McMILLAN // LABOR candidate for McMillan Chris Buckingham is confident a campaign based on taxation and state partnerships will see him victorious at the next federal election.
Above: Chris Buckingham watches Mark Dreyfus speak at the launch. Photos: William PJ Kulich
Launching his campaign at the Drouin Football Club last week, Mr Buckingham told the region’s true believers protecting household incomes against a GST increase, employment security, job creation and small business assistance were key issues Labor would campaign on.
He also listed the predominantly state areas of public transport, health, and education as key concerns of his coming into the election. The Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen asked Mr Buckingham why he was campaigning on state issues.
“When I talked about public transport I talked about public transport infrastructure, which federal governments can play a hand in if they choose to,” he said.
“Quite clearly this federal Liberal government has avoided funding public transport infrastructure and that has caused Victoria some degree of discomfort. It has certainly had a flow-on impact in terms of the services provided on the Gippsland line because we don’t have enough lines. We need more lines and we need better movement of rail within Melbourne which is causing the congestion and delays.
“We need good planning for the rest of the region; from a health perspective clearly the federal government has a role and funding local government as well.”
Federal governments can only have involvement in state projects with the invitation of state governments. Asked if he had discussed with the Victorian government what could be delivered in McMillan Mr Buckingham said no, but suggested the Andrews Labor government would have similar goals to him.
“Federal and state Labor have shared priorities around health, education, training, jobs, there’s no secret they are the four pillars and are the things I will be focussing on with the upcoming election,” Mr Buckingham said.
Mr Buckingham said already announced Labor policies on taxation, education funding and business would have direct impacts on the region.
“We heard the conversation about tax and the need to make sure very wealthy superannuants who are deriving tax free incomes of more than $1 million or $2 million per year actually do pay their fair share,” he said.
“There’s an inequity in that [and large companies avoiding paying tax in Australia.] What we’re seeing from Labor is a very clear statement saying we’re going to deal with that.”
Shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus QC was a guest speaker at the local launch event. He said public debate and discussion of policy were important to Labor heading into the election, but his speech frequently focussed on more personal comments about Liberal party members.
“This is a short speech at a campaign launch,” Mr Dreyfus explained to the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
Above: shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus speaking at the launch.
“What I’m saying is Labor will have a full set of policies by the time of the next election. We’ve rolled out quite a number of policies over the course of this year and I could list for you right now the policy announcement at the start of this year in relation to family violence, which is in my portfolio area of shadow attorney general.”
Asked if he thought a federal Labor government would be able to fix, as mentioned in Mr Buckingham’s speech, the issue of congestion on the Pakenham and Gippsland lines which successive state governments have largely not touched, Mr Dreyfus said it would be up to the states to lead.
“Well clearly we can’t self-start on major infrastructure projects, it has to be something the state starts, and an example of this is the Melbourne Metro Rail project,” he said.
A signed poster of Gough Whitlam was auctioned at the launch as a fundraiser for the party, earning $450 for the campaign. The poster was the last of several donated to campaign fundraisers by local party figure John Anderson over the years.
“The Liberals will out-spend us, they always do,” Mr Anderson said.
“What we have is passion and Labor values.”
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