NATIONALS Senator Bridget McKenzie has taken aim at Liberal candidate Greg Bickley for “paying lip service” to Bendigo jobs.
Senator McKenzie’s outburst is another indication the Nationals intend to play hard-ball with their Coalition partner should it win on Saturday.
The Bendigo-based Victorian Senator said front running candidates for both major parties had repeatedly cited jobs as a key priority, but “actions spoke louder than words”.
She said neither Labor candidate Lisa Chesters nor Mr Bickley had printed e How-To-Vote cards locally, despite the availability of Bendigo-based printing houses.
The race for Bendigo is tight, with polling at the weekend predicting a tight finish.
Ms Chesters it attempting to hang on to the seat after 20-year Labor MP Steve Gibbons retired last month.
“‘It is the height of hypocrisy to spruik the need for job creation and a strong local economy and then to send money to Melbourne,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The Nationals candidate for Bendigo Sarah Sheedy had her How-To-Vote cards printed locally to support local business.”
Senator McKenzie said given the volume of how-to-vote cards that were being printed, it was a missed opportunity to support local business.
She said rapid technological change was having a significant impact on the Australian printing sector.
”It’s particularly important to support local businesses that are feeling the squeeze,” Senator McKenzie said.
”If we want to keep jobs in Bendigo, then we need to support local businesses wherever possible.
Senator McKenzie said major party candidates had let their respective city-centric party machines dictate where their printing is done.
Mr Bickley could not be contacts today, but his campaign website said “Job security is a real concern for families and individuals across central Victoria and the Macedon Ranges.”
“The introduction of the Labor-Greens carbon tax is putting more pressure on local industries and adding to the uncertainty,” it states.
Labor candidate Lisa Chesters conceded Senator McKenzie made a strong point.
She said her card were printed by state office but there were the only piece of material she’d had printed outside the electorate.
“All my material, my corflutes, mail-outs and everything else have all been printed here in Bendigo,” Ms Chesters said.
“It was one of my main priorities when I won preselection.”