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DRIVING THE ECONOMY - MANAGING THE FUTURE
State treasurer Troy Buswell and Labor’s shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt have agreed to an exclusive face-to-face election debate, to be hosted by WA Business News in the final fortnight of the campaign.
The two men, who are both seen as potential future leaders of their respective parties, have agreed to the live debate on Tuesday 26 February. The debate will be moderated by WA Business News columnist and experienced political commentator Peter Kennedy.
With management of the state’s finances shaping as a key issue in the election, the debate will give the two men an opportunity to present their credentials and critique each other. They have already engaged in a spirited debate over their respective spending promises. Just before Christmas, when releasing the mid-year financial review, Mr Buswell said Labor has “already dug a big budget black hole through making promises to the electorate that the State cannot afford. This mid-year review sets the financial parameters within which the election campaign will be fought. Labor’s promises have already broken the bank,” Mr Buswell said.
Mr Wyatt has returned fire, last week accusing the state government of having unfunded promises of “more than $5 billion”. "They have made promises without any regard to financial responsibility," Mr Wyatt said.
The 46-year old Mr Buswell is an economics graduate from the University of WA, and winner of the W.G. Salter memorial prize in economics.
Mr Wyatt, aged 38 years, is also well-trained in the field, having completed a masters degree at the London School of Economics after gaining a law degree at UWA.
The ‘treasury’ debate will be held one week after premier Colin Barnett and Labor leader Mark McGowan have their only debate of the election campaign. Mr McGowan challenged the premier to have three debates but this was rejected last week by Mr Barnett.