PM Morrison was there during the campaign which points to concerns about the Coalition’s ability to hold the NSW North Coast seat. So what’s that all about?
Who? It’s an electoral race of interest because the sitting member, the Nationals’ Luke Hartsuyker, is not running this time. That’s left it wide open for a result that won’t be to the Coalition’s liking. Pat Conaghan is representing the Nats – he’s a former cop-turned-lawyer from Kempsey. The Liberals are not running a candidate.
Where? Cowper stretches along the coast and from Port Macquarie in the south to Coffs Harbour in the north and out west to Bellingen. The boundaries have changed a bit over the years, and the seat now takes in a fair chunk of what was Lyne.
Nail your talking points:
• The main challenge is coming from independent Rob Oakeshott. He was the member for Lyne between 2008 and 2013 and was one of the ‘three amigos’ who delivered government to Julia Gillard in 2010. He ran in Cowper in 2016 securing 45% of the two-party preferred vote in a last-minute campaign. This time, reports say he has 1,000 volunteers helping him.
• It’s a seat that has almost always been in the hands of the Nationals, and an Oakeshott win would be a boil over on election night.