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Battle for Blair in great debate as Ipswich becomes the centrepiece of the the Federal election

 
POLITICAL opponents Shayne Neumann and Neil Zabel agree on one thing – they need to follow the lead of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition leader Tony Abbott and have a debate before the election.
 
Mr Neumann said he would be happy to debate his Liberal National Party rival ahead of the August 21 poll.
 
"Any time, anywhere, any place," he said.
 
"I'd look forward to it because I think my opponent Neil Zabel has many questions to answer.
 
"Why would his party stop construction on the Ipswich Motorway? That's the number one question I want to ask him."
 
Mr Zabel was quick to fire back with a question of his own.
 
"Why has Mr Neumann allowed the national debt to grow at such a rapid rate?" he said.
 
Mr Zabel said he would welcome a local debate between the two major parties.
 
"You name the time and place and I'm there," he said.
 
Ms Gillard won Sunday night's leaders' debate by a 63 to 37 per cent margin, according to the Channel Nine worm that monitored audience reaction.
 
Not surprisingly, Mr Neumann also awarded the debate to the Labor Party leader.
 
"The worm doesn't lie. Julia clearly won the debate, while Tony Abbott spent the entire time whinging," he said.
 
Mr Zabel disagreed, saying Ms Gillard once again put style over substance, while Mr Abbott was focused on the future.
 
"Sunday night's debate was a decisive moment in the campaign. It was the first and only opportunity for the electorate to see the leaders go head to head and outline in detail their plans for Australia," he said.
 
"Julia Gillard put on a show to get through the election, but she failed to persuade Australians that she is any different to former PM Kevin Rudd or that Labor's approach has changed.
 
"Tony Abbott was the only leader to set out clear and precise commitments for the future. He addressed all the major issues; the economy, cost of living pressures on families, illegal boats, Labor's mining tax and the environment."