Malcolm Turnbull at an announcement at the Sunshine Coast Airport, September 4, 2015.
Malcolm Turnbull at an announcement at the Sunshine Coast Airport, September 4, 2015. Patrick Woods

Fraser happy to head to polls with Ballina

THE Nationals’ Matthew Fraser has labelled the Coalition’s leadership change to Malcolm Turnbull as a “game-changer” in the Richmond electorate ahead of next year’s Federal poll.

“Tony Abbott wasn’t liked in this area or in Page,” said Mr Fraser, who ran unsuccessfully for the electorate in 2013.

“He probably had his worst two ratings in those areas, whereas Malcolm Turnbull on the other hand is unbelievably popular.

“In 2013, quite often people would say to me, ‘Matthew, I would vote for you but only if Malcolm Turnbull was leader’.

Mr Fraser said it was “likely” we’ll head to the polls after February 2016, after the Electoral Commission finalises changes to the Richmond electorate boundary.

Draft plans supported by all parties to expand the boundary to take in Ballina, which currently falls under the Page electorate, were accepted by the Electoral Commission yesterday, with the change expected to favour the Coalition.

The Nationals will go to pre-selection and official polling in February when boundaries are finalised.

At the 2013 election, Matthew Fraser was ahead of Labor’s Justine Elliot at the first preference count, but she won with 53% after Greens’ preferences.

Mrs Elliot confirmed she would be Labor’s candidate for the 2016 election.

“Every election is a challenge and I take nothing for granted,” she said.

“This election will be a referendum on penalty rates. Malcolm Turnbull and the Nationals want to abolish penalty rates for our nurses, emergency service workers, and our retail and hospitality workers.”

Dawn Walker has been announced as the Greens candidate for Richmond.



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