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Fadden candidates to be unveiled, as LNP target seat

Corruption allegations, made under parliamentary privilege, have been denied by Stuart Robert.

Corruption allegations, made under parliamentary privilege, have been denied by Stuart Robert. Photo: AAP

The Liberals say they expect to see a “dirty campaign” from Labor as the major parties battle in a by-election for the federal seat of Fadden.

The Australian Electoral Commission will on Friday conduct the ballot draw for the July 15 by-election, triggered by the resignation of controversial former minister Stuart Robert.

It is expected there could be as many as eight candidates on the ballot paper.

Visiting the Gold Coast seat on Friday, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton told reporters the rising cost of living would be a key issue in the by-election.

But Mr Dutton expected a tough fight, despite the seat being held by the LNP with a margin of 10.6 per cent.

“There’s a big fight on and Labor will run a dirty campaign,” Mr Dutton said.

“But this by-election is about electing a champion for your local community, somebody who can work hard.

“And it’s also about making sure that you deliver a message to the Labor government that they’re not doing well enough on cost of living issues, on crime, on congestion.”

The LNP is running Gold Coast councillor Cameron Caldwell, while Labor has re-endorsed its 2022 election candidate, nurse educator Letitia Del Fabbro.

The by-election comes as independent federal MPs call for ministers to be forced by law to publish the meetings they have with lobbyists, politicians and interest groups.

Kooyong MP Monique Ryan and Curtin MP Kate Chaney said media reports Mr Robert met with consulting firm Accenture to discuss an $111 million federal project when he was a cabinet minister showed the need for ministerial diaries to be published.

“The public should know who ministers are meeting and why, and they should know this as soon as is practicable,” they said.

“We should have known about this important meeting between former minister Robert and Accenture in 2021, not after the minister had left office and resigned.”

Labor in opposition argued for the publishing of ministerial diaries.

The government also raised questions in parliament on Thursday about whether Mr Robert was a “shadow director” of lobbying firm Synergy 360, which cabinet minister Bill Shorten said “sign(ed) up corporate clients with the promise of helping them navigate parliament and the bureaucracy and meet key decision-makers, including senior coalition ministers”.

Mr Robert has denied helping Synergy 360 assist its clients to secure government contracts.

– AAP

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