Fighting for Farrer
Thursday, 5th August, 2010
Federal member Sussan Ley said the contest for the seat of Farrer was going to be tough.
Ms Ley, who has held the seat for the past nine years, won the 2007 federal election with 57.7 per cent of the vote.
Despite her strong support Ms Ley said it would still be a hard race.
"There are eight candidates; it's still quite a contest," she said.
The other candidates are Labor's Christian Emmery, Independent Louise Burge, The Greens' Peter Carruthers, Australian Democrat Stephen Bingle, the Christian Democratic Party's James Male, the Secular Party of Australia's Mathew Crothers and Independent Jason Clancy.
While Farrer continues to be a safe conservative seat, Broken Hill residents still overwhelmingly vote Labor. Broken Hill's Alma School polling booth recorded the highest Labor vote of the electorate.
Voter Meredith Oakey said the Coalition had some good policies but she wanted to see Julia Gillard have a go at the top job.
"She's a woman, give her a go. She can't go any worse than the men."
Ms Oakey said the Coalition's paid parental leave scheme would be good for working mothers despite it appearing to be an acknowledgement that on many occasions women were still being paid less than men.
"Definitely. Women are paid less than men," Ms Oakey said.
"I think it would be good for other women who are in the workforce who want paid leave - it's a good thing.
"I don't mind that it's going to be capped. I don't think everyone should be paid astronomical wages.
"I think we pay enough for the government's superannuation and redundancies and if we could get away with paying that then the country would be a lot better off."
If the Coalition was elected the scheme, which would not start until July 2012, would allow either the mother or the father to take six months off work to spend time with their newborn babies while being paid but only at the mother's pay rate - capped at $150,000 for six months.
But Ms Ley defended the scheme saying it was designed to keep women in the workforce.
"I don't think it is an acknowledgement of women getting paid less than men. It's directed at mothers," she said.
"I'm a passionate supporter of women getting paid (the same as) men.
"In a lot of households now the women earn more than the men."
A little more than two weeks out from the federal election Ms Ley said voters did not care about the big national issues but were more concerned about issues that affected their lives.
"People are more concerned with what's happening with their own (area)," she said.
"Cost of living increases, electricity, health and water.
"In the (Murray region) water (is a big issue) and certainly people in Broken Hill are concerned that we shore up Broken Hill's water supply."
Ms Ley had her first visit to the city since the election was called last weekend when she attended the Landcare tree planting day.
Yesterday she met with irrigators at Wentworth and with Wentworth Shire Council.
She will be in Broken Hill tomorrow night and will meet with voters in Wilcannia and White Cliffs over the weekend before returning to the city on Monday.