16 October 2020

Campaign Trail: leaders make last-ditch pitches with tried, tired and tested lines

| Dominic Giannini
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Alistair Coe votes

Alistair Coe voting with his family in Yerrabi today (16 October). Photo: Facebook.

On The Campaign Trail today, Coe votes, Barr defends long incumbency and the Greens decry a lack of climate urgency.

On the final day of the campaign trail, the major parties have fallen back to their key platforms and mantras.

Casting his vote in front of the cameras in his Gungahlin-based electorate of Yerrabi, Liberals leader Alistair Coe made his final pitch to voters, promising lower taxes, better services and to make Canberra “the best place to live, work and raise a family”.

But he faced repeated questions from reporters about why the Liberals had not submitted some of their major policy platforms to be independently costed by the ACT Treasury, including their rates freeze. Other policies have been withdrawn from being costed.

When asked if he had disrespected voters throughout the campaign by “refusing to answer basic questions and talking in nonsensical slogans” after repeatedly dodging questions, Mr Coe said the party had run a positive campaign for a “fresh vision for the ACT”.

“The Canberra Liberals have been honest with Canberrans, we have had a positive campaign.

“In contrast, the Labor Party has been obsessed with me and the Canberra Liberals. We are concentrating on the future of Canberra.”

READ ALSO Haven’t voted yet? Here’s what the leaders want you to know

Chief Minister Andrew Barr again touted his “progressive and experienced team” against the Liberals’ inexperience and conservatism, hoping to garner support from his government’s COVID-19 response and socially progressive values.

Mr Barr also tried to shake off the label of a tired and stale government that his opponents have been so keen to repeat after 19 years of incumbency.

“There is no one in this government who was part of that original Stanhope Government. There has been an entire change in the parliamentary team.

“Eight of the 12 members of the Labor Party in the ACT Legislative Assembly were elected in 2016 or later, so there has been complete renewal or rejuvenation of the parliamentary team over the last four years in particular.”

The Greens tried to bring the discussion back to climate change and environmental policy in their final pitch to voters, hoping to replicate the party’s strong local showing in last year’s federal election. A similar swing locally would see the party pick up more seats in the Legislative Assembly.

Electronic voting

As of close of polls yesterday, 54.7 per cent of voters had cast their ballot. Photo: Region Media.

Only a few thousand votes separate the Greens having one or four members tomorrow.

“We, of course, started the year shrouded in bushfire smoke and fearing the fires that were roaring through the eastern seaboard, driven and fueled by climate change,” leader Shane Rattenbury said.

“With the pandemic striking this year, for many people, climate change has receded into the background and we have dealt with more immediate issues but it is an issue that cannot be forgotten. It is the defining issue that we need to deal with.”

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Mr Rattenbury tried to differentiate the party from Labor and primarily sought to do so on environmental policy when asked if voting for the Greens was a proxy vote for Labor.

“We have seen no serious policies [on gas and transport emissions] from either of those parties. Particularly the Liberal party have put forward no substantive policies on climate change whatsoever,” he said.

The “quietly optimistic” Greens leader again ruled out doing any deals with the Liberals for a minority government.

You can follow all of the election night coverage on The RiotACT, and on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Olympic slogan is Faster Higher Stronger. With Labor/Greens we get Slower Lower Longer. Slower buses, Lower housing affordability, Longer hospital waiting times. They have achieved higher rates, rents and apartments.

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