Labor responds to MP’s claims of paid Bundy booth workers
PAYING volunteers to hand out for you at polling booths - it's perfectly legal, but often courts controversy.
Clive Palmer made headlines in the 2019 federal election amid claims he'd hired attractive young people to hand out how-to-vote cards for his party.
The NewsMail made enquiries of the major parties running for Bundaberg following claims from incumbent MP David Batt that some helpers on Labor candidate Tom Smith's team are paid staff from interstate.
When asked at the pre-poll booth, Mr Smith said all his volunteers were unpaid and local, except for his dad, who was an unpaid volunteer who had travelled from Brisbane to offer his support.
In an email asking if, aside from volunteers, there were any paid workers either local or from further afield handing out for him, Mr Smith did not directly address the question but turned attention to his belief in what Labor could do for the region.
"Each and every person supporting my campaign knows how important it is to elect a strong stable government and to re-elect Annastacia Palaszczuk as premier so she can continue delivering economic recovery to our region," he said.
"I have been out there every day talking to the people of Bundaberg and our frontline workers, our teachers, our nurses are telling me the same thing - we can't risk Deb Frecklington and the LNP."
Mr Smith described the desire to reach a surplus in the state's budget as a "reckless obsession".
"Our Bundaberg Labor team knows how important it is to re-elect the Palaszczuk Labor Government so we can keep Queenslanders safe and healthy, and to continue to deliver local jobs, and support local businesses and manufacturing in our area."
Yesterday, Mr Batt addressed questions from local media regarding claims the Bundaberg election campaign was receiving more attention from Labor than the campaign for Burnett.
"We can see it at pre-poll, they're throwing numbers there all day, they've got plenty of volunteers and plenty of paid people to come along as well," he said.
"Yes we're getting outnumbered on the booths but we're gonna continue to fight there all the time, we're getting a good vibe every day from the local people, they know I'm a local person.
"I've been here all my life fighting for what's best for Bundaberg."
Mr Batt also responded after the same question was asked about the volunteers on his team and whether any of them received funding.
"Each and every one of my fantastic volunteers are all Bundy locals who are giving up their time to support me," Mr Batt said.
"One of my most dedicated volunteers is long-term Bundy resident Les Kent, who is 91 years old and has been giving up his time to help out with elections in the our region since 1957 - no matter when and where, Les is there with a smile on his face.
"The only payment I may be required to provide is reimbursement of fuel costs for my daughter Maddy who is travelling back from uni to help her Dad out - a cost I'm more than happy to bear.
"I am incredibly thankful for the invaluable assistance my Bundy volunteers provide."