Kyabram Free Press

Coalition ‘on the run’: independen­t

- By Rohan Aldous

Nicholls voters started pre-polling yesterday as the high-intensity battle for the Nationals-held federal seat — being contested by 11 candidates — is sent into overdrive.

Independen­t candidate Rob Priestly has claimed his coalition opponents are on the run and are calling in the big guns to support their campaign to keep the seat under coalition rule after the retirement of Damian Drum.

Pre-polling in the Nicholls electorate started Monday, at six venues, including St Mary’s Parish Centre at 224-230 Anstruther St. It will be open from 8am until 8pm from Monday until Friday, May 13 — then from 9am until 4pm on Saturday, May 14.

It will also be open from 8am to 8pm from May 16 to 19 and from 8am to 8pm on Friday, May 20, before election day on May 21.

Mr Priestly said the campaign was now in full flight and he wasn’t sure if candidates could “go any harder’.’

He said the positive feedback he had received from the community had steeled him for the final stages of a campaign he started in October last year.

“I’ve done a lot of events in the last week and the feeling is definitely positive,” he said.

“I have also noticed that there is a new focus on attacking the role of independen­ts in government, through letterbox drops.”

He said the past few weeks had demonstrat­ed the value of supporting an independen­t MP.

“The massive community support behind our campaign has completely changed the way Canberra is looking at our region,” he said.

“We’ve had more visits from government ministers in the past month than we’ve had in years, and announceme­nts on doctor training and funding for sporting facilities.

“There is no way this would have happened if the major parties were cruising to another easy win in Nicholls. We’re making a real difference already.”

Mr Priestly also cited this week’s Victorian budget splurge on Shepparton as evidence of the value of having an independen­t in parliament.

“The Victorian state seat of Shepparton is held by an independen­t, and the state budget delivered half a billion of investment for that seat, more than any other region in the state. It’s a big message for our smaller towns across the electorate that the independen­t strategy works.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia