Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Braddon Liberal candidate Gavin Pearce hunt for votes on Saturday. Picture: Chris Kidd
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Braddon Liberal candidate Gavin Pearce hunt for votes on Saturday. Picture: Chris Kidd

PM’s visit boosts Liberal Braddon hopeful

 

LIBERAL Braddon hopeful and beef farmer Gavin Pearce says he's left no stone unturned in his bid to take the marginal North-West Tasmania seat.

In a sign of the seat's importance to the coalition's chances, Mr Pearce was on Saturday morning flanked by Scott Morrison and Premier Will Hodgman at a school polling both in Ulverstone.

"We've absolutely done all we can do. It's been a hard-fought campaign," Mr Pearce said.

Mr Pearce made a final pitch to voters, labelling the Apple Isle the "turnaround state" under Liberal federal and state governments.

Labor's Justine Keay holds Braddon on a slim margin of 1.7 per cent. She fired a shot at her main rival when asked if she was disappointed Bill Shorten didn't make an election-day trip to Tasmania.

"Bill has been here during this campaign a number of times," she said before voting in East Devonport.

"The comments I get is that no one has really heard Gavin Pearce talk through this campaign.

"He probably needed that boost (Morrison's visit) because quite frankly no one really knows who he is."

Ms Keay won a by-election in July after being caught up in the dual citizenship saga, but was helped across the line by preferences from independent and fishing advocate Craig Garland.

But that won't happen this poll, with Mr Garland running for a Senate spot.

"I've defeated the Liberal candidate twice in two years. To do it a third time in three years would be a good feat for me," Ms Keay said.

"(I'm) quietly confident but also very nervous. What I'm hearing is that people are wanting a change and I'm hoping that will translate into votes for Labor."

Mr Pearce, a former soldier and first-time candidate, said this election was a "different matter" to the by-election and would hopefully produce a different result.

Braddon, one of two volatile seats in Tasmania's north along with Bass to its east, has gone Labor-Liberal-Labor at the past three federal polls.

News Corp Australia


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