Austin dark on Wilkie 'deal'

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 19 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

THE Liberal Party's support for Denison independent MHR Andrew Wilkie should send shivers down the spine of progressive local voters, says Labor candidate Jane Austin.

Responding to revelations in today's Mercury that the Liberals will preference Mr Wilkie ahead of Labor in September 7 poll, Ms Austin said there was too much at stake for Denison to risk casting a vote for Mr Wilkie or the Coalition

"Labor's Better Schools plan, the continued roll-out of the National Broadband Network and protecting Denison from (Opposition Leader) Tony Abbott's harsh cuts are just some of the critical issues confronting our community."

The ALP candidate, who has been campaigning for the southern Tasmanian seat since July last year, said the Abbott-Wilkie deal meant Denison voters now had a clear choice.

"They can stick with Labor progressive policies or throw them out the door to Mr Abbott and Mr Wilkie," she said

Mr Wilkie, meanwhile, today began distributing his how-to-vote cards, showing he will be running an open ticket.

"My decision to run an open ticket reflects my numerous statements that I would not engage in preference negotiations or do preference deals with any political party," Mr Wilkie said.

"I have also said that I will not enter into an agreement to support any political party after the election.

"I note that the Liberal Party has chosen to place me above Labor and the Greens on their how-to-vote card.

"Obviously I'm asking all Denison electors to give me their number-one vote.

"But I'm also grateful to any political party supporters who choose to give me their second or third preference."

Liberal Party state president Sam McQuestin told the Mercury yesterday his priority was getting the party's candidate, Tanya Denison, elected.

"Our electoral system is compulsory preferential, so we need to give guidance to Liberal voters about the other candidates," Mr McQuestin said.

"As far as the Liberals are concerned, it's Tanya Denison first, daylight second, and then Mr Wilkie as the best of a bad bunch."

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