysis of the competing paid parental leave policies by National Foundation for Australian Women says the Coalition's policy is more generous than the government's recently enacted 18 weeks at minimum wage, but abolishes existing employment entitlements.
It's also paid through the Family Assistance Office, unlike the existing scheme which is paid through the employer in an effort to maintain links with the workplace.
The Coalition's policy compares favourably to international policies, and will keep that edge even if the Greens succeed in lowering the salary cap to $100,000, or a maximum $50,000 payment, in the senate.
So if it is unfair, it's not because it's short-changing new parents.
Labor's argument is based on the broader impact of the potential cuts used to fund it.
Mr Abbott has already said he will cut the Schoolkids Bonus, low-income super offset and pull 12,000 jobs from the public sector.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the policy ``benefits a small group of people but everybody in Australia then has to pay for this scheme.''
Does that make it a ``crazy policy,'' as Mr Rudd described it?
Maybe the government's just annoyed that Mr Abbott stole their schtick.
Spreading the load for a social reform _ that kind of sounds like a Labor policy.