Whispers over preferences will soon be shouts of joy, but only for one…


Jock Cheetham

Outside an electoral booth in Bathurst, in the Calare electorate.

As Calare residents queued to vote today in the NSW Central West they expressed dissatisfaction with politics, a lack of focus on regional areas and anonymous candidates. The incumbent Nationals MP, Andrew Gee, could be under threat from the anti-establishment trend that has been apparent in regional NSW in recent years. Preference flows and the strength of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers votes are key issues to watch as the votes being to tally.

Canowindra resident Adam Watt said he was “really disillusioned with politics at the moment as they seem to be putting their major focus on coastal and metropolitan areas and are putting us regional areas on the back-burner”.

Jock Cheetham
ALP candidate Jess Jennings at a polling booth in Bathurst, in the Calare electorate.

Mary Chittick, a Calare resident for thirty–five years, was unsure who to vote for but hopes that whoever wins will keep their promises. “What we have to do here in regional areas is vote for the people who are going to affect our lives because metropolitan politicians don’t understand at all,” she said. “They have forgotten about us.”

In George Street, Bathurst, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party candidate Sam Romano had family members handing out how to vote cards. Labor candidate Jess Jennings was greeting voters and remained optimistic he would finish a strong second and still in the fight for preferences to win the final two-party preferred vote. Finishing second gives Jennings hope of gaining ground on his Nationals rival, Mr Gee, because Romano’s Shooters preferences were (officially) guided towards Labor ahead of the Nationals.

Kate Kiernan
Voters at a booth in Calare, in NSW Central West, on election day.

Some voters fully support the National Party and Mr Gee.  Jan Kerr said that while there were some radicals in the election, she wanted to vote for someone who is economically “sensible” and Mr Gee had done a lot for Calare.