‘Something’s got to give’: Former PM criticises Minns ahead of election – Sky News Australia

‘Something’s got to give’: Former PM criticises Minns ahead of election - Sky News Australia

Former prime minister John Howard has taken aim at NSW Labor leader Chris Minns ahead of the state election on Saturday. 

If Labor leader Chris Minns wins over voters in the state and succeeds Premier Dominic Perrottet, there won’t be a Liberal government in power on the Australian mainland. 

Speaking to Sky News Australia’s Chris Kenny, Mr Howard said he “hopes” the Coalition stays in government but admitted it’s going to be “very tight”. 

“It’s very hard after you’ve been in power for 12 years to get re-elected again, but I think the advantage he (Perrottet) has, is that he’s won the fundamental debate on economic management,” he said on Thursday night. 

Mr Howard went on to criticise Mr Minns’ major election pitch to lift the cap on public sector wages, which he says impacts 40 per cent of the state’s budget. 

“If you’re promising hundreds of thousands of public sector employees that you’re going to lift their wages, you’ve got to say what that’s going to cost and you’ve got to say where the money’s coming from,” he said. 

The former prime minister argued that Mr Minns’ failure to outline how he will pay for his promises has led to an “enormous hole in his economic credibility.”

“When he (Minns) put his costings in, he put zero beside the cost of lifting the cap, and when taxed on that, he said ‘oh well I’ll find savings elsewhere, maybe in infrastructure’,” Mr Howard added.  

NSW Labor triumphs at People's Forum debate

“Even Perottet’s fiercest critics admit infrastructure spending by the Coalition in this state has been fantastic over the last few years.

“Something’s got to give…you’ve got all this extra expenditure both in the state and federal level, and in the end, it’s got to be paid for.

“So, the first responsibility on anybody, particularly somebody who wants to be the Premier of the largest state in Australia, is to actually say where the money is coming from, and he hasn’t done that.”

Mr Howard, who served as prime minister from 1996 to 2007 and represented the Liberal Party, said there are “always separate explanations” as to why Liberal leaders across the country have lost power over the years. 

‘Would be happy to have either’: Perrottet and Minns' calibre is ‘so far above’ Victoria

When asked if he thought the Liberal Party has been “punished for pandemic politics”, Mr Howard said: “I think the pandemic was part of it…but I think an even greater factor was the apparent factionalism and disunity in the Liberal party.”

“Parties that demonstrate division and factionalism, particularly in government are rarely rewarded,” he added. 

Mr Howard’s comments come after Mr Minns defeated the Premier in the final election debate on Wednesday night. 

The Premier and Opposition Leader went head-to-head at the Sky News/The Daily Telegraph People’s Forum where both leaders faced a series of tough questions from 100 undecided voters in Penrith, chosen by Q&A Market Research.

The Opposition Leader scored a major win securing almost half of the undecided voters at the People’s Forum.

Mr Minns’ pitch to the state, which focuses on healthcare and the government’s privatisation record, won him 48 per cent of the voters.

Only 32 per cent of the 100 undecided thought the Premier was the most impressive leader, while 20 per cent remain on the fence.

The results come as pre-election polls continue to show the race is tightening with Labor needing to gain nine seats to form a majority government and as few as four to lead the Coalition and put it in the best position in the event of a hung parliament.

During the election campaign, the Premier has been spruiking his government’s “long-term economic plan” and a suite of projects in his “infrastructure pipeline”.

Mr Minns has sharpened his focus on the state’s healthcare system, pledging to lift the public sector wage cap in a bid to lure and retain critical workers across public hospitals, schools and emergency services.

Source: skynews.com.au

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