After much speculation the Federal Election has been confirmed for July 2 after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took time out on Mother’s Day to pay the Governor General a visit.
Sir Peter Cosgrove yesterday gave his permission for Mr Turnbull to call a double dissolution election, launching an eight-week campaign.
Already three candidates have confirmed their intentions to contest the Seat of Page and all declared they are raring to go.
Greens’ candidate Kudra Falla-Ricketts spent yesterday in Newcastle attending the Break Free From Fossil Fuels protest, not quite ready to start plastering up election posters.
“At the moment I’m just trying to meet as many people as I can,” Ms Falla-Ricketts said.
And while she concedes the issues she is most passionate about may not be specific to everyone across the Page electorate, she said they will serve as key elements of her campaign.
“Housing affordability is a big one. Negative gearing is just wasting money and needs to stop,” she said.
“Education means properly funding universities and TAFE. The Government cutting that funding by 20% is absolutely disgraceful.
“And climate change, it affects all the other things we care about. It’s a huge problem and the Government not even mentioning renewable energy or climate change in the Budget is a slap in the face of people who have been fighting for so long to get traction on this issue.”
Labor candidate Janelle Saffin spent the morning at the Nymboida Markets before enjoying a relaxed lunch with friends and her campaign ‘family’.
“We’ve officially started campaigning today and already people have come up to me and said ‘will you survive that long’,” Ms Saffin said.
“It’s certainly going to be a marathon.”
Ms Saffin said all elections were hard but she will be doing her best to meet with everyone during the next eight weeks.
She said the key issues for her include jobs, health, education, renewable energy and protecting Medicare.
“That includes better hospital and health services, and the largest investment in education in a few generations by fully funding the Gonski Report,” she said.
“I’ll also be fighting to keep weekend penalty rates and start making multi-nationals pay their fair share of tax.”
Ms Saffin said the issues are close to her heart and key for the community.
“It concerns them if we don’t have positive policies in those key areas,” she said.
“Labor has 100 positive policies across the board. They are all up on our website.”
Ms Saffin said the National Party representation on these issues had been a big disappointment.
“These are issues that concern our communities, country communities in particular,” she said.
“Not voting to fully fund Gonski, not speaking out on cuts to health and hospital decimation or supporting the renewable energy industry. And they are desperate to get rid of weekend penalty rates.
“It’s going to be a long eight weeks.”
Member for Page Kevin Hogan spent Mother’s Day at home with his family doing a “few jobs around the house”.
“We haven’t started anything today,” he said.
“It’s going to be quite a long campaign so no, there’s nothing going up this afternoon.”
Mr Hogan said his focus during the campaign will be on jobs and infrastructure.
“My focus is always to keep bringing jobs to our region so that we and our children have career choices here,” he said.
“It has been great to have delivered many large job-creating infrastructure programs for our community. Projects like … the Harwood Mill upgrade, bridges, roads and highways. Funding for hospital upgrades and schools.
“I also want to crack down on multi-nationals’ tax avoidance. We make money and pay our taxes here so they should be doing the same.”
Mr Hogan rejected criticism of the Coalition on issues like renewable energy and education.
“It amazes me that they even mention renewable energy,” he said.
“In 2013 the amount we produced was 13% and we are on target to get that to over 20% by 2020. That’s a massive increase in renewable energy achieving target. We are also on target to halve our carbon use by 2030.”
Mr Hogan said the Government would increase spending on education by 26% by 2020.
“This year we are giving more money to education than the Labor government did in 2013 as well as in health and welfare,” he said.
“We’ve increased spending on all those areas.”