Bill Shorten says the Griffith by-election will be a vote on the first months of the Abbott government and the first two years of the Newman administration.
It would take a traffic jam for Queensland premier Campbell Newman to be seen in Kevin Rudd’s Brisbane electorate during the by-election, Bill Shorten says.
The opposition leader will formally launch the campaign for Labor’s Griffith candidate Terri Butler on Wednesday night.
He believes the February 8 by-election will be a vote on the first months of the Abbott government and the first two years of the Newman government.
Mr Shorten says locals can have their say on the Queensland government’s job cuts and privatisations.
He also claims the federal government’s failure to stop asylum seeker boats or cut debt, and plans for a “GP tax”, will be key campaign issues.
While Mr Shorten has been happily pounding the pavement all over Griffith, he claims the Liberal National Party (LNP) has been trying to airbrush Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Mr Newman out of their campaign.
“Campbell Newman, if he appears in the Griffith by-election it’ll just be an accident, caught in a traffic jam going somewhere else,” he told reporters.
“I’ve got no doubt Tony Abbott might make a fleeting visit.
“It is remarkable that only four-and-a-half months after the federal election Tony Abbott’s not even, as reported in the Courier Mail, not even on the how-to-vote card. They’re air-brushing.
“The Liberal Party and the LNP are trying to pretend, as they talk about a GP tax, as they talk about breaking promises, what they’re trying to do is pretend that this by-election has nothing to do with national politics.”
Ms Butler said locals were concerned about the cost of living, the impact of the GP tax and cuts to healthcare.
“People here deserve someone who will stand up for them, who will be a strong voice,” she told reporters.
“(LNP candidate) Bill Glasson has already shown he will not do that, he will be a rubber stamp for Tony Abbott and for Campbell Newman.”