How do you make up your mind when you walk into the voting booth? On Saturday, the voters of Eden-Monaro will be choosing a replacement for Labor’s Dr Mike Kelly in an election that the nation will be watching, and About Regional is giving you a unique opportunity to hear from each of the candidates.
Would-be politicians and journalists play a game of cat-and-mouse around election time: the prospective pollies have a deluge of press releases and media opportunities to offer, while the journalists are often more interested in what the voters think.
This by-election is a case in point. There’s been a steady stream of ideas from the major parties, all of whom have the capacity to issue vast amounts of content and promises. It’s not so easy for minor parties and independents and there is a real risk of diversity being swamped by the major party machines.
Our solution has been to ask you what you think.
Our community poll had a strong response, with well over 300 votes and dozens more comments on what matters most to voters from across the huge electorate. The clear winner among the issues we nominated was climate change with 125 votes but health, COVID-19 recovery and regional economic issues also polled strongly.
But like Shelly Davison, many respondents flagged issues around trust.
“Integrity. None of our politicians have any. It would be nice to see some one day,” she wrote, while Andrew Stainlay’s biggest issue was “trusting politicians”.
For others, the diversity of the electorate itself was the biggest problem.
“The area is too large. The Tumut Adelong region is overlooked. This region should be returned to Riverina,” according to Beverley Dwyer.
“The two major-party candidates reside in a village of 4000 ppl at the extreme southern point of the electorate. The first of the two who show a modicum of interest in the good folk west of the Great Divide will get my vote. Stable electricity supply, comparable NBN and general comms capacity experienced on the Coast would be a starter. We, too, experienced catastrophic bushfire carnage – take a look and show an interest. There are 110,000 additional voters outside your Southern Comfort Zone,” Michael Lindsay said.
So now it’s time to hear from the politicians themselves, in a format that’s as fair and equal as we can make it.
Last week About Regional wrote to all 14 Eden-Monaro candidates, provided them with a link to our poll and asked them to submit a video of no more than three minutes, pitching directly to voters in response to the nominated issues.
Smartphones mean the technology is available to pretty much everybody and we’ve heard back from the majority of candidates major, minor and independent.
We’ll run those videos throughout the rest of this week and aggregate them together so that you can see what the candidates sound and look like, as well as what they think the most important ideas are.
About Regional is giving all Eden-Monaro candidates a chance to talk directly to the voters. Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs says that she's running on her record of strong community engagement. Here's why she thinks you should vote for her in the by-election.
Posted by About Regional on Monday, June 29, 2020
About Regional will cover the election on Saturday night. Our journalists across the region are asking voters what will decide the election for them, and we’ll also talk to the candidates whose preference flows are most likely to affect a close result.