by Andrew Clennell.


NSW Corrective Services Minister David Elliott says Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten’s controversial policy to ban cash refunds for franking credits is one of the top three issues he was confronted with as he doorknocked 500 homes in three western Sydney electorates in the lead-up to the NSW state election.

Mr Elliott told The Australian yesterday the twin Shorten policies of taking franking credit cash refunds off retirees and axing negative gearing on new purchases — which is set to affect property prices — were proving a gift for Premier Gladys Berejiklian in the lead-up to the March 23 state poll.

Mr Elliott has doorknocked two seats Labor hopes to snatch off Ms Berejiklian — Riverstone and Seven Hills — as well as his own seat of Baulkham Hills and two seats on the Central Coast — Terrigal and The Entrance — and says the franking credits issue in particular kept coming up; in about a quarter of homes.

“Of the top issues I have been facing in Western Sydney and on the Central Coast, probably number three is the Federal Labor Party policies of franking credits and negative gearing,” Mr Elliott said.

“It’s quite clear to me that middle Australia is very very concerned about retirement income.

“And the feedback I’m getting is ‘we were told in the 80s and early 90s to put money into our superannuation income” and that they would be able to benefit from that.

Mr Elliott said the people were angry “about the goalposts being changed or potentially being changed by Bill Shorten”.

“The same demographic are very concerned about the prices of their housing under Labor’s policies to abolish negative gearing.”

Mr Elliott said it reminded him of when he doorknocked in the lead-up to the Penrith state by-election in 2010 where Liberal Stuart Ayres was elected after a record swing where people were complaining to him about the Rudd government.

There was a similar situation in 2007 in the seat of Penrith where the state Liberals suffered because of the federal WorkChoices policy.

“It’s very clear to me in middle class suburbs the threat of superannuation being retrospectively taxed is not only understood; it’s feared,” Mr Elliott said.

But other issues biting in the west are the state issues of congestion and overdevelopment.

The latest Newspoll had Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s Coalition and Michael Daley’s Labor Party deadlocked on 50-50 — setting the scene for potential minority government.

The Australian revealed last week that Independents Greg Piper and Alex Greenwich would look to the party which scored the highest two party preferred vote in terms of who they would support in a hung parliament.

The Shooters party put out a statement last week saying their MPs or MP would not side with Labor if they were trying to form a government with the Greens and them (a likely scenario if Labor can take nine seats or more off the Coalition).

But Premier Gladys Berejiklian has ruled out any Coalition with the Shooters Party.