The National Party has retained fast-food retailer Matthew Fraser as its candidate for the seat of Richmond at the upcoming federal election.
Mr Fraser, who failed in his bid to topple Labor’s Justine Elliot at the 2013 poll, successfully faced-off a challenge from Tweed lawyer and shire councillor Carolyn Byrne.
Ironically Ms Byrne, who has consistently sided with Tweed’s pro-development lobby, has been riled in the past by Echonetdaily referring to her as a National Party member.
Following his preselection, Mr Fraser vowed to ‘re-double [my] efforts to represent the people of Richmond.
‘I am committed to giving families in Richmond an accountable, local voice in government in Canberra,” Mr Fraser said.
‘I know I am the underdog against such an experienced politician as Justine Elliott, but I just believe we can do better.
‘Having a real vision for this area, and being prepared to stand up to the “big two” parties is the only way that we are going to get the real money we need for better schools, hospitals and to make this community the Healthy Lifestyles Capital of Australia.
‘If you want to make your voice heard, here’s your chance. Politicians listen to their party bosses; I want to listen to you. Give me your ideas, your insights, your input… and I will put them at the heart of my campaign,’ Mr Fraser said.
But Ms Elliot has quickly returned fire following the announcement, issuing a media release saying that ‘there are three reasons why Matthew Fraser doesn’t deserve your vote’.
The first reason, she said, was ‘the harsh age pension cuts in the Abbott 2014 budget, [which] were praised as “especially necessary” by Matthew Fraser because he thinks pensions paid to the aged are, in his words, “unsustainable”. (Tweed Daily News, May 14, 2014).
Secondly, Ms Elliot said, that the small businessman wanted to see a cut to penalty rates.
‘Matthew Fraser wants to slash the penalty rates of hard working locals. If Matthew Fraser gets his way then thousands of locals working in jobs that rely on penalty rates will have their take home pay slashed. (Tweed Sun, August 27, 2015).
Finally, she accused Mr Fraser of being ‘Malcolm Turnbull’s candidate’.
‘Malcolm Turnbull and the Nationals have already made the choice to unfairly cut the age pension, family payments, local jobs and health services,’ Ms Elliot said.
‘Malcolm Turnbull has imposed an unfair $650 million cut to vital bulk-billing medical services which will see locals paying for pap smears, blood tests, x-rays and ultrasounds.
‘Malcolm Turnbull and his Nationals are making health care more expensive for those who need it most – the sick, struggling families, and the elderly,’ Ms Elliot said.
Echonetdaily has approached the Greens Richmond candidate Dawn Walker for comment.