CANDIDATES running for Hume are now in official election preparation mode after Prime Minister Julia Gillard this week announced Australia would head to the polls on September 14 – still 225 days away.
Liberal candidate for Hume Angus Taylor told the Post he welcomed the announcement, and that the Coalition welcomed seven months of debate about the kind of country Australians want into the future.
“Practically speaking, while it’s good to have a date and a bit of certainty, things won’t change much for me,” Mr Taylor said.
“I was pre-selected in May last year and since that time have been working almost full time on my campaign.
I have had many supporters out in the field helping me, and I have been learning the ropes by spending a lot of time with retiring member Alby Schultz.
“I look forward to the entry of a Labor candidate into the field for Hume so that we can have a genuine local debate about the future of our region and the priorities for our country.”
Christian Democratic Party (CDP) candidate Adrian Van Der Byl gave the Post a rather cryptic response to the announcement.
“Some say it’s an act of desperation, others say a masterstroke,” he said.
“I suggest that her past is controlling her more than she feigns to control the future. Not all is revealed.”
Katter’s Australian Party candidate Bruce Nicholson also welcomed the announcement.
“I think this is great news, because we can now start to reveal both Gillard and Abbott for who they really are,” he said.
“It won’t change anything in terms of our policy mandate. We were fairly certain that both Labor and Liberal wanted to call an election around the August- October period. People want to get rid of Gillard, but they don’t trust Abbott either.”
Independent candidate James Harker-Mortlock said he welcomed the news. He told the Post it was good news that we now have a set date.
“It now enables me to start setting down my policies for the people of Hume and being able to explain them further to the electorate,” he said.
“A long campaign can be a good thing, because it enables people to have a look at everyone’s policies in greater detail, and can also give the candidates time to talk to the people in their electorate about what’s important for them.”
President of the ALP’s Hume Federal Electorate Council Roger Lucas told the Post that the announcement has given the people of Hume some certainty.
“I think Julia Gillard has given the constituents of Hume some certainty, when the Coalition is just playing up and basically making a joke of the Parliament,” he said.
“She’s basically said to the coalition to ‘put up or shut up’, and this tells me that we’re on the right track for setting fixed three year terms.
“The Coalition has had ample opportunity to put forward an alternative view for the country.
How can any alternative government in the current situation demonstrate that they’re better than the current government? Labor is successfully rolling out the NBN and increased pensions by $30 per week.
“The prime minister has also provided decent wages for low paid workers and managed the economy during the GFC, and she is also well on the way to introducing the National Disability Insurance Scheme.”
New Labor candidate?
Mr Lucas also told the Post that the Hume ALP branch met last week to select their candidate.
“We’ve written to the NSW constituent branch that a rankand- file recommendation be adopted by the administrative committee, asking for an announcement to be made by the first week in March,” he said.
“We have an outstanding candidate and will be demonstrating how our candidate has a great record of working for the community, and not just for himself.”