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Abbott effect ‘no impact’ in Clarence

THE Tony Abbott effect that has trimmed more than 10% off the conservative vote in NSW won't be a factor in the Clarence electorate says sitting National Party member Chris Gulaptis.

Yesterday Prime Minister Abbott fought off a move to force a leadership spill in his party room 61 votes to 39, but commentators are saying his worries are not over.

However, Mr Gulaptis said the instability in Canberra will not overly affect voters in Clarence who will go to the polls next month in the State Election.

"I've seen those polls that show the effect of the leadership issue on the state vote, but it doesn't really apply in Clarence," Mr Gulaptis said.

"There's no Liberal candidate here and the Nationals are distinct from the Libs and have different values.

"Besides the last poll figures I saw had the Coalition improving its vote by two points."

Mr Gulaptis also did not fear a Queensland-style rejection of issues such as asset sales.

"Here we're selling off assets to create assets," he said.

"We're getting $177 million of the sale of the lease of Port Botany for the Grafton Bridge.

"In Queensland they were selling off assets to pay debts. That's not the issue here."

Mr Gulaptis said the NSW Government has turned around the fortunes of NSW.

"We've gone from being the last placed state in Australia in economic terms to being first," he said.

"I'm sure the people of NSW don't want to reverse that."

Mr Gulaptis said by Christmas the Clarence Valley would be starting to see the effects of the construction works on the Grafton Bridge and the Pacific Hwy upgrade.

"There are already green shoot signs," he said. "By Christmas we'll be seeing the real effects of more than $5 billion being spent in the region.

"We're going to be in the box seat and we'll be staying there for at least the rest of the decade."

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan was "too busy" to answer questions yesterday.

Instead he released a statement saying he was pleased to see the leadership question "resolved".

Rather than comment on the issue, Mr Hogan chose to promote the "four pillars" of National Party policy that were decided at a National Party meeting in Wodonga last week.

Topics:  chris gulaptis clarence state election tony abbott



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