Page MP re­turns fire

The Daily Examiner - - NEWS - ADAM HOURI­GAN adam.houri­gan@dai­lyex­am­iner.com.au

HE WAS once voted the world’s best trea­surer, and elected as the next na­tional pres­i­dent of the Aus­tralian La­bor Party, and Wayne Swan wasted no time in his visit to Grafton at­tack­ing the record of the sit­ting lo­cal mem­ber while in town.

Mr Swan joined can­di­date for Page Patrick Dee­gan at a La­bor Party event at the Great North­ern Ho­tel on Thurs­day night, and wasted no time in at­tack­ing the gov­ern­ment, and cur­rent Mem­ber for Page Kevin Ho­gan.

“This is an area like many Na­tional Party seats up the coasts on lower in­comes which has been hit hard by the poli­cies of the cur­rent gov­ern­ment, and there’s a lot of peo­ple who will ben­e­fit from the tax re­lief we will give them – much more than Mr Mor­ri­son would give them,” he said.

“Peo­ple on penalty rates have been smacked by the gov­ern­ment’s sup­port of the cuts, as well as cuts to health and ed­u­ca­tion.”

Mr Swan said that areas like the Clarence need some­one who is go­ing to stand up and fight for them.

“I sit quite close to your lo­cal mem­ber and he doesn’t look like he’s do­ing a lot of fight­ing,” he said.

On Mr Ho­gan’s move to the cross­bench, Mr Swan dis­missed it as com­pletely cos­metic.

“It’s all Clay­tons. He wan­ders out of par­lia­ment and into the party room. The no­tion that he’s some­how be­ing in­de­pen­dent to try and dis­tance him­self for the atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted in the elec­torate won’t wash,” he said.

“Nor­mally, when you have an in­de­pen­dent, oc­ca­sion­ally they’ll get up and say some­thing, no mat­ter how ef­fec­tive or in­ef­fec­tive, but this guy has said he’s in­de­pen­dent and then shrinks, as op­posed to ex­pands.”

Mr Ho­gan re­futed the claims by Mr Swan, say­ing by his stood proudly by his record in de­liv­er­ing for the Clarence Val­ley.

He cited a long list of achieve­ments in­clud­ing $4.15 mil­lion for the up­grade of the Har­wood Mill and Re­fin­ery, se­cur­ing the jobs there, and $2.3 mil­lion across both stages for Ma­clean River­side Precinct up­grade.

He also pointed to record spend­ing in aged care by more than $18m an­nu­ally, $11m for lo­cal roads as well as fund­ing for the new Ro­mi­aka Chan­nel Bridge as well as record fund­ing for the du­pli­ca­tion of the Pa­cific High­way.

“Fed­eral fund­ing for health has in­creased from $64 bil­lion in 2013 to more than $79 bil­lion by 2019/20 – that’s an in­crease of 23.4 per cent,” he said.

“We are in­creas­ing fund­ing in ed­u­ca­tion from $12.9 bil­lion in 2013 to $30.6 bil­lion by 2027. This is a $17-bil­lion in­crease – a mas­sive new in­vest­ment in ed­u­ca­tion.”

He ques­tioned why Bill Shorten wanted small busi­ness to pay more than the big guys in re­gard to penalty rates.

“If you are a fam­ily-owned cafe or take­away shop you have to pay $8 per hour more for your work­ers on a Sun­day com­pared with McDon­alds or KFC,” he said.

“Many of our lo­cal small shops, phar­ma­cies and take­aways find it too ex­pen­sive to open on Sun­days and can’t com­pete against the gi­ant re­tail chains.”

On his move to the cross­bench, Mr Ho­gan said any­thing Mr Swan said on the is­sue was hyp­o­crit­i­cal.

“If a La­bor mem­ber had moved to the cross­bench, they would have been im­me­di­ately ex­pelled,” he said.

Photo: Adam Houri­gan

EL­DER STATES­MAN: For­mer fed­eral trea­surer Wayne Swan spoke at a La­bor event to sup­port the party’s can­di­date for Page Patrick Dee­gan at the Great North­ern Ho­tel in South Grafton.

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