The smell of sizzling democracy sausages was in the air as voters in Durack turned out to cast their ballot in the Federal election, which nationally is tipped to go down to the wire.
Polling booths were noticeably quieter than on previous election days, indicating many voters may have cast their ballots early.
After a remaining relatively low-key for much of the election campaign, Durack incumbent Melissa Price has cast her vote at Geraldton Senior High School.
Mrs Price is the favourite to win the safe Liberal seat but said the competition between Anthony Albanese and Scott Morrison would be much closer.
“I said from the beginning it was going to be close, I didn’t think it was going to be quite so close,” she said.
“I am still very hopeful that we have been able to make the case that, especially during COVID, the way that we have been able to manage the economy has made people realise that what we need for the future of our country is to make sure we have a Morrison Government, and I think commonsense will prevail.”
Labor candidate for Durack Jeremiah Riley says the voters around Durack are ready for change — and he believes he will be the man chosen.
Casting his vote at the Broome Civic Centre and flanked by Kimberley MLA Divina D’Anna, Senator Patrick Dodson and Mining and Pastoral MLC Rosie Sahana, Mr Riley said he was optimistic the blue-ribbon seat could turn red.
Mr Riley is considered somewhat of an underdog, coming up against incumbent Liberal member and Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price, who has held the seat since 2013.
Durack is held by Mrs Price on a margin of 13.5 per cent.
WA Opposition Leader Mia Davies was a lone figure for the Nationals at the Wandina Primary School polling booth in Geraldton.
She is representing the Nationals after the party’s Durack candidate and former Geraldton MP Ian Blayney and a number of campaign volunteers were struck down by COVID.
“I think it’s just the world we’re living in at the moment … everyone’s had it. Unfortunately that’s just one of the things we have to cope with. We’ve seen a number of polling booths with workers unable to open, and I was particularly worried about that when you’ve got country communities that don’t really have alternatives,” she said. “I think what’s happened is a lot of people have voted early because certainly the numbers are much lower this morning from what I’ve seen in past experience.”
Ms Davies was loathed to predict the result nationally.
“Obviously we’re hopeful to see the return of the Morrison Government and there’s a task for the Labor Party to win seven seats across the nation. Durack is a very safe seat and Melissa (Price) has been a strong representative but we always make sure we’ve got a candidate for people to vote for,” she said.
“It’s so hard to predict (nationally) and I’m loathed to do it, even when you look at polling because it can be so unpredictable. You’ve got a number of Independents who have run campaigns across the nation … you just don’t know what people do when they get into the polling booth.”