Shorten on by-elections
WITH by-elections on the way for Perth and Fremantle, Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has headed west to woo voters.
Mr Shorten pledged on Wednesday that Labor would contribute an extra $400 million to make up for the state’s GST revenue shortfall, which could be directed towards roads, rail and hospital funding.
Community News sat down with Mr Shorten after the announcement.
“We don’t believe in the hunger games where you pit state against state, but I think the deal of under 70 cents (in the dollar) has been too unfair,” he said.
“The decisions we make on the fair share fund will be in consultation with WA. It won’t be wise men from the east just spending money.”
Four of the five upcoming byelections across Australia on ‘Super Saturday’ are the result of Labor resignations, with all of these, bar previous Perth member Tim Hammond, stemming from the dual citizenship saga.
Mr Shorten said he was satisfied all candidates were eligible.
“I’m sorry that this has happened and people have been inconvenienced; the High Court’s taken a new, tougher test and they’re the cards you’re dealt with, so you’ve got to make sure you update your processes,” he said.
“I can understand the frustration of voters, but I think by the time we get to election day, the issues about the future of Australia will be more important than what has happened previously.”
Four candidates are standing in the Perth by-election, while three are standing in Fremantle; neither seat has a Liberal candidate on the ballot, setting up a contest between Labor and the Greens.
“I’m really disappointed the Liberals have such a low regard for their base of supporters in WA and such a lack of confidence in their arguments they’re not putting candidates up in Fremantle or Perth,” Mr Shorten said.
Greens Fremantle candidate Dorinda Cox recently called on Labor candidate Josh Wilson to “show compassion” in regards to offshore detention, with the same issue being raised with Mr Shorten on the ABC’s Q&A program.
“I’ve done town hall meetings in Perth; I did one in Dianella last night with 400 people,” Mr Shorten said.
“(Immigration and detention) get raised, but I think people want to know what we’re going to do for their schools, their childcare, their Tafe, for universities, for hospitals.
“We’re not going to see the boats start up again under Labor. But we don’t believe the corollary of not starting the boats again is keeping people in indefinite detention.”
Mr Shorten also said Mr Wilson had been a leader on the live sheep export trade, Perth candidate Patrick Gorman had been strong on a fair go for WA in terms of GST, and both candidates had influenced public transport funding.
Ahead of crucial by-elections on July 28, Bill Shorten has been campaigning in WA.