Shorten on by-elec­tions

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica War­riner

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.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d483911

Ahead of cru­cial by-elec­tions on July 28, Bill Shorten has been cam­paign­ing in WA.

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