29 September 2020

Campaign Trail: More police and firefighters, fake how-to-vote cards and will the ACT be fossil-fuel free by 2040

| Dominic Giannini
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An officer from ACT Policing explains the regulations during a patrol last week.

More police and firefighters will be hired if the Liberals form government in October. Photo: ACT Policing.

On The Campaign Trail today, the Liberals promise more police and firefighters, the Greens say the ACT can be fossil fuel-free by 2040, and are the Liberals really the second preference of the Greens and Progressives in Murrumbidgee?

The Canberra Liberals will spend $55 million for 130 more police and $45 million for 100 more firefighters over the course of the next four years if they form government in October.

Molonglo will receive a new fire and ambulance station with both Liberal and Labor adding it to their election commitments, while the Liberals have also promised to build a new police station in the suburb.

The announcement follows Weston Creek Community Council president Tom Anderson calling for more police across Weston Creek and Molonglo ahead of the Council’s ACT election debate tomorrow night (30 September).

READ MORE Weston Creek Community Council calls out urgent need for more police

The Liberals will also fast-track the Molonglo district shopping centre, allow tenants into the Coombs shop, and build a new dog park south of Hindmarsh Drive.

Labor has promised to construct playing fields at Stromlo Forest Park, commission a feasibility study for new a Community Centre and Molonglo Library, and fast-track the Molonglo Commercial Centre.

The spate of announcements for Murrumbidgee comes as the Liberals and Labor target the electorate’s fifth seat, hoping to gain a third member in the electorate following the retirement of Greens member Caroline Le Couteur.

READ ALSO Multicultural candidates band together against racism and hate

Fake how-to-vote cards in Murrumbidgee

Fake and misleading how-to-vote cards are reportedly being handed out near the Weston Creek polling centre in the Murrumbidgee electorate, encouraging voters to place Liberal candidates 2-5 on the voting cards.

The pamphlet has falsely labelled the Liberals as the second preferences for Greens candidate Terry Baker, Canberra Progressives candidate Stephen Lin and independent candidate Fiona Carrick.

A fake how-to-vote pamphlet has been handed out in Murrumbidgee. Photo: Supplied.

The pamphlet has not been authorised by the Canberra Liberals and there is no suggestion that it is officially sanctioned by the party.

The ACT Electoral Commission has encouraged voters to check the source of all election material to help stop the dissemination of fake information.

All-electric Canberra by 2040

The Greens will transition the ACT to be fossil fuel and gas-free by 2040 if they continue to hold the balance of power after the election.

The measures include ruling out greenfield gas connections in new suburbs from 2021, ending new infill gas connections from 2023 and spending $20 million to assist businesses and residents transition from existing gas connections.

The plan builds on the ACT’s commitment to zero-net emissions by 2045.

READ MORE Greens pledge to subsidise electric vehicles through $50 million fund

An uncosted election

Labor remains the only major party putting forward some of its policies to the ACT Treasury for costing ahead of the election, submitting around $115 million of commitments to be officially costed.

The Greens have pledged to spend at least $580 million and the Liberals well over $1 billion.

Region Media asked all three parties the total cost of their policies on top of current budget allocations. None have provided an exact number.

Labor maintained that it was the only party to submit costings to Treasury, while the Greens and the Liberals said all of their policy costings would be submitted and released ahead of election day.

However, voting has already commenced. Almost 8,000 people voted yesterday, the first day booths opened, compared with around 2,600 on the first day of the 2016 election.

Around 80 per cent of eligible voters are expected to vote early this election.

READ MORE Three decades’ population growth needed in a year to fund Libs’ election promises: Labor

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I find no issues with making people aware that there can be things, such as how to vote leaflets, or other signage provided or displayed in public that appears to be from an official source but is actually fake or misleading. The issue I find is the assumptions and accusations of certain political involvement without a proper investigation. It also indicates that there is a lack of scrutiny and that there should be more scrutiny by electoral commission staff in the vicinity of polling booths to ensure that the proceedings are above board and fair.

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