Eden-Monaro MP Dr Mike Kelly isn’t getting carried away by the potential split in the conservative vote due to both the Liberals and Nationals entering candidates for the seat.
The Nationals recently announced Sophie Wade as their candidate, meaning there will be a three-cornered contest between herself, the Liberals’ Dr Fiona Kotvojs and Dr Kelly.
Dr Kelly believes that people and not parties will play a more important role in the outcome for the next election, and is playing down the significance of the possible division of conservative loyalties.
“I think people will be paying more attention to who the candidate is, and what they are prepared to do for the electorate,” he said.
“Joe McGirr got up in Wagga because people knew and trusted him.”
He says he won’t be relying on the split vote to retain the seat.
“I’m going to count on the intelligence of the people of the Eden Monaro electorate,” he said.
“I have worked as hard if not harder than any other member for this seat and I will happily stand on my record. Going with anyone else would be taking a punt.”
However, he did say that the fact that the Liberals and Nationals are both entering candidates was a sign of the relationship between the parties deteriorating over the past ten years.
“It is a bad time for the Nationals to be running because of the complete dissatisfaction with the party at national and state level,” he said.
“You look at what has happened in the by elections; there’s a lot of good reason for that. When I travel to places like Wagga and Cootamundra the degree of anger is palpable. People feel that the Nationals are not their voice any more, that they are not fighting for the issues that are important to them.
“I have spoken to many farmers who said we needed a banking Royal Commission, but the Nationals, with the exception of (John) Wacker Williams didn’t support it, and this made them angry.
Sophie Wade has campaigned for the duplication of the Barton Highway, but she has signed up for a team that aren’t fully committed to doing it.”
Meanwhile, Liberal Eden-Monaro candidate Dr Fiona Kotvojs is stressing the importance of having a Liberal member in the seat.
“Unfortunately our community hasn’t been well served in this term of Parliament, and I believe that only a Liberal here in Eden-Monaro will deliver investment in regional infrastructure to provide new job opportunities, support for our local economy and businesses, record finding for local schools and education and guaranteed services for health and hospitals,” she said.
“Over the past couple of months I’ve been out and about hearing from residents across this great region. They’re concerned about the cost of electricity, the need for better infrastructure, improvements in regional telecommunications and support for local small businesses and our regional economy.
“I’m running to be part of the Morrison Liberal Team because I want to give back to this community, and be a strong local voice working alongside the community to address concerns and see our community prosper.
“The alternative of voting for Labor and Bill Shorten would impose more than $200 billion in new taxes, meaning local families, businesses and seniors would be left to foot the bill.
“I look forward to continuing to work hard over the next few months, to meeting as many locals as possible, hearing from them about what’s important, and being a strong local voice.”