Braddon by-election down to the wire

A outspoken fisherman with a disdain for major political parties may prove the deciding factor microsoft 98 349 exams in the knife-edge Braddon by-election.

Voters in northwest Tasmania head to the polls on Saturday for one of five by-elections across the country sparked by dual-citizenship resignations.

Along with Longman in Queensland, Braddon is expected to be a close fight.

The Liberals’ Brett Whiteley is trying to stop Labor’s Justine Keay returning to parliament.

Ms Keay won the seat in 2016 but was forced to step down in May when it was revealed she didn’t renounce her British citizenship.

Various polls have Ms Keay and Mr Whiteley neck-and-neck, or either of the two in front.

Preferences got Ms Keay across the line two years ago, a situation that could repeat.

She may have to rely on a flow from independent Craig Garland, who runs heavily on protecting local fisheries, and the Greens.

Mr Garland, who polled nearly 2000 votes at the recent state election, rose to prominence during the campaign when it was revealed he pleaded guilty to assault two decades ago over a scuffle involving an off-duty police officer.

Malcolm Turnbull and Senator Eric Abetz launched a scathing attack in an attempt to discredit Mr Garland, who said he was protecting a mate.

He retorted, telling media the major parties are in for a “hell of a shock” at the ballot box.

Both the Liberals and Labor have left no stone unturned during a drawn out campaign.

Bill Shorten made nine often multiple-day visits to Braddon, outscoring the prime minister.

Labor has run heavily on health and education, pledging to reduce hospital waiting lists.

“It doesn’t matter what door I go to in any of the towns in the northwest, someone knows someone who is waiting for elective surgery,” Ms Keay said in her hometown Devonport on Thursday.

The Liberals, meanwhile, have focused on job creation and business investment and the line that only Mr Whiteley can deliver from government.

“Any other candidate is a risk. The worst risk of course is of Labor and the Greens,” Mr Turnbull said.

One of the candidates, Bruno Strangio from the Australian People’s Party, is unlikely to be eligible to sit in parliament after being declared bankrupt a decade ago.

More than 8000 people have voted early in the seat that has gone Labor-Liberal-Labor at the past three elections.


19 September 2018


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