LABOR contender Kieran Drabsch says Liberal MP Sussan Ley cares more for her property in Queensland than rural voters in Farrer.
The Griffith High School teacher made the comment during his first visit to Albury since being chosen in May as Labor’s candidate for Farrer.
He said Ms Ley was barely known beyond Albury.
When asked what he meant by that, Mr Drabsch alluded to Ms Ley’s purchase of a Gold Coast unit while she was health minister.
“She’s unwilling to spend time within the electorate, she’s more interested in her property portfolio in Queensland than listening to her regional community,” Mr Drabsch said.
Ms Ley resigned as health minister in January last year after an investigation into her travel that saw her voluntarily repay $5232.
Asked how much he would focus on Ms Ley’s travel scandal during the election campaign, Mr Drabsch said “it’s not going to be a big issue for me”.
“I’m not here to judge her character, I’m here to campaign on the issues,” he said.
Mr Drabsch cited water policy, TAFE funding and penalty rates as priorities.
“(Ms Ley) believes some of the most hardworking members of the community deserve to have a cut to their wages and I don’t believe that’s fair,” he said.
“I’m for a fairer Farrer.”
Ms Ley noted the decision to cut Sunday penalty rates was made by the Fair Work Commission and Labor leader Bill Shorten had agreed he would accept the industrial umpire’s decisions.
“The commission said its decision is expected to deliver an increase in the level and range of services in retail and hospitality, with a boost in employment; I actually think this is a good thing,” Ms Ley said.
She criticised Mr Drabsch for raising TAFE spending as it “comes under the domain of the NSW government” and defended her stance on the Murray-Darling basin plan.
“I recently suggested both NSW and Victoria should walk away from the Basin Plan if fairness wasn’t restored,” she said.
Ms Ley did not comment on Mr Drabsch’s Queensland jibe and claim she did not care for rural constituents.
Mr Drabsch will be at the farmers’ market at Hovell Tree Park in Albury on Saturday to meet voters before undertaking doorknocking in the city.