Battle for Bass erupts in war of words

THE federal seat of Bass looks like it could again be a key battleground between the two major parties after tensions between Bass Labor MHR Geoff Lyons and Liberal candidate Andrew Nikolic emerged last week.

Mr Lyons attacked his main competition for the next election, due in 2014, during a speech on Thursday informing federal Parliament about government investments in Bass, labelling Mr Nikolic a fly-in candidate.

He said Mr Nikolic had falsely claimed credit for a $2.5-million pledge for silt removal in the Tamar River as the pledge was negotiated by former Bass Liberal candidate, Steve Titmus, in the 2010 federal election campaign.

''We have committed $11.5 million for flood levees and I remain committed to the long-term health of the Tamar River,'' Mr Lyons said.

''The new fly-in candidate for Bass, a bureaucrat from Canberra, claims credit for the $2.5 million that was negotiated by Steve Titmus. Compare this to the $11.5 million from Labor.''

Mr Nikolic said Mr Lyons had tried to confuse levee money with silt money.

The Liberal candidate said Mr Lyons had chosen to attack him in Parliament, knowing that he could not respond.

He objected to being called a fly-in candidate, saying he had owned a Riverside home for 26 years.

Mr Nikolic said his job at the Defence Department had, until last year, required him to work out of Tasmania.

He said he had to fight to get the Coalition to commit $2.5 million for silt removal in the Bass package for the next election.

''Political promises are not automatically forwarded to subsequent elections,'' he said.

Mr Nikolic was pre-selected by the Liberal Party three years out from the next federal election in June to pry Bass from Mr Lyons.

The fight for Braddon is also being prepared early with three prospective candidates vying for pre-selection by the Liberals.

Devonport woman Jacqui Lambie was the third person to confirm interest in taking the federal seat, joining North Motton farmer Glynn Williams and Devonport real estate agent Michael Burr.

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