BALLARAT’s federal candidates have five days to convince voters that they are the best person to represent our region in Canberra.
As the campaign enters its final week, time is running out to spark an interest in the election, which has been largely missing so far.
Liberal candidate John Fitzgibbon yesterday relied on a possible change of government in his pitch to voters.
“If the Coalition is going to be successful, I don’t think that this electorate is best served by someone who is in opposition,” he said.
Labor MP Catherine King said that comment was “extraordinarily arrogant”.
“He has made no promises for Ballarat, he hasn’t campaigned in any way about what he would do for the community,” she said.
This week, Ms King said she would spend her time engaging with voters at prepoll stations and candidate debates.
She said a big focus from Labor would be showing what they believe a Tony Abbott-led government would mean for the region.
“We’ll be making sure that people understand that there is a potential for cuts to health and social services in our community,” she said.
Mr Fitzgibbon said he would be “out and about” talking to as many people as he could.
“I think people are still concerned about jobs and jobs growth, debt and deficit is really a big issue,” he said.
Greens candidate Stephanie Hodgins-May also wanted to get as much face-to-face contact with voters as possible.
She said Greens leader Christine Milne had been the only leader to visit Ballarat so far.
“She’s here not because it’s a marginal seat but because the Greens care about regional Australia,” she said.
The major parties denied Ballarat had been ignored during the campaign, with no visits yet from Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott or their deputies.
Ms King said government frontbenchers Mark Butler and Bill Shorten had been to Ballarat, showing that the region mattered to Labor.