Smooth ride ends for Labor

A CAR crash and revelations of a Canberra apartment owned by a Labor frontbencher's wife marred Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's hopes for a smooth ride yesterday.

Mr Shorten began the day defending Labor MP David Feeney after News Ltd reported Mr Feeney's wife, Liberty Sanger, owned an apartment he stayed in while in Canberra. Mr Feeney also collected the $273 a night travel allowance while staying there - a common practice among politicians.

The property is owned through Ms Sanger's family trust, which was declared on Mr Feeney's Members' Interest forms, but the property was not noted.

Mr Feeney said the property and declarations were within the rules, as were his travel claims.

It followed reports on Wednesday that Mr Feeney and Ms Sanger owned a $2.3 million Melbourne house he did not declare.

Mr Shorten's day was further marred by a head-on collision between two cars in the Hunter Valley, after which he cancelled all media plans for the day.

The crash occurred when Mr Shorten's entourage was pulling over to hold a media conference.

A car overtook his vehicle, colliding with one coming the other way.

A 21-year-old woman was taken for medical treatment to minor head injuries and a second driver and her two-year-old son were assessed at the scene before Mr Shorten drove them to their nearby home.

Earlier, the Labor leader announced he would end the freeze on Medicare rebate increases at a cost of $12 billion over 10 years.

The freeze was introduced by Labor to try to return to surplus, but the Turnbull government budget extended it to 2019.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the policy was "another unfunded Labor announcement", but Mr Shorten said it would be partly funded by not going ahead with all of the Coalition's tax cuts.

Several health and doctor groups have long called for an end to the freeze, citing concerns over GP incomes and patient costs.


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