LABOR brought a big gun into the electorate to hit the campaign trail, while more people have thrown their hat into the byelection ring.
Senator Doug Cameron and Labor’s New England candidate David Ewings were on the warpath in Tamworth, attacking the government’s slashes to penalty rates.
Mr Ewings said almost 11,500 people in the region, or one in six workers in New England, work in the retail, food and accommodation industries, and were affected by the cuts of up to $77 per week.
“That’s a lot of money, that’s millions of dollars taken out of the local economy,” Mr Ewings said.
“We want to make sure people are paid a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. The Liberal-National government is making this community poorer, and we won’t stand for it.”
Read more: David Ewings feature-length profile
Senator Cameron said it was time for a change in New England.
“A good, honest, hard working, competent member like David Ewings would make a huge difference,” he said.
The Sustainable Australia Party has put forward party founder and president William Bourke as its candidate.
Mr Bourke said in the last election, one million voters across Australia put the party in their top six Senate choices.
He’s keen to raise awareness in the region about the “independent, centrist party”.
“We’ll be campaigning hard on two key issues – securing jobs for regional Australia and a sustainable environment,” Mr Bourke said.
“That includes a moratorium on all unconventional gas extraction and fracking.”
Affordable Housing Party leader Andrew Potts will also contest the byelection.
“House prices and rents may be lower in regional Australia compared to our capital cities, but often so are incomes and Australians are paying too much for their housing needs regardless of where they live in the country,” Mr Potts said.
“This in turn sucks money out of every other part of the economy.”
Meanwhile, police are investigating after a bullet and death threat were sent to Barnaby Joyce’s former electorate office earlier this week.
A spokesperson for Mr Joyce wouldn’t shed anymore light on the situation, other than to say “the matter was handled professionally by electorate office staff who have referred it to the relevant authority”.
The bullet was accompanied by a note referring to a range of environmental issues, including mining on the Liverpool Plains and the proposed Adani mine.