Candidates welcome September election 

Candidates and federal members in Parkes and Hunter say they are ready for the September 14 election announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday. 

Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, who will be seeking his third term in Parliament, said he was looking forward to contesting the election. 

Mr Coulton said much of the “restlessness and frustrations” of the current Parliament would  be directed to presenting the Coalition as a credible alternate government. 

 “This election is about giving people a better government, a government with members that, unlike the Labor-Independents-Greens, actually understand regional Australia and the people who live in it,” he said. 

“Since being elected in 2007 I have worked hard to give the people of the Parkes electorate the strongest possible voice in Canberra,” he said.

 “This is in stark contrast to independents, who have sold out their electorates to be at the beck and call of their Labor colleagues.”

Mr Coulton was returned with 68.86 per cent of the two-party preferred vote in the 2010 election, with Country Labor candidate Andrew Brooks on 31.14 per cent.   He gained a 5.19 per cent swing in 2010. 

Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon, whose seat includes Kandos and Rylstone, will also seek re-election. 

Mr Fitzgibbon said certainty of the election date would ‘‘put pressure on [Opposition Leader] Tony Abbott and the Nationals to provide policy detail and explain how they will pay for their promises’’.

Mr Fitzgibbon held the seat of Hunter with 62.48 per cent of the two-party preferred vote in 2010, despite a 3.2 per cent swing to Nationals candidate Michael Johnsen. 

Mr Johnsen,  who will contest the seat again in September, said the election would give voters the opportunity to send a message to Labor.

“We want hope, we want rewards and most of all, we want opportunity,” he said

“I intend to restore opportunity  by focussing on the local issues and fighting for not just our fair share, but for  genuine local issue based representation. 

"Policy decisions such as the carbon tax and mining tax do nothing but increase the cost of living and provide uncertainty for jobs and investment. 

“We  need to restore good government and put policies in place that encourage  sustainable growth and a positive future for families and business.” 

Mr Johnsen said he would be visiting local communities and holding public forms to discuss policies in the lead up the election.

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