Acting prime minister Warren Truss has dismissed claims Tony Abbott isn’t supporting Campbell Newman, saying the Queensland premier doesn’t need federal help to win this month’s election.
While federal Labor leader Bill Shorten has been a notable presence alongside Queensland opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk in the early days of this month’s election campaign, it’s unclear whether Mr Abbott will join Mr Newman on the hustings.
National Party leader Mr Truss has taken on the prime minister’s office for the week with Mr Abbott on leave.
A Queenslander himself, Mr Truss was on the election trail on Monday, joining treasurer Tim Nicholls to announce a $74 million road project on the Gold Coast.
Mr Truss said criticising the prime minister for not yet appearing alongside Mr Newman was off the mark given the other events, nationally and internationally, with which Mr Abbott has been dealing.
He added that, in his opinion, Mr Abbott’s presence wasn’t really necessary during a state campaign anyway.
“I’ve got no doubt that when there are important things for the prime minister to do, that he’ll be in Queensland,” Mr Truss said.
“Premier Newman doesn’t need someone else to hold his hand. He’s an experienced premier. It’s his election.
“It’s an election for Queensland and he doesn’t need someone from the southern states to come up and hold his hand to win this election. He’ll win it on his own merits.”
Mr Truss said Queensland would decide this election on which party they felt was best equipped to lead the state.
He claimed Mr Newman’s government had proven its credentials during its first term of office.
“He inherited a state economy that was in utter disarray. The most debt of any in the country which is hugely embarrassing for a wealthy state like Queensland,” he said.
“It’s taken strong leadership and this election is about who can provide strong leadership for the state of Queensland.”