AFTER months of shadow boxing in our area, the three candidates seeking your vote for the seat of Cowper have jumped from the box after Prime Minister Scott Morrison this morning set a May 18 date for the Federal Election.
Opinion polls are pointing to the Liberal-National Coalition losing power to Labor leader Bill Shorten's team after six years in office.
But Mr Morrison said there was much at stake at the election and only the Coalition could deliver a strong economy and the dividends of that.
"It's taken us more than five years to turn around Labor's budget mess," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra this morning.
Mr Shorten told reporters on his morning run in Melbourne: "I'm ready for the election, I'm ready for government," he said.
Neither major party is expected to win majority control of the Senate, with half of the 76-seat upper house up for grabs.
Locally, the contest is set to be between The Nationals Pat Conaghan, Independent Rob Oakeshott and Labor's Andrew Woodward.
How they reacted to the announcement:
"As the Nationals Candidate for Cowper I have spent the past five months travelling through our townships knocking on thousands of doors meeting residents, business owners and community groups to listen to their concerns and wants for the future.
"Cowper is one of the largest electorates in NSW and each town and village has its own diversity and community needs. Our residents deserve their fair share and the opportunity to thrive in a prosperous economy. All people have the right to strong, honest and selfless representation in Canberra. Given the opportunity I will deliver this for Cowper through the sound leadership of a Coalition Government.
"I welcome the Prime Minister's announcement this morning and over the next five weeks I will continue to work hard to advocate for the residents to achieve the safe and secure future we all want and deserve. A future where hard work is rewarded, a future with certainty, and a future we can be proud of.
"I look forward to the next five weeks. I will continue to work hard to be your next Member for Cowper."
Rob Oakeshott (on his Facebook page):
"An election has been called - we're on.
"On May 18, our region will finally have the opportunity to send an independent voice to Canberra, so we can have the representation we deserve.
"Join me so we can get this done:https://www.oakeshott.com.au/volunteer"
"The election to be held in May is an election about policy, stability and fairness. The era of political personalities and cuts, chaos and division must end.
"Under the National Party, we have been taken for granted. We have been neglected. We have missed out. We have fallen behind. We have been let down. More of the same is not good enough. Enough is enough.
"This election is a chance for the people of Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey and the Mid North Coast to usher in a positive, prosperous and sustainable future for this and future generations.
"We'll all be better off with a strong local advocate inside a Labor Government - working with the Labor team; being our champion; fixing our problems and making sure we get our fair share. We're ready. I am ready."