SHADOW environment minister Greg Hunt had a word of warning for Indi voters contemplating backing independent candidate Cathy McGowan at the expense of sitting member Sophie Mira-bella.
“The last rural independents elected to the Federal Parliament gave Australia the carbon tax,” Mr Hunt said.
He was referring to outgoing independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, who sided with Labor to form a minority government under Julia Gillard.
“Any locals considering the independent experiment, remember they gave us the carbon tax, they gave us increased taxes and they supported the Gillard and Rudd governments,” Mr Hunt said.
Ms McGowan has not indicated which party she would support in the event of another hung parliament after the September 7 election.
In 2010 member for Farrer Sussan Ley had to contend with a strong independent, Louise Burge, who polled 9350 votes or 11.27 per cent, though most of her preferences went to Ms Ley.
“It is a good example of why you don’t take any vote or election for granted,” Ms Ley said.
“Strong independents can turn up anywhere and they’ve certainly come through this region in the past.
“It is great for the democratic process.
“We are only as good in one sense as our opposition.”
Mr Hunt was the third senior shadow minister to visit in recent weeks.
Ms Ley holds the shadow portfolios of employment participation and childcare and early childhood learning but is not in the shadow cabinet.
“I will be working my butt off to make sure the positive messages we’ve heard this morning about the Coalition’s ideas, principles and philosophies to make this country grow are explained in regional communities,” she said.