The Prime Minister says no country ever subsidised its way to prosperity, when asked if jobs were a factor in the South Australian election result.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has rejected suggestions the South Australian election result could be attributed to his failure to support car industry jobs, saying a majority of voters backed the state Liberals.
State Liberal leader Steven Marshall was expected to sweep to power in Saturday’s election. But in a shock result both major parties failed to win enough seats to form a majority government.
Federal Labor has taken heart from the poll. It has attributed the upset result to voter dissatisfaction with the Abbott government – in particular the failure to support jobs in the car industry and its commission of audit.
But Mr Abbott pointed to the South Australian Liberals two-party preferred vote of 53 per cent, saying in other states it would have given the party a “thumping majority”.
The prime minister said “no country has ever taxed or subsidised its way to prosperity”, when asked if jobs were a factor in the result.
“And the fact that some 53 per cent of the South Australian electorate voted one way or another for the Liberal Party makes me think that people understand this well and truly,” he told reporters in Sydney.
He said South Australian voters would feel cheated if Labor was returned to power, in a blunt message to two key independents who’ll decide which party forms government.
Mr Abbott would not comment on suggestions his involvement in the campaign had a negative impact on the Liberals’ result.
“I was very happy to be involved … and I know that my involvement was welcomed by Liberal Steven Marshall,” he said.
Federal Labor was quick to attribute the South Australian result to the Abbott government, with industry spokesman Kim Carr saying voters had condemned the loss of Adelaide carmaker Holden “at the hands of the Abbott government”.
“The Abbott government played chicken with the international automotive companies and they are the ones who have ended up with egg on their face,” Senator Carr said.
Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten said the state election showed an “undercurrent of concern” about jobs, and cuts to health and education in the May budget.
“I think Tony Abbott has cost South Australians an outcome which they might have otherwise got in terms of a Liberal government,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
Mr Shorten repeated his calls for the commission of audit to be released ahead of April’s West Australian Senate election.
“They need to clearly tell Australians before the West Australian Senate by-election what the Abbott government has in store for the middle class of Australia,” he said.