Has Sussan Ley done enough to convince the electorate she and the Coalition are moving the country in the right direction or will independent Kevin Mack ride the wave of backlash experienced at the NSW state election?
Those questions will be answered this Saturday, when Farrer voters and fellow Australians head to the polls for what is tipped to be a ‘closer-than-expected’ election.
The seat has been touted as a two horse race between Ms Ley and Mr Mack, with one lingering policy dominating the election — water.
Farrer wasn’t considered much of a seat to watch at the start of the election campaign, however in recent weeks has drawn plenty of wide spread national media attention as the seat has the potential to decided the winning party.
Both candidates say they have ‘‘no idea’’ how the vote will swing, however Mr Mack said he believes there will be a swing against his rival.
‘‘I think we’ve done a lot of work and we’ve put the seat in doubt at this point, but we’ll have to see what happens,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s very hard to get a line on it; the poll will be the final decision.’’
Ms Ley admitted it will be ‘‘very tight’’, and conceded she is the ‘underdog’ at the moment.
‘‘I think it’ll be close; the bookies have me behind at the moment. If I was a betting person I probably wouldn’t be putting a bet on this time,’’ she said.
‘‘I’m getting a very good feeling out on the ground about the Prime Minister and a good response about my explanations for the work I’ve done on water and plan for Murray Darling Basin moving forward.’’
Farrer is expected to come down to preferences and it’s Ms Ley who might have the upper edge with the United Australia Party (UAP) electing to preference the Liberal candidate ahead of Mr Mack.
She said the decision to preference each other is national agreement between the two parties.
‘‘It’s not a local decision, it’s a national decision. It’s designed to ensure we don’t have the confusing muddle of independents in the Senate with radically different agendas from us.
‘‘I’m comfortable with listing the UAP as number two because their candidate (Mike Rose) is a local Farrer person and is passionate about water like me,’’ Ms Ley said.
Labor’s Kieran Drabsch has the Greens second and has preferenced Mr Mack third. But in an extraordinary move, the Greens have decided to preference Mr Mack ahead of Labor in Farrer.
Mr Mack has not preferenced anyone on his how to vote card.
He also dismissed claims a vote for him is a vote for Labor or the Greens, as is suggested by the newly formed ‘Irrigators 4 Farrer’ group and its spokesperson Denis Tinkler.
‘‘Making preference deals with the major parties puts people offside, and I’m an independent. Contrary to what Irrigators 4 Farrer are perpetrating, I’m not a Labor or Green but an independent voice for Farrer.
‘‘I didn’t speak to either of those candidates about preferences because I had nothing to offer them. That’s the strategy Labor and The Greens want to run and I don’t have control over that.’’