Oakeshott v Gillespie on 2013 election issues

It promises to be the edgiest election contest in recent memory as the twists and turns continue in the lead-up to the September 14 federal election for the seat of Lyne. 

Below is a summary of the main points made when we asked both David Gillespie and Rob Oakeshott to outline the major issues they’ll face at the September 14 election and beyond.

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By Rob Oakeshott

Regardless of the politics, and regardless of whether or not I stand for the 44th  Parliament, the following issues are important to our region and our country. 

1. Bringing home local infrastructure projects

 * A record $190m Commonwealth investment in construction works are under way at  Port Macquarie and Kempsey hospitals. 

Making sure the upgrades finish on time and  on budget will be a focus. Construction at Port Base is on target for a 2014 finish date.  

* The $20m University of NSW/Newcastle University/North Coast TAFE course and  building expansion is under way. A DA will be lodged soon. This project involves a massive expansion of course offerings in health services, including the first full  medical degree (from 1st  to 6th year) in the one regional location – Port Macquarie.   Courses start in 2015. 

2. Progressing local ‘human infrastructure’

* There is work still to be done with the successful local education and skills forums and, together, working on the great challenge of improving our region’s access to higher education. This builds a more resilient and entrepreneurial community. 

It  creates jobs, new career opportunities and wealth. 

At the 2008 election, just 12 per  cent of locals aged 25-35 years of age had a bachelor degree or higher. 

The  aspirational goal we’ve been working on for four years is to reach 40 per cent by    2025.  Any improvement has a direct link to stronger local employment data, and to the individuals involved.  

3. More local projects to deliver 

 Charles Sturt University/Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s Food, Soil and Water  Research Centre is an excellent proposal but it’s unfunded. I’m trying to deliver the $4 million needed to get this project off the ground. 

4. National Projects/Economy 

* Comprehensive tax reform must and, in my view, will happen in the next three  years.  While I have been successful in some areas of reform (tripling of tax-free threshold this year to $18,200, increasing small business instant tax write-off to  $6500, loss carry back for small business introduced, the low income superannuation tax removed), there is much more to do.  There are 125 taxes in Australia, and just  four do 90 per cent of the work.  About 55 are state taxes.  Delivering a fairer,  simpler tax system is one of the big aspirations of the next three years. 

* In the next two years, a bipartisan push will happen to recognise Aboriginal and  Torres Strait Islander people in our Constitution.  Currently, local Aboriginal people  could be dismissed as “non-human” for population and voting purposes under Section 25 of our Constitution.  Read it – it has to change for a better Australia. 

5. Vision and Values 

I hope voters consider vision and values important. Every vote delivers a better  Parliament, if we all commit.   If we want a better Parliament, and better public policy, the adversarial, fear n’ smear, personality attacks need to stop.  People need to vote against the repeat offenders who drag our Parliament down, and reward MPs who work on lifting standards. 

People should vote for those who respect the experts in their field, whether it’s science, health, education or tax, and vote against those who dismiss these experts for political advantage. Respect for evidence and knowledge is what our Parliament desperately needs. 

Finally, people should be wary of, and vote against, vested interests invading public policy.

 Political donations are at record highs. It is naïve to believe these donations do  not impact on policy.  

Our political systems will be stronger if more people become aware of how a small handful of very rich individuals are corroding our system of  government.  Only the voter can fix this.

By David Gillespie

I’m running as The Nationals candidate for the seat of Lyne because I want to help put our community and our country back on track. 

 I’ve lived in the area for over 20 years and want to make sure that our children have the opportunity to live and work in a prosperous Mid-North Coast.

We need a strong and stable federal government to achieve this, and as a Nationals MP locally I will be able to make sure we get a fair go after the next election. 

Roads

I’ve been travelling the electorate and talking to people from all across our region ever since I first put my hand up for The Nationals in 2010.

What I’ve found is that the overwhelming local concern is the state of our roads, whether it be the Pacific Highway, state highways and or our local roads.

The Nationals and I have already committed ourselves to completing the Pacific Highway by guaranteeing $5.6 billion to the project, making us the only ones with all the money on the table to finish the duplication.

Border control

My second major concern is the state of our nation’s borders.

 At the last election Julia Gillard said she would stop the boats. Since then over 400 boats carrying more than 25,000 people have breached our borders and unlawfully arrived on our shores. 

The cost of dealing with these arrivals runs into the billions at a time when our budget is already too deep in the red.

 If I’m elected, I will vote with a Coalition government to reintroduce Temporary Protection Visas, give orders to the Navy to turn back the boats, where safe to do so, and give priority to offshore asylum seekers over unlawful boat arrivals. 

Lower Taxes

Another priority for me is lowering our taxes. 

We need to create an environment in which communities like ours can prosper and develop. This will stimulate job growth and opportunity so we can get our economy back on track. 

We need to have a government that understands that the people of Lyne do not want the government digging any deeper into their hip pockets.

Stable Government

Establishing a stable government in Canberra. 

After the last election we all heard a lot about a new paradigm and a new approach to federal government.

We need a government that will restore control and bring back confidence for local families and businesses – a government that will stop the spin and just get on with the job.

Health

I have practiced as a doctor for over 30 years and have met many residents over this time. 

It has been a pleasure to be able to help and get to know so many of you.

Importantly, my career has shown me how critical it is to get health policy and infrastructure right.

That’s why I will push for the reinstatement of the private health insurance rebate, local boards looking after our hospitals and improved mental health services. 

What I hope to offer the people of the Mid-North Coast is a positive plan for our region’s future.

With a commonsense Liberal and Nationals government we can fix the mess left by Labor and give local families and business the confidence and support they need to thrive.

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