Labor candidate David Ewings was back in Armidale on Friday alongside MP Matt Thistlethwaite for the New England by-election ballot draw.
While Independent candidate Rob Taber rolled up on a steam train, Mr Ewings was busy trying to derail the community’s confidence in Barnaby Joyce.
Speaking from Central Park, Mr Ewings slammed the former Deputy Prime Minister’s apparent failure to help families in the electorate who have been impacted by the alleged malpractice of Australia’s big four banks.
“We need a Royal Commission to get to the bottom of this institutionalised malpractice, the bad treatment of customers (and) predatory lending,” Mr Ewings said.
Mr Ewings said he met with a local family on Friday who had previously approached Mr Joyce regarding their own mistreatment – and were now turning to Labor for help.
“His (Joyce’s) response is he’d do the ‘mirror act’ on it … that he’d look into it,” he said.
“That’s not good enough. The people in this area and people around Australia want a banking Royal Commission.”
But Mr Joyce said so far Labor had failed to pitch any ideas for Armidale.
“What is your plan for Armidale? What’s your plan to take us from 28,000 (people) to 50,000?” Mr Joyce said.
“Why is the only promise the Labor Party makes is to make us poorer?
“Labor Party come and say ‘we’re going to make you poorer, we’re going to make you smaller and we want you to vote for us’.
“They haven’t really come up with any policy for Armidale – not one.”
Mr Thistlethwaite, Shadow Minister for the Treasury, said a Royal Commission into the nation’s big banks was of direct interest to people in the New England.
“Plenty of rural and regional towns across Australia have been done over by the big four banks,” he said.
“What’s Barnaby Joyce’s suggestion? Well, he doesn’t support a Royal Commission.
“He thinks the regulation that the government has put in place is enough.
“The New England community who have been ripped off by the big banks deserves better.
“But Joyce would rather give a $65 billion tax cut to big business and the banks, than get to the bottom of the scandals and rip-offs.
“The only way that can happen is through a banking Royal Commission.
“Only Labor will continue to fight for a banking Royal Commission.”
Fairfax Media contacted Mr Joyce regarding his current position on the banking Royal Commission matter and are awaiting a response.