Labor Party leader Bill Shorten has hit the road in a pre-election bus tour of regional Australia, but not before an embarrassing incident marred the start of the tour in Melbourne.
Mr Shorten’s road trip is part of what is expected to be an ongoing “battle of the buses” between the nation’s would-be leaders as the next federal election draws nearer.
Hiccups, however, seem to be part and parcel of such road trips by bus – Prime Minister Scott Morrison was embarrassed during his recent Queensland bus tour when he flew more than rode his bus up the east coast – but The Bug can also report that US high-tech transport pioneer Elon Musk (pictured above) believes he has a high-flying solution to Morrison’s woes.
Also hitting an unexpected early road bump were plans for Mr Shorten and his Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Mark Butler, to spend the next week on the Labor bus (pictured) visiting renewable power projects to highlight the party’s policies to combat global warming.
And it was that very issue that caused a delay to the trip when a staff member of the bus rental company was involved in an argument and had to be replaced. Witnesses said Mr Butler innocently asked the company’s inspector (pictured below) about the fuel efficiency of the bus, and whether the coach company offset its emissions to help fight global warming.
“This caused the inspector to rant and rave about climate change being a myth,” one witness said.
“It got very heated and the driver eventually yelled ‘I hate you Butler!’ and began to lunge at Mark.”
The coach company told The Bug the incident was quickly resolved with the inspector being cautioned and the bus departed with Mr Shorten, Mr Butler, and reporters on board only 15 minutes behind schedule.
Meanwhile the federal Liberal Party has unveiled its newest mode of transport for Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he plans to make more visits to regional centres around the nation in the lead-up to the 2019 election.
Mr Morrison was criticised when he made a “bus” tour of regional Queensland but flew on RAAF VIP aircraft for many legs of the trip to enable him to fit in all stops on his itinerary.
A spokesperson for the Liberal Party secretariat in Canberra said US technology pioneer Elon Musk had provided a new bespoke vehicle (pictured below) for Mr Morrison’s future trips.
“Apparently Elon read about the embarrassment caused by the use of the VIP plane on the bus trip and wanted to offer a solution,” the spokesperson said.
“We believe the new battery-powered vehicle supplied by Mr Musk will prevent the type of attacks we saw mounted against the Prime Minister during his Queensland tour,” the spokesperson said.
Speaking from Tesla headquarters in Palo Alto, California, Mr Musk told The Bug the new vehicle could drive on the road or fly in the air.
“Believe it or not, with the right size of electric motor it could fly to Mars, just like my red sports car,” he said. “But then again, so could I.
“I’ve donated this new type of hybrid vehicle to the Prime Minister of Austria because I heard he was a liberal and I like to help fellow liberals who are in such short supply here in the US.
“Us lefty, environmentally aware, dope-smoking liberals need to stick together.
“I’m working on another version that can sail or go underwater like a submarine using bits and pieces I had left over from the vehicle I made to rescue those young Asian boys from the cave where those paedophiles had kept them hostage,” Mr Musk said.