MEMBER for Parkes Mark Coulton is furious at his political opponents for branding him 'lazy', and said they should focus more on developing policies than delivering personal attacks.
The Nationals MP is going around again in May's election, hoping to keep a hold of a seat he has held since 2007. Parkes is currently a safe seat, with Mr Coulton holding a 33.82 per cent lead on a two-party basis, and earning 50.76 per cent of the primary vote in 2019.
Last week Labor's candidate for the upcoming election Jack Ayoub, who also ran in 2019, accused Mr Coulton of becoming 'complacent' and questioned why he was even running again.
But Mr Coulton has responded in prickly fashion, and said his rival is only reverting to such comments to cover up a lack of real policy plans.
"Until he starts going around Parkes telling people what his policies are, then we won't have a real contest, because at the moment he's just making vague statements of a negative nature without any real back up," he said.
"This is about policy, I know it's easy to play this as a soap opera and make personal attacks on the prime minister, but this is about policy and as of yet from my Labor opponent I really haven't heard too much."
Mr Coulton said he isn't perfect, and he's happy to engage in discussion about how things could be improved in the electorate, but under no circumstances will he cop the description 'lazy'.
"That's incredibly offensive, I spend the equivalent of 20 to 40 hours per week in the car driving around this electorate," he said.
"There's no one that has ever contacted my office that hasn't got attention or a result, so he needs to start backing up these general statements because I find them deeply offensive."
Mr Coulton said while he isn't conceding a Coalition loss at the upcoming federal election despite negative polls, he believes he is more than capable of being a good local member, even if he's governing from opposition.
The 64-year-old has experience doing so, having represented Parkes during Labor's tenure between 2007 to 2013.
Like Mr Ayoub, he said a major part of his upcoming campaign would be about protecting workers in mining regions of his electorate such as Gunnedah, although he has a different take on how to do it.
While his Labor counterpart wants to focus more on transitioning those workers into other sectors, Mr Coulton wants to continue supporting mining jobs and said their longevity is being understated.
"None of the predictions are talking about a demise in the coal industry in the short term, so I think those workers are very secure regardless of what happens," he said.
"In terms of reaching net zero my electorate is doing more than anywhere else in Australia to do that, we've got massive solar, we've got wind farms, we're developing mines for lithium and cobalt and rare earths.
"All of the things we need for a cleaner, more modern technology-driven economy, so we're actually going to need more mining jobs in my electorate not less if we're going to reach net-zero by 2050."
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