While Sunday’s ‘Meet the Candidates’ forum in Deniliquin was a mostly serious affair, there were a couple of lighter moments.
The four Murray by-election candidates in attendance — The Nationals’ Austin Evans, Shooters Fishers and Farmers’ Helen Dalton, and Independents Brian Mills and Peter Robinson — were each given five minutes to address what was a smallish crowd of about 45 people followed by questions from the floor.
One of the questioners, after rattling off a long list of issues, then queried Mr Evans as to ‘‘what’s going to change?’’ if The Nationals are re-elected.
‘‘With regards to what?’’ Mr Evans responded.
‘‘Everything!’’ was the stern response from the questioner which drew some laughs and cheers.
New Edward River Council mayor Norm Brennan chaired the forum, and in the absence of two candidates — Country Labor’s Michael Kidd and Greens’ Ray Goodlass — Mr Brennan read an address of their behalf.
Not one to be known for green ideologies, Mr Brennan light-heartedly noted after reading Mr Goodlass’s statement: ‘‘That was very difficult for me to read.’’
‘‘Well, you were very convincing!’’ yelled someone from the floor.
It was also noted that Mr Brennan was the only Edward River councillor at the event, however there were three unsuccessful candidates in attendance from the recent local government election, one of them being by-election hopeful Peter Robinson.
■ The Pastoral Times issued its own questions to each of the Murray candidates. Five of the six responded - see pages 18 and 19.
Election campaign signs for Country Labor candidate Michael Kidd have been confiscated by Edward River Council.
Mayor Norm Brennan confirmed council staff removed the signs Mr Kidd had placed in the Deniliquin central business district due to their ‘‘inappropriate’’ placement.
Some of the signs were pinned on give way signs at almost eye level on two of the CBD’s busiest roundabouts in the lead up to the NSW Labour Day long weekend, which is Deniliquin Ute Muster weekend.
Cr Brennan said as well as being a safety hazard, Mr Kidd or Country Labor did not seek council permission.
Some signs were also placed on private property, and Cr Brennan said there were also concerns that permission was not sought for these either.
‘‘We have his signs at the council office if Mr Kidd wants them back,’’ Cr Brennan said.
Try, try again
There are a coupe of familiar faces stepping up to the plate in this weekend’s Murray by-election, with both Helen Dalton and Brian Mills unsuccessfully challenging Adrian Piccoli in the 2015 state election.
Mrs Dalton has challenged Mr Piccoli twice, first unsuccessfully seeking The Nationals’ pre-selection before registering as an Independent.
Mrs Dalton did make her mark at that election, however. The swing against The Nationals that year was -22.3 per cent, with 18.2 per cent going to Mrs Dalton. At the same election, Mr Mills polled 3.8 per cent of the vote.
Mr Piccoli still won convincingly though, with 55.5 per cent of the vote.
Mr Mills has also had a crack at representing the region at a federal level. He stood against incumbent Member for Farrer Sussan Ley at the 2016 election, polling 4.3 per cent.
Lady of The Land
With the local Speak Up campaign and the NSW Farmers’ Association taking a huge interest in the Murray by-election, agricultural and water management issues are sure to play a key role in the result.
And if you go by the potential voting habits of readers of The Land newspaper, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party will get the nod.
In a readers’ poll on its website, The Land asked people to indicate who they would vote for in the Murray by-election.
Helen Dalton received 70.24 per cent of the reader votes.
Austin Evans polled next highest in the survey, with 16.66 per cent, followed by 10.14 per cent for Michael Kidd, 1.43 per cent for Ray Goodlass, 1.15 per cent for Peter Robinson and 0.37 per cent for Brian Mills.
Two horse race
Betting agency Sportsbet has released odds for tomorrow’s NSW Murray by-election.
It rates The Nationals as clear favourite to retain the seat, but with the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party posing a real threat.
Markets yesterday, courtesy of sportsbet.com.au, were:
$1.72 – Austin Evans (National); $2.10 – Helen Dalton (Shooters Fishers and Farmers); $15 – Peter Robinson (Independent); $26 – Michael Kidd (Country Labor); $34 – Brian Mills (Independent); $67 – Ray Goodlass (Greens).