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Bill Shorten bristles at grilling on Adani

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is urging people not to "dumb down" the national jobs debate after bristling at yet another day of questions over his stance on the Adani coal mine.

Mr Shorten took his election campaign to the central Queensland seat of Flynn on Tuesday, which Nationals MP Ken O'Dowd holds by just 1 per cent.

He promised wharf workers at the Gladstone Port a crackdown on foreign workers if Labor wins the upcoming election.

The minimum wages of skilled visa-holders would be jacked up by 20 per cent, stopping unscrupulous employers from taking on cheap overseas labour over locals busting for work.

Mr Shorten also pledged to spend billions of dollars on gas pipelines throughout Queensland and the Northern Territory.

But almost two weeks into the election campaign, tempers are starting to fray.

Tensions began to bubble when Mr Shorten was urged to give voters a "fair dinkum" answer on environmental approvals for the Carmichael mine.

The Labor leader has for days refused to say whether he will review the approvals if he wins office on May 18.

He has also refused to sign a pro-Adani petition circulated by the mining union, despite the local Labor candidate adding his own name to the list.

Mr Shorten said he would not be "bullied" into a position by unions or green groups.

"I'll work with all of those interests, but I'm not going to be the servant of any of those interests."

The niggling issue cropped up again when Mr Shorten flew north to Mackay, in the Nationals-held seat of Dawson he is hoping to snare from frequent flyer George Christensen.

Labor candidate Belinda Hassan ducked questions on Adani as she was pursued through a sports club by a rolling scrum of reporters and ushered into the leader's car outside.

The Adani mine is a major issue for voters in Dawson and Flynn - regions struggling with high unemployment.

But Mr Shorten said Labor would not be putting all its eggs in one basket over the Galilee Basin project.

Attempting to pivot back to his crackdown on overseas workers, Mr Shorten said there were 1.6 million visa-holders in Australia with work rights.

"Surely some of those jobs could go to Australians."

He also fired up when asked yet again to detail the costs of his climate change policies.

The opposition leader refused to put his stamp on a specific "mythical" figure in relation to emissions targets.

He also tried to drive a stake through the "scare campaign" over his vision for more electric cars.

"If you don't want to buy an electric vehicle in 2030, don't ... Labor doesn't mind what car you drive."

Mr Shorten also called out the prime minister over the "latest bit of rubbish" about Labor's so-called plans to implement a death tax.

"He is intentionally telling a lie, but the old ad man doesn't care."

After tuning into his press conference from the city of churches, Scott Morrison was clearly amused.

"He looked like a very cranky bear when he was asked to explain his own policies," the prime minister told a crowd of Liberal Party faithful in Adelaide.

Mr Shorten was clearly on more comfortable footing when asked about the apparent political comeback of Clive Palmer.

The mining magnate's preferences could decide who wins the regional Queensland seat of Herbert, held by Labor's Cathy O'Toole.

"There is only one person who has been resurrected and I won't compare Clive Palmer to him," Mr Shorten said.

© AAP 2019

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