New electoral boundaries and the shock retirement of incumbent Liberal MP Bob Baldwin has left the race for the seat of Paterson wide open.
New boundaries for the seat include places that were formerly part of the Labor-held electorate of Hunter, such as Maitland and towns to the city’s west, like Kurri Kurri.
The seat has lost Mid-North-Coast towns such as Forster-Tuncurry to the electorate of Lyne. In Paterson, seven candidates will fight to represent the seat in the next term of government.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party candidate Graham Burston has drawn number one spot on the ballot, and is hoping for a strong result for himself and his brother Brian – the party’s number one NSW Senate candidate.
Rise Up Australia Party hopeful Brian Clare is advocating for parliamentary reform – to introduce an online citizens’ referendum for big issues. He also wants to boost job growth, bring in a National Service patrol scheme for people out of work and supports his party’s anti-multicultural stance.
Greens candidate John Brown, a former Maitland councillor, is focused on helping Paterson’s economy move towards the renewable energy sector, and away from a reliance on the mining industry.
Labor candidate Meryl Swanson, local radio personality and former staffer for Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon, has used the campaign to focus on issues such as Maitland’s high youth unemployment rate, the need for better broadband service and flooding issues at Testers Hollow.
She has promised to hold a round-table meeting with community leaders to develop strategies to fight unemployment, if elected, and has committed to a Shorten government delivering $10 million to kick-start work to flood-proof the road at Testers Hollow.
Citizens Electoral Council candidate Peter Davis has advocated for reform of the financial and banking sector. He also wants a ring road to be built around Australia, as well as the introduction of high speed rail and shipping to boost the export market.
Liberal candidate Karen Howard was selected after the resignation of incumbent MP Bob Baldwin. Ms Howard, who contested the 2015 state election in Newcastle, has spent the federal campaign talking about the merits of the Coalition’s NBN roll-out and pledging upgrades for community facilities such as Kurri Kurri Sportsground.
She has announced that a re-elected Coalition government would spend $15 million to kick-start work at Testers Hollow.
Christian Democratic Party Fred Nile Group candidate Peter Arena drew the last place on the ballot, but said voters would be looking for his party’s name.
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