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Labor and Coalition frontbenchers Tanya Plibersek and Jane Hume have clashed over the late senator Kimberley Kitching during a fiery Today segment.
The pair were on the show discussing whether women could sway the election vote in the final campaign week.
Things became heated when the topic of childcare came up, but one comment made by Hume about Kitching left Plibersek shocked.
The clash began when Hume claimed childcare is “cheaper and more accessible” under the Coalition.
Plibersek quickly rebuffed the claim.
“I think if Jane really thinks that childcare is cheaper today than it was almost a decade ago, she’s dreaming,” she said.
“The statistics just don’t bear that out.”
Hume interjected and said Labor hadn’t announced what their policy would cost.
Plibersek countered: “We have. It’s $5.4 billion.”
Moving the topic on from childcare, Today host Ally Langdon then brought up allegations of bullying raised by Kitching before her death.
Kitching, who died March 10 from a suspected heart attack aged 52, had reportedly told senior party figures she had been bullied by other members in the party.
A formal inquiry has not been conducted.
“Tanya, I think you lose points in this refusal to investigate the bullying of Kimberley Kitching especially after going hard on Brittany Higgins’ alleged assault,” Langdon said.
Plibersek said any complaint about bullying and harassment raised formally would be “thoroughly, independently investigated”.
Hume shot back: “Hang on, Tanya. Kimberley died. She can’t make a complaint. She did apparently make a complaint before she died.
“No-one can prove that now.”
Plibersek doubled-down and repeated that an independent investigation would be carried out, should formal complaints be made.
Hume again interrupted, saying: “Dead women tell no tales.”
Plibersek appeared shocked by the interjection.
“Jane, I don’t think you should be saying things like that,” she said.
“That’s in very poor taste. We are grieving a colleague.”
Amid the heated segment, Plibersek admitted the federal election could still go either way.
“The last election taught us you can’t trust the polls,” she said.
A poll in the Australian Financial Review this week showed Scott Morrison’s approval rating among women averages 29 per cent, while Anthony Albanese’s approval rating sits at 27 per cent.
However, more women surveyed think Albanese would make the better prime minister at 40 points to 33.
Throwback photos of federal politicians