Election Time

Photo: AEC

Gregor Mactaggart

GIPPSLAND voters will go to the polls on May 21 after the Federal Election was called by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday.

Mr Morrison visited Governor-General David Hurley to dissolve the Parliament and launch the start of a 41-day campaign.

“This election is a choice between a strong economy and a Labor opposition that would weaken it,” Mr Morrison said.

“It’s a choice between an economic recovery that is leading the world and a Labor opposition that would weaken it and risk it.”

Labor needs to pick up eight votes on its current total of 68 to gain government and deliver a new Prime Minister in Anthony Albanese

“I won’t go missing when the going gets tough,” Mr Albanese said.

Polling has the Liberal-National Coalition as the outsider, with Roy Morgan showing a 57-43 gap in favour of Labor on a two-party preferred basis.

One of the Coalition’s safest seats is here in Gippsland, which has been held by the Nationals for 99 years.

Darren Chester polled 66.67 per cent on a two-party preferred basis at the 2019 federal election.

Mr Chester, who has been in Federal Parliament since 2008, confirmed on Sunday he was ready for another election campaign.

“I want to use my experience as your local Member of Parliament to keep building a safer, stronger, fairer Gippsland, where everyone can get ahead,” Mr Chester said.

“I have a proven record of fighting for our region to deliver the services and infrastructure we need.

“By working with the community, I’ve been able to deliver record funding for large and small projects, major improvements to local services, bushfire recovery grants and given our region a strong voice on local and national issues.

“My plan is to keep working, to make our community the best place in regional Australia to live, work, visit and raise a family.

“I love Gippsland and I’m proud to have raised my family in our beautiful part of the world.

“We need to keep putting locals first, supporting one another, and building an even better Gippsland.”

As it stands, Mr Chester has three rivals during this election battle.

Traralgon resident Jannette Langley was pre-selected by Labor in December last year and knows she faces a task to build on a primary vote of 23.2 per cent attracted by Antoinette Holm at the 2019 election.

“This seat is a bit daunting as Darren Chester has held it for so long, but people in Gippsland are telling me they want a new ear to tell things to and a new voice from a united party,” Ms Langley said when she was announced as Labor’s contender in late 2021.

Marjorie Thorpe will fly the flag for the Greens, which polled 6.04 per cent at the 2019 election.

“In Gippsland we need better access to better services like healthcare and education, and need urgent action to tackle the climate crisis,” Ms Thorpe said.

Rosedale’s Gregory Forster is the candidate for the United Australia Party, which polled 4.40 per cent at the 2019 election, but is backed by billionaire Clive Palmer.

“It is time for representation in parliament by one of the people, for the people,” Mr Forster said.

Greg Hansford is the One Nation candidate. The party did not run a Gippsland candidate at the last election.

“One Nation policies on supporting homegrown jobs, manufacturing, apprenticeships, and bringing back Australian values are the future this great nation needs,” Greg Hansford said.

Article updated to include the One Nation candidate.