Election campaign ‘offensive’

THE major parties’ fight for the seat of McMillan intensified last week with an election campaign “offensive” launched against sitting Member of Parliament Russell Broadbent, and his swift retaliation.

Federal Labor Candidate for McMillan Anthony Naus warned voters of what he called Mr Broadbent’s “silent agenda” and called on the MP to reveal the Coalition’s plans for “cuts” if it was to be re-elected.

Mr Naus issued a list detailing how he expected Coalition cuts would impact McMillan residents, including a $15,000 loss to the “typical family with two kids” over the period of their childrens’ schooling with the end of the Schoolkids Bonus. He said that would affect about 10,400 eligible families across McMillan, an electorate encompassing Moe and its surrounds.

Mr Naus said about 48,300 people in McMillan stood to lose “years of super savings” if Labor could not implement its Superannuation Guarantee increase.

Further, about 22,400 people in McMillan, mostly women, would lose up to $500 every year if the Low Income Superannuation Contribution was cut, he warned.

Mr Naus issued other claims about potential losses to the Income Support Bonus and Medicare Locals under a Coalition Government and said public service cuts could affect 1,100 Federal Government employees in the electorate.

Mr Broadbent, however, accused Labor of repeatedly failing to meet its budget forecasts and said “its policy implementation” had been “appalling”.

In response to superannuation claims, the MP said the Coalition had “already said that in government we would not make any detrimental unexpected changes to superannuation”.

“Labor on the other hand, over the past five years increased taxes on super by more than $8 billion, predominantly targeting low and middle income earners – despite a pre-election promise of no change to super,” he added.

“On the question of support for single parents, it was the Labor government that changed the eligibility rules of the Parenting Payment, putting many single mothers on Newstart allowances resulting in a substantial drop in income,” Mr Broadbent said.

He said Labor’s carbon tax had “already cost householders thousands of dollars each year in increased power bills” and “seriously increased the cost of doing business”.

Mr Broadbent vowed the Coalition would “get rid of the remnant carbon trading scheme”.

In response to Mr Naus’s claim around 6,300 people in McMillan worked in occupations which faced having penalty rates and overtime cut by the Coalition, Mr Broadbent said penalty rates imposed a “major burden on regional employers, most of them small businesses, which employ the majority of workers in McMillan and Australia wide”.

“But I wouldn’t expect Labor to understand this,” he added.

Mr Broadbent moved to ease concern about public service cuts, saying local government employees “would have little to fear” and any cuts would “be concentrated on the overstaffed Canberra bureaucracy”.

While Mr Naus said Victorian schools would, on average, be $920,000 worse off under the Coalition than under Labor’s Better Schools Plan, Mr Broadbent said they would “better off…despite the government’s bluster”.

“Under Labor’s plan, funding for schools would be reduced before increased kick in six years later… that’s reduced funding to a whole generation of primary school kids.”