Federal election 2019: Sussan Ley keeps passion despite ‘nasty’ Farrer campaign

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Farrer MP Sussan Ley in Albury this week as part of the 2019 federal election campaign.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Farrer MP Sussan Ley in Albury this week as part of the 2019 federal election campaign.

SUSSAN Ley has held the seat of Farrer since 2001.

In that time the Liberal Party incumbent has seen the electorate’s boundaries change, she’s held three ministry portfolios and contested five elections which have all been won with relative ease.

But this year things feel different.

With large parts of the electorate in drought, and some irrigated communities facing zero water allocations, the once safe seat is now on a knife’s edge with independent Kevin Mack riding a wave of support leading to speculation the seat could fall.

The growing discontent in parts of the electorate has grown to anger and Ms Ley has been in the firing line.

She doesn’t want to make it about her: “It’s not about me. How I feel, that’s not important,” she says.

But it would be easy to understand if it was starting to take a toll, given the personal attacks she’s endured.

“I’ve found it unfortunately a rather negative, personal campaign,” she says.

“That happens in campaigns.

“I’ve heard people say things about me that shouldn’t be said in a respectful debate.

“I’ve heard of false rumours about me circulating. They’re not true but no one will say them to my face.

“I’ve had corflutes defaced with swastikas.

“I’ve had a brick thrown through the window of my office in Albury.

“A lot of nastiness on social media.

“So if you put all that together, yeah, it’s a pretty nasty campaign.

“One person in one of the regions, somebody reported to me that they said in a room full of people that ‘I just want to smash her face in’.”

Despite the vitriol, Ms Ley says her passion for Farrer – the vast electorate that spans 126,590 sq km and stretches along the Murray River from Albury to the South Australian border and includes Sunraysia towns like Wentworth, Gol Gol and Buronga – has not waned.

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