Labor and Liberal candidates from Australia’s most marginalized constituency, Macquarie, delivered their final speeches to voters on Saturday morning.
Incumbent Labor MP Susan Templeman voted in her hometown of Winmalee, pushing issues of climate change, elderly care, childcare and health.
Liberal Party challenger Sarah Richards was in East Blaxland when voting began and centered her final speech on the government’s handling of the economy.
Ms Richards planned to vote in Glenbrook later today.
Both candidates said they felt hopeful and optimistic.
“I’m really hopeful that this election will not just see me go back to Macquarie, but will see an Albanian Labor government because this country really needs a change,” said Susan Templeman.
She urged undecided voters to consider a range of issues when casting their ballot.
“For me, this election is about a few things. It’s about finally taking action on climate change that’s going to make the place we live in easier to live in. It’s about having a government that takes vulnerability to that we are facing and therefore taking steps to prepare for the natural disasters that we know we are going to see,” she said.
“It is also a chance for us to improve care for the elderly so that people there are treated with respect; to have cheaper childcare and to allow women to come back and to work when they want; and to make sure in the meantime that people’s health is protected because we have a good health insurance system.”
Talk to Gazette in East Blaxland shortly after voting began, Sarah Richards said she felt “optimistic and hopeful that Macquarie would be ready to go Liberal again and of course keep the coalition in government”.
She urged undecided voters to think about the economy.
“Think about the economy and think about our future,” she said.
“I think over the past few weeks the Coalition has had a stronger message on the economy which of course equates to hip pockets and the cost of living for people…Labour policies on 151 seats in Australia show that we will be more indebted [if they are elected] and I think people have to consider that somebody has to pay for that.”
With the Macquarie seat comprising liberal-leaning Hawkesbury and Labour-leaning Blue Mountains, both candidates also had messages for rusty voters from the main parties that they would like to see their votes changed.
“My message to them is that you get a vote on this show and that’s who represents you and your local community for,” Ms Templeman said.
“I would encourage them [Liberal voters] put aside the eternal patterns and take a chance, and know that in three years, if they don’t like what I’m doing, or what any government is doing, that’s when they’ll have a another chance to have their say.”
Sarah Richards has asked Labor voters to consider backing the Morrison government.
“Please consider it. You have a very difficult choice before you this time. I think the choices couldn’t be further apart. The choice of a government that knows what it’s doing and that we got through a pandemic, [and] has a plan to move forward, versus a Leader of the Opposition who frankly doesn’t even know his own policies… It’s a choice I’d like them to think deeply about,” said she declared.
Macquarie’s seat is the most marginal in the country, with Labor’s Susan Templeman holding it by a margin of 0.2%.