Day 26: Veterans, tax and foreign policy

The major parties tussled over foreign policy and veteran’s affairs, as Opposition Leader Tony Abbott became the next victim of serial campaign distracter, Mark Latham.

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Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and his counterpart Julie Bishop debated their respective parties’ stance on foreign affairs at the National Press Club in Canberra.

During the debate, Mr Smith admitted he did not know if WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was being investigated for criminal conduct over leaked documents relating to unreported deaths in Afghanistan.

Mr Abbott promised every PAYE taxpayer would receive a receipt outlining how their tax money is being spent by the government. They would also be given details on government debt.

“Taxpayers have a right to know exactly how their money is being spent and this will force the government to be more accountable to taxpayers who rightly feel they are being ripped off,” Mr Abbott says.

The one-upmanship over planned broadband networks continued, with Labor Communications Minister Stephen Conroy saying the National Broadband Network could be ten times faster than originally thought.

Senator Conroy says this faster speed was “truly about future-proofing” the nation.

Blacktown boy Bob Brown rued his exclusion from the Rooty Hill community forum, saying the voters of western Sydney were shortchanged by the lack of focus on big issues like climate change.

Just before announcing a $45.6 million assistance program for veterans and their families, Liberal leader Tony Abbott was accosted by former Labor leader turned 60 Minute journalist, Mark Latham.

Mr Latham, who had ambushed Prime Minister Julia Gillard less than a week ago in Brisbane, confronted Mr Abbott on the Coalition’s migration plans, and on Mr Abbott’s role in the involvement of Pauline Hanson in 2003.

Veterans at Penrith RSL were less than impressed by Mr Latham’s tactics, accusing him of hogging the limelight.

Tell us whether or not you think Mark Latham is undermining Labor’s election campaign here.

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