10 March 2023

Libs/Nats fall towards end of the election draw for Monaro, Bega and Goulburn

| Claire Fenwicke
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Woman voting with dog

The ballot draws have been decided ahead of the 2023 NSW election. Photo: AEC.

Depending on what you believe about the correlation between the ballot draw and the number of votes in a state election, then the Liberal Nationals Party could have a battle ahead.

The ballot papers have been drawn for the Monaro, Bega and Goulburn electorates, with the Coalition appearing towards the end of the list for all areas for the Legislative Assembly.

Locals will cast their votes on 25 March, with seven options apiece in both the Bega and Monaro races, while five have stepped forward to fight for the seat of Goulburn.

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Newly-minted Labor Monaro candidate Steve Whan, who also used to represent the area before losing out to John Barilaro in 2011, lucked out with the number one spot on the draw.

Mr Whan was announced as the party’s candidate after original choice Terry Campese withdrew late last month, citing media scrutiny as the reason why he no longer wanted to run.

Independent Andrew Thaler will be second on the ballot, followed by Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Chris Pryor.

James Holgate is having another shot as part of the Sustainable Australia Party and comes in at number four, with the Greens’ Jennifer Goldie and Legalise Cannabis Party’s Josephine Tanson next on the list.

Nationals’ and current member Nichole Overall, the region’s first female representative who won last year’s by-election triggered by John Barilaro’s resignation, drew last.

Labor had a swing towards it during the Monaro by-election, which means Ms Overall could have a tighter race on her hands.

She won the seat in 2022 with 55.2 per cent of the vote after preferences were distributed.

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Both the Labor and Liberal candidates for the marginal Bega electorate have drawn spots at the end of the ballot.

The draw revealed two late entrants to the race – Nelligen’s Debra Abbott for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and Legalise Cannabis Party candidate Greg White, who has Queanbeyan West as his registered locality.

Despite their late announcements, the candidates have taken first and second spot respectively.

The Greens candidate Cathy Griff has secured third on the ballot, followed by Sustainable Australia Party’s Karin Geiselhart and independent Jeffrey Hawkins.

Liberal candidate and current Bega mayor Russell Fitzpatrick is sixth, hoping to win back the seat and continue former member Andrew Constance’s “legacy”.

Current member Dr Michael Holland has also drawn last spot, but has high hopes he’ll retain the seat for the Labor Party.

He’s the seat’s first Labor MP and also won due to a by-election, triggered by the retirement of longtime Liberal member Andrew Constance last year.

In the 2022 by-election he took the seat from Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs with 55.06 per cent of the vote after preferences were distributed.

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Labor has also taken out the top ballot spot for the seat of Goulburn, with Michael Pilbrow stepping forward to try and win the seat for the party.

Sustainable Australia Party’s Margaret Logan is second, followed by current Liberal representative Wendy Tuckerman.

Andrew Wood for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, and the Greens’ candidate Gregory Olsen, round out the list.

The seat has long been held by the Liberals, with Ms Tuckerman winning in 2019 after the previous Liberal member Pru Goward (who had held the seat since 2007) announced her retirement.

Ms Tuckerman retained the seat for her party with 53.55 per cent of the vote with preferences.

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