Minor parties target Griffith byelection
The Greens are hoping to harvest a protest vote in the byelection for Kevin Rudd's old seat, while Senator Nick Xenophon hopes Rudd-impersonator Anthony Ackroyd is elected.PT3M55S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-322yi 620 349 February 6, 2014
Griffith will be the ground zero of Australian political life on Thursday, with both Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in the Brisbane electorate championing their respective candidates.
It will be the first time during this byelection campaign that both party leaders will be campaigning in the electorate at the same time.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Tony Abbott will both campaign in Griffith on Thursday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Mr Abbott's only appearance to date since the byelection was called was to officially launch LNP candidate Bill Glasson's campaign on Saturday.
High-profile Liberal National Party candidate Dr Glasson is going head-to-head with Labor's Terri Butler to win the inner-city seat of Griffith, which was vacated by former prime minister Kevin Rudd after Labor's devastating loss in last year's general election.
On the eve of his visit, the Prime Minister was full of praise for the Coalition's candidate in Griffith.
"Bill Glasson is an extraordinary candidate," Mr Abbott said.
"The people of Griffith deserve to get the best possible outcome from this byelection and Bill Glasson would be an absolutely outstanding MP.
"Anyone who wants to improve the quality of our Parliament and raise the tone of our public life should be supporting Bill Glasson for Griffith."
With internal Labor polling leaked this week to the Australian Financial Review that showed Dr Glasson's positive rating well above Ms Butler's, Mr Shorten was not taking victory for granted, despite the opposition's historical advantage.
The last – and only – time a federal opposition has lost a seat in a byelection was in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, in 1920.
“It's going to be an incredibly tight contest, there is no doubt about that,” Mr Shorten said.
Mr Shorten, who will again be in Griffith on Thursday following a long stint in the electorate earlier in the campaign, repeated Labor's campaign mantra that Ms Butler would be a strong local candidate who would “stand up” to Mr Abbott and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.
“I have no doubt Terri and her team will keep fighting for every vote right up until election day,” he said.
“I'm really proud of the kind of campaign she has run – I want her on my team so we can stand up for Griffith against the LNP's cuts.”
A spokeswoman for Greens candidate Geoff Ebbs confirmed party leader Christine Milne would take no further part in the Griffith byelection campaign following her appearance on Monday.