THE BATTLE lines have been drawn for the federal seat of Gilmore.
Liberal Joanna Gash has held the seat since 1996, but decided on a switch to local politics last year. She challenged for, and won, the role of Shoalhaven Mayor, and will officially step down from her MP position at the September 7 election.
Gilmore includes Shellharbour, Shell Cove and Warilla. Liberal candidate Ann Sudmalis said she had plenty to offer the electorate.
She hoped to take over from her ‘mentor’, Ms Gash.
‘‘I am determined to continue to prove to the voters of Gilmore that with my teaching background, 17 years in business and manufacturing, six years of working in Parliament House, and through my work for the community, that our voters will have the confidence to give me their vote,’’ she said.
Third-time Gilmore Labor candidate Neil Reilly hopes to end the Liberal reign over the electorate.
‘‘In Gilmore it’s time to change the statistical significance of being Australia’s highest area of unemployment, and only a Labor government can do that,’’ he said.
Ms Sudmalis and Mr Reilly will be challenged by Lyndal Harris, the granddaughter of former prime minister Billy Hughes, who will represent the Palmer United Party.
‘‘I always said, from the age of eight, I was going to be the first female prime minister of Australia,’’ the 28-year-old Barrack Heights resident said.
For those who have grown weary of the two-party tussle in federal parliament, Greens candidate Terry Barratt said there was a third option.
‘‘I’m really sick and tired of the major parties and the way they operate in government and opposition – it’s puerile, it’s annoying and I think the public are sick and tired of them for that reason,’’ he said .
The Christian Democratic Party’s candidate for Gilmore, is Bomaderry’s Steve Ryan.
The 53-year-old pastor and father of five said the things he would campaign on would be protecting families, getting better deals for small businesses and ensuring the coal seam gas industry was better managed.