IT HAS been cast as the battle between The Nationals and independents in Mallee as voters head to the polls in the federal election today.
While there are 13 candidates standing – the most of any electorate in Australia – today’s battle is expected to come down to whether independents Jason Modica, Ray Kingston or Cecilia Moar can create history and steal the seat from Nationals candidate Anne Webster.
In her last pitch to voters yesterday, Dr Webster said she would work to support all aspects of the electorate if elected.
“If I am privileged and honoured to be elected by this electorate of Mallee then I will be working very hard to represent and lead Mallee into a positive future,” she said.
“To support all aspects of industry, business, community, health care, all aspects of life, to face squarely the challenges we have and to promote the interests of Mallee in federal parliament.”
Ms Moar said making politicians accountable would be a focus if she was elected.
“A crossbench of strong independents connected to their community will ensure best practice by our parliamentarians from now on,” she said.
Ms Moar said the campaign had thrown up a long list of priorities for the electorate including roads, infrastructure and regional investment linked to local education, training and job creation, water, ag visas, rural doctors and nurse practitioners, mental health and energy.
Mr Kingston was heartened by the support he had received and believed the Mallee electorate was finally in the national spotlight after being a safe seat for so long.
“We’re getting a bit of attention and are part of the national story,” he said.
As he has said throughout the campaign, Mr Kingston reiterated he was a “safe pair of hands” as a candidate given his track record of leadership and representation in local government as a former mayor of Yarriambiack Shire.
Mr Modica said the time was right for change as the electorate acknowledged deficiencies of the status quo.
“There’s so much more that can be done in regard to sustainability of agriculture, river health and even transitioning into being a renewable energy powerhouse,” he said.
“I’m really happy and proud with my team and my campaign and it’s really important when you stand up and be an independent that you can go out and represent the whole electorate and make sure you’re listening to everybody.”
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