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Same shop visited on three pollie walkabouts

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Enviro issues key in by-election

Greens senator Larissa Waters believes that the Griffith by-election will be a litmus test for the Abbott government's handling of environment issues in Queensland.

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If the Fresh Sensations fruit shop and deli ever needs a government bail-out, at least co-owner Jim Mousikos will have some familiar faces on both sides of the aisle.

The Carindale shop has found itself at the centre of at least three political walkabouts, with a throng of media in tow, in as many weeks.

Fruiterer Jim Mousikos welcomes Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Griffith Labor candidate Terri Butler to his fruit shop at Carindale.

Fruiterer Jim Mousikos welcomes Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Griffith Labor candidate Terri Butler to his fruit shop at Carindale. Photo: Glenn Hunt

First, three weeks ago, it was Opposition Leader Bill Shorten with Labor’s Griffith candidate Terri Butler.

Then, on Wednesday, it was Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s turn to squeeze some melons as he and Liberal National Party candidate Bill Glasson took the media on a Carindale tour.

Barely 24 hours later, Mr Shorten and Ms Butler were back again – and Mr Mousikos seemed to be enjoying the constant attention.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and LNP candidate for Griffith Bill Glasson visit Breezair at Coorparoo.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and LNP candidate for Griffith Bill Glasson visit Breezair at Coorparoo. Photo: Cameron Atfield

''We've got another shop at Capalaba and in the past (Howard government minister) Alexander Downer visited, so we’ve had a few politicians come,'' he said.

''I don’t know why they all come – they must like fruit, hey?''

Far from suffering political fatigue, Mr Mousikos hoped there was more to come.

''I'd like to see Tony (Abbott), that would be good if Tony comes,'' he said.

There was no such luck for Mr Mousikos on Thursday – the Prime Minister was instead with Dr Glasson across town at Coorparoo's Breezway factory, inspecting the company’s louvre manufacturing plant.

There, the carbon tax was once again front and centre of Mr Abbott's pitch to voters to put their faith in Dr Glasson, much like it was in the long general election campaign of 2013.

''The carbon tax has become emblematic of unnecessary burdens imposed by government on businesses, workers and consumers of Australia,'' the Prime Minister said.

''The electricity bill here (at Breezway) is many thousands of dollars a month. Those bills would be significantly lower if the carbon tax went and that would be a significant boost to a business like this.''

When it was put to him that a loss in Griffith on Saturday could be a poor reflection on his government, Mr Abbott said he would not speculate on the result.

''You can have someone like (Dr Glasson), who will talk to you of what is in his heart, or you can have someone who is just going to spout the party line and I think it's a very clear choice,'' he said.

Dr Glasson described himself as a ''team player'', but said he would take up the fight to the Prime Minister if the issue warranted it, should a situation like SPC Ardmona develop in his electorate.

''It is my responsibility to work with people but it's also my responsibility to ensure that I advocate strongly and if the issue’s strong enough, Prime Minister,  I will make a stand … and if we don't agree then so be it, but I will make my voice known loud and clear,'' he said.

All the while, Greens candidate Geoff Ebbs and supporters rode back and forth on the street outside on some of the most politicised bicycles, covered in Greens signage, seen in recent times.

As C-1, the Prime Minister’s car, left Breezway, the Greens were spotted loading their bikes on the back of a trailer.

Back at Carindale, the Labor duo of Mr Shorten and Ms Butler walked the well-worn trail, past Mr Mousikos’s fruit shop, handing out election paraphernalia to the supportive, the bemused and the outright confused.

After all, it must be an experience having an Opposition Leader and half a dozen cameras in one's face without a moment’s notice.

Having found the holy grail of election campaigning – five babies at one table – it was time for the post-walkabout media conference.

The Labor campaign got full points for consistency when they held it outside the Medicare office –the exact location they held a similar event three weeks earlier to the day.

''It's clear to me that on Saturday, voters have a stark choice – do they vote for Terri Butler, who will stand up for the local community, who will not simply be a yes person for Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman,'' he said, echoing comments made at every Labor campaign stop so far.

''Or will they vote for a candidate who will end up having to support tough cuts to the health system and not stand up for their local community.''

While Dr Glasson has voiced concerns that the burghers of Griffith were election-weary after up to five polls in two years, depending on the state electorate in which they resided, Ms Butler had no such worries.

''Byelections, traditionally, do have less of a turnout than general elections, but I've got to say people are pretty engaged,'' she said.

In three days, the Griffith byelection will be all but over, bar the counting.

And Mr Mousikos’s fruit will once again be free of the threat of political molestation.

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34 comments

  • ... and who pays for the travel, accommodation for the 'visitors' now that the 'times of entitlement' are over?

    Commenter
    stroevey
    Location
    bathurst
    Date and time
    February 06, 2014, 11:46PM
    • There is nothing wrong with political leaders visiting electorates. You just seem to be a very cynical person. I find getting more sunshine helps....

      Commenter
      jane
      Date and time
      February 07, 2014, 10:11AM
    • In the PM's case it would not matter the government pays his travel expenses for life from the day he became PM , is that not true ?

      Commenter
      BigTedd
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      February 07, 2014, 2:06PM
  • Fresh Sensations may be the only way for Independents and "minor" parties to get noticeable media attention. Is buying a shop the an alternative to becoming a unionist - for medicos or lawyers?

    Commenter
    Shop-less
    Date and time
    February 07, 2014, 8:10AM
    • I got howled down yesterday for stating that yesterdays poll suggested that there was a 70%+ of unionists blogging in Fairfax papers.
      See today's poll 73% Labor 22% Liberal to win the seat of Griffith, I rest my case.
      Labors own polling showed that Glasson had 40%+ of the vote, all those who took part in the poll were wrong?. Start whinging Comrades.

      Commenter
      Observer
      Date and time
      February 07, 2014, 1:09PM
    • Observer
      First rule of observation......open your eyes.
      "I got howled down yesterday for stating that yesterdays poll suggested that there was a 70%+ of unionists blogging in Fairfax papers."
      So you should have. It's a ridiculous comment.

      Commenter
      I stole the navy's GPS
      Location
      Little orange bubble
      Date and time
      February 07, 2014, 2:37PM
    • Observer, I am not a member of a union, being retired. I still said that I expected Labor will win the seat. The question was who I expected to win the seat, not who I wanted to win the seat. If the seat in question was Warringah I would have said I expected the Liberals to win the seat, even though I would hope and pray it was anyone but.

      What worries me is whether the completely crooked logic you displayed is shared among fellow conservatives. No wonder the Government can say ridiculous, illogical and incongruous things and get away with it.

      Commenter
      Whyalla Wipeout
      Date and time
      February 07, 2014, 2:50PM
    • There is no doubt that there is a high number of union and Labor stooges commenting in these threads. However, maybe that poll is a reflection of the fact Labor currently holds the seat, is doing OK in the campaign and the internal polling of both political parties indicates Labor will win, though the contest is getting a bit closer.

      Not everyone on here is so Labor or Liberal that they will vote for who they want to win, not who they think will win.

      Commenter
      Nick
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      February 07, 2014, 2:59PM
    • Whyalla Wipeout only costs $5 a year for retirees to be members.

      Commenter
      still in the union
      Location
      Whyalla
      Date and time
      February 07, 2014, 5:25PM
  • Unfortunate press photo of Lariss Waters at the top of this article. Reading her body language just what is she hiding behind her back from the electorate, whilst smiling ever so sweetly?

    Commenter
    so-called expert
    Date and time
    February 07, 2014, 10:26AM

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