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Morrison's 'watergate' moment gives Shorten time to catch his breath

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British Labour leader Harold Wilson is responsible for an enduring political cliche: a week is a long time in politics. If Wilson were with us today he might concede a weekend is an eternity.

Bill Shorten, who turned in an indifferent first week of campaigning, can thank independent journalist Michael West for deflecting attention from a poor start to his bid to become the country’s 31st prime minister.

Bill Shorten campaigning in Darwin.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The government has been obliged to respond to reporting on the transfer of proceeds from a sale of water in the parched Murray-Darling Basin to a Cayman Islands-registered tax minimisation entity – Eastern Australian Irrigation (EAI). This distraction has upended the campaign’s second week.

What’s become known, inevitably, as "watergate" has come at an awkward moment for Scott Morrison in his efforts to put behind him an image of a conflicted and scandal-prone government.

Scott Morrison campaigning in Tasmania.Credit:Dominic Lorimer

I have no idea about the rights and wrongs of what seems, on the face of it, an excessive payment for water trapped on properties in the basin, but circumstances surrounding a closed tender carry with them the odour of dying fish in the Menindee Lakes.

The fact that Energy and Resources Minister Angus Taylor was previously a director of Eastern Australia Agriculture, controlled by EAI, before he entered Parliament, and former........

© The Age