News National Federal Budget didn’t help Vic Libs

Federal Budget didn’t help Vic Libs

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Federal budget cuts and the unpopularity of the Abbott government are being blamed by both sides of politics for the Napthine coalition government’s loss to Labor in Saturday’s state election.

Labor’s Daniel Andrews led his party to victory in Victoria.

The fall of the first one-term government in Victoria since 1955 is sending ripples through the Liberal and National parties across the country.

Victorian election: the big issues

Federal Families Minister Kevin Andrews, a senior Victorian MP, said federal factors had been minute, with polls showing a trend towards Labor three years ago.

“This election has been fought largely on state issues,” he said.

“If federal issues were a factor across the country, the coalition would also be trailing in NSW and Queensland which faced elections in coming months.”

But former Victorian community services minister Mary Wooldridge said federal issues had been very important, citing Labor’s use of Tony Abbott’s image in its political advertising and election day bunting.

“It has been significant,” she said.

“In May we had a very positive response (to the state budget) but that was very quickly turned around after the federal budget.”

She cited the rise in petrol tax and cuts to the ABC as particular problems.

Federal Labor frontbencher and Victorian senator Kim Carr told AAP that fruit-processing areas such as Shepparton and car-making electorates had swung heavily away from the coalition because of the lack of industry support.

Labor focus groups also showed concern over university fee deregulation was a key issue.

“This is re-writing the political textbooks – a one-term government – and people are saying the Abbott budget has had a big factor,” Senator Carr said.

Earlier in the day Opposition Leader Bill Shorten – who was on the hustings all day visiting nine electorates – said Victorians wanted to send a message to Tony Abbott.

A senior Labor source said voters often mentioned their concerns about the Abbott government, but no strong anger against the Napthine government.

The Greens won their first Victorian lower house seat in Melbourne, which federal leader Christine Milne seized on as an endorsement of the party’s efforts.


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