Labor MP Tanya Plibersek has been forced to address rumours she had a falling out with Labor leader Anthony Albanese after being absent from Labor's campaign launches.
Ms Plibersek appeared with Mr Albanese on Wednesday in Victoria after a noted absence from Labor party events over the past three weeks.
The Shadow Education Minister was asked a blunt question by a journalist at the televised press conference.
"Ms Plibersek, have you been shafted from the official labor election campaign, and is your appearance today an effort to put those rumours to bed?"
The question was met with laughter from Ms Plibersek and Mr Albanese, with the Education Minister forced to defend herself saying she had been "travelling around the country working very hard".
“I don’t know how many media events I’ve done, I think last count about 30 of them," she said.
"And can I tell you one thing, not a single person has stopped me in the street and asked me the sort of questions that you just asked me."
Ms Plibersek wasn't present for Anthony Albanese’s campaign launch in Perth on Sunday, fuelling speculation she had a falling out with the potential prime minister.
She missed the launch due to a scheduling conflict, staying in Sydney to launch her own campaign and represent Labor at the May Day march.
'Storm in a teacup'
Speculation of a rift between the two was described by former Labor leader Bill Shorten as a “storm in a teacup”.
“Australia is a big place. Not all of us move around in a giant group with Anthony Albanese on the plane during the election campaign,” he told Channel Nine's Today on Tuesday.
“We are out there winning votes all over Australia.”
Ms Plibersek told reporters she was "absolutely focused" on winning the election "and making Anthony Albanese the next prime minister of Australia".
“That’ll be a great day for this country," she said Tuesday.
Ms Plibersek — who has been touted as a potential Labor leader previously — shut down the idea she's vying for Mr Albanese's position saying she had been visiting key marginal seats across the country.
“I think this is a little bit of mischief from the Liberal Party and perhaps some journalists who think that it’s a quirky story, but what can I say?” she said.
“I’m campaigning hard in marginal seats right across Australia, for an Albanese Labour government. I love doing that.”
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