Justine Elliot
Justine Elliot

Candidates gang up on Elliot

CANDIDATES on the Right in the contest for Richmond singled out Federal Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot for criticism yesterday, as opposed to one another, as a rare three-party battle began in the seat.

On the first full day of campaigning for next month’s election, both conservative candidates said they could win the seat, and dismissed suggestions the Coalition vote will split given the presence of the National and Liberal parties on Richmond ballot papers.

The Coalition will need all the help it can get in Richmond. Nat-ionals candidate Alan Hunter and Liberal candidate Joan van Lieshout have a tough road to walk toreclaim the seat, which Ms Elliot holds by more than seven per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

Ms Elliot first took the seat from the Nationals in 2004, toppling long-time former member Larry Anthony, thanks to a shiftingdemographic which has seen a weight of progressive voters move into the south of the seat.

While acknowledging it was ‘disappointing’ both the Nationals and Liberals are vying for the seat, Ms van Lieshout said no party had a monopoly on the area.

“No one owns the seat of Richmond,” she said.

However, she said her preferences would flow to Mr Hunter.

Both Mr Hunter, who visited voters at local markets, and Ms van Lieshout, who met with other Richmond Liberals, spent time in the south of the seat yesterday.

Ms Elliot was believed to have been doorknocking at Banora Point yesterday, and she could not be contacted by The Northern Star.

Mr Hunter said Ms Elliot was not the parliamentary representative Richmond deserved.

“I’ll be here for the electorate,” he said.

“She hasn’t done that. I think she’s had another agenda.

“I have no political ambition. I’ll just be trying to do the best thing for Richmond.”

Ms Elliot was promoted to the Ministry by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd after the 2007 election.

Ms van Lieshout also said MsElliot had left a lot to be desired in terms of her effectiveness.

“I believe we can do much better,” she said. “I don’t believe we’ve had a government which has given us strong decision-making.

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