Local conservatives will hold sway, betting poll shows

THE Liberal Party will keep a tight grip on the federal seat of Wannon and Labor looks like it could lose its hold on the ultra-marginal seat of Corangamite, according to the nation’s bookmakers. 

The unofficial political poll and marketing ploy was released by a betting agency yesterday showing $50 odds for the Labor Party to take the seat of Wannon with punters set for a small return on the $1.01 odds for bets on Dan Tehan. 

With Labor yet to pre-select a candidate for the blue ribbon seat, Mr Tehan is still the unbackable favourite for the electorate held by the Liberal Party since 1955. 

The Wannon MP played down the figures yesterday afternoon, knocking back an invitation to make a modest profit from his campaign. 

“It’s months away and as far as I’m concerned I’m just going to work as hard as I possibly can — there’s no such thing as a certainty in politics,” he said.

Mr Tehan said the push for a south-west cancer care centre would be an issue in the upcoming poll. 

Corangamite MP Darren Cheeseman had some harder words on the bookies’ call, spruiking himself as the political underdog with $3.50 for the sitting member compared to $1.25 backing the Coalition. 

“A bit like Black Caviar I like to run my opponents down from behind,” Mr Cheeseman said. 

Mr Cheeseman, who took his seat during the 2007 election, said he had taken bad odds from the bookies during both elections so far and had proven them wrong. “A lot of disappointed Liberals lost money twice,” he said. 

The MP highlighted education and health funding as issues on the campaign landscape this year. 

Liberal candidate Sarah Henderson conceded a close race was ahead.

“This is going to be a very tough fight and every single vote will count — like last time, I think that Corangamite will go down to the wire,” Ms Henderson said. 

Both Mr Tehan and Mr Cheeseman agreed the dairy crisis would play a role in their electorates. 

Mr Cheeseman said the advance of Katter’s Australian Party into Corangamite would see re-regulation of the dairy industry put on the table for voters. 

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