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Health, education and transport key issues in Victorian poll

Health, education and public transport rank as some of the key issues facing Victorian voters in this month’s state election.

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Opinion polls are pointing to a victory by the Labor opposition led by Daniel Andrews, with a recent Newspoll giving the ALP an eight point lead over the Coalition.

Victoria’s Premier Denis Napthine says the state election is all about trust and Victorian voters shouldn’t trust the Labor opposition to manage the state’s economy, which he says is in great shape.

“The best example of the work of the coalition is the budget repair, which now has the Victorian budget the envy of every other state and territory. A Triple A budget with surpluses now and every year of the forward estimates. We are the only state or territory who has that economic strength, that economic firepower which underpins our ability to deliver the services people need, the hospitals people need, the schools that people need, the community safety that people need and the care and support for those families and individuals at risk.”

What Doctor Napthine didn’t highlight was the fact that Victoria’s unemployment rate is now the highest on the mainland.

Opposition leader Daniel Andrews, who the pollsters say is headed for a comfortable victory, says higher unemployment, health and education are key election issues.

“Our hospitals are full, we have to find and re-open the beds the Liberals have closed. I’ll be focused on schools because our buildings are falling down, I’ll be focused on TAFE, because I want today’s students to be able to be tomorrow’s workers to get the skills they need for the job that they want, that’s what is most important. I’m going to be focusing on delivering every signal part of our comprehensive plan for jobs, our back to work plan because we can’t settle as a state for the highest unemployment rate on the mainland and we certainly can’t settle for the fact that there are today 62 thousand extra Victorians on the unemployment queue compared to the number four years ago.”

Both leaders say they’re committed to improving public transport with the Coalition saying it’s delivered 10 thousand more tram, train and bus services each week.

But political researcher Doctor Dustin Halse from Swinburne University says the economy is the most significant issue.

“We’re seeing (Daniel) Andrews trying to cut through on health, the Labor party talking about investment in the health system. We’re seeing transport as a significant issue and we’re seeing both leaders spruiking their transport policies. But like all elections, the biggest issue is always the economy and then we talk about health care and education. The Labor party is positioned well because I think that people are increasingly worried about the status of public health and public education.”

If the Coalition does lose, it will become the first single term government in Victoria since 1955.

One of the major challenges has been the behaviour of the Member for Frankston, Geoff Shaw who had a spectacular falling out with the Liberal party.

Mr Shaw resigned from the party in March 2013 over the misuse of an electorate car and became an independent.

His resignation also played a role in Denis Napthine replacing Ted Baillieu as Premier just days later.

Geoff Shaw now holds the balance of power in Victoria and is an outspoken critic on his former party and its leadership.

Dustin Halse from Swinburne says this political instability is largely to blame for the Coalition trailing in the polls.

“You factor in two premiers, you factor in the situation of Geoff Shaw in Frankston. I think that commentary of instability is significant and will be a significant factor in this election”

Dustin Halse is among the pundits predicting a Labor victory on November 29.

“I would be very surprised if the Labor party do not win and the Coalition really has to pull a rabbit out of the hat, we’ve got a parliament decided by a single seat effectively. It looks like four or five of those marginal seats that the Liberal party hold at present will fall to the Labor party and they should have a relatively comfortable majority so that would be my prediction at this stage but hey it’s politics, anything can happen.”

 

 

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