BUDGET TALKS: Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen answers questions at a Banora Point forum on Friday, with Richmond MP Justine Elliot in the front row, left.
BUDGET TALKS: Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen answers questions at a Banora Point forum on Friday, with Richmond MP Justine Elliot in the front row, left. Alina Rylko

ALP ‘ready’ to head to the polls

SHADOW Treasurer Chris Bowen said Labor was ready to head to the polls, should Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull call an early double dissolution election.

The Labor frontbencher visited the Tweed this week, attending a branch function at Murwillumbah with Richmond MP Justine Elliot on Thursday, before hosting a forum at Banora Point.

About a 100 community members attended, some pitching questions on federal issues of job security, the aged pension, GST, corruption and tax breaks for multi-national companies.

Speaking before the forum, Mr Bowen told the Tweed Daily News that Labor and Mrs Elliot were ready for the fight.

“We don’t decide when the election is, but we’ll be fighting it and I don’t care when it is, we’ll be ready.

“Justine’s always had to struggle for it; she’s always had to earn the votes and respect from the people of Richmond and for the last 12 years has succeeded.

“Justine is one of my best friends in Parliament, but more importantly she has been a wonderful voice for the people of this region.”

But Mr Bowen said Labor would not propose fixing Richmond’s shocking job statistics – the region’s 8.5% unemployment rate is the highest in the state – with a Wayne Swan-style boost in government infrastructure.

BIG TALKS: Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen at a Banora Point forum on Friday.
BIG TALKS: Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen at a Banora Point forum on Friday. Alina Rylko

“That was in a particular circumstance – the Global Financial Crisis – that’s not the circumstance we’re having now.”

He said despite Mr Turnbull ruling out taking any GST rise to the election, the prime minister could not be trusted to stick to his promise.

“Both the prime ministers and both the treasurers have been talking about the GST for 12 months, and we’ve been saying its unfair to people on low incomes and it wouldn’t improve the economy at all.

“We know Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison won’t have the courage to take the policy to increase the GST to the election, but sure as day the policy will be back.

“We reject an increase in the GST and its interesting that over the last 24-hour, Scott Morrison has been using the exact same argument I’ve been using against him for the last 12 months.

“Morrison is all talk. He turns up at the National Press Club and does a 46-minute speech, with not one single idea in it, we’ve been announcing our ideas, one after the other.”

He said concerns raised at the Tweed were similar to the rest of regional NSW.

“ ... (there are) concerns about things like the GST, the future of the aged pension, family payments and particularly concerns about equal access to TAFE and university in regional areas.”



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