WATCH: Bob Hawke weighs into the election debate with new ad

FORMER Prime Minister Bob Hawke has waded into the 2016 election debate in a new ad urging people to vote for his party over the potential privatisation of Medicare.

The ad is said to be Mr Hawke's first since he was Prime Minister between 1983 and 1991.

He is no stranger to election commentary this year though.

On May 24 only two weeks into the 2016 campaign, Mr Hawke wrote an election preview for betting site Crownbet and tipped the Coalition to win with a reduced majority - with a catch.

"If the election were held tomorrow it would be the Coalition with a reduced majority," he said in his preview.

"But the momentum is with Labor. This election is certainly one that the campaign will decide."

Australia is now only a few weeks away from voting to decide who will lead the country. 

Nominations to stand in electorates were closed on Friday and the chance to update details on the electoral role have already closed.

Both Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull began their campaigning in Townsville today, where the city is marking the 20th anniversary of the Blackhawk helicopter tragedy that killed 18 members of the Australian Defence Force. 

Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten issued a joint statement announcing they would each lay a wreath to mark the anniversary. 

They did not attend the memorial service out of respect for the wishes of the deceased's families and instead laid wreaths before and after the ceremony. 

"The local Member of Parliament, Ewen Jones, has been invited to attend and will represent the Commonwealth," the statement said.

Mr Shorten, leading the Labor party to the polls and hoping to fill the position Mr Hawke once held, told reporters his beer drinking skills weren't quite up to the standard Mr Hawke has set.

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