Issues: It’s the economy stupid

With less than two weeks of campaigning left before Australia goes to the polls, many voters are yet to make up their minds who to vote for.

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For the Tang family in western Sydney there’s always plenty of differing opinions about which party should run the country. And the hip pocket is often front and centre in voters minds

Tony Tang is a retired taxi operator. He says Labor’s stimulus spending wins his vote.

But Tony’s wife Ann – a shipping company administrator and Coalition voter – is less forgiving of Labor’s stimulus program.

She resents Labor for spending surpluses built up by the Howard government – and is dubious about the proposed mining tax.

Renewable engineering student Joshua will vote Labor or the Greens.

Like many, he’s dismayed at the lack of serious debate on infrastructure and climate change.

But his sister, student Francesca, as yet undecided who she will vote for, says economics won’t figure in her choice. She’s more interested in health and education policies.

But polls say that for around 20 per cent of Australian voters, economic issues are front and centre – though exactly which issues matter most vary with the demographics.

Mortgagees dominate the country’s 50 most marginal seats, such as Flynn and Leichardt in Queensland – full of young families under mortgage stress.

In Sydney’s Bennelong, marginally held by Labor, shoppers seemed focussed on the Spending restraint and savings, which both major parties are vying for.

Photo-shop owner Michael Tse was a Labor voter and is now undecided.

Typically, small businesses are concerned with tax reform – and hope the Coalition will adopt much more of the Henry review than the Government did.

Business groups have their comprehensive wish-lists – such as addressing skills shortages and ending uncertainty on emission trading.

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