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May 9, 2021

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[author]Chris Dobney[/author]

Yesterday local news reports appeared to criticise Richmond MP Justine Elliot for participating in just 18 parliamentary debates during the current sitting year.

Now a new criticism of her has emerged from within her own party, with local constituents saying she doesn’t turn up to local branch meetings either.

On the Open Australia website Ms Elliot’s performance was compared to those of other local sitting members who participated in many more.

Rob Oakeshott spoke in 97 debates, Ms Elliot’s party colleague Janelle Saffin took part in 89, while Coffs Harbour MP Luke Hartsuyker spoke in 79.

In her defence, Ms Elliot said yesterday that as parliamentary secretary for trade she could only speak on matters pertaining to that portfolio when legislation is debated.

Now a local branch secretary, Christine Smith, says Ms Elliot has only been to two branch meetings in the last seven years.

‘Local members are bypassing Ms Elliot in an effort to get things done,’ she said. Ms Smith says the member had ‘started her own branch on the Tweed Coast with closed minutes. It seems like she’s not willing to become too involved in local area,’ she told local media.

Ms Elliot defended her position, saying she was surprised by the claims. She said that besides branch meetings she had been to ‘a number of forums’ and meets regularly with members at individual meetings.


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