LABOR candidate for Wannon Maurice Billi has showed his face in Warrnambool just in time for election day after being noticeably absent from the southern end of the electorate for most of the campaign.
It's the first time the Stawell native has run for office at a federal level, after previously running as Labor's candidate in Lowan at November's state election.
"It's my second time in politics but my first time at a federal level. I've got to say I wasn't really sure what to expect but now that I've done it I've actually found it really positive and have enjoyed getting around and meeting people in the electorate and hearing a whole range of opinions and views," he said.
"Everyone's been so polite, so engaging and so respectful no matter what opinion they've got, it's been a really good process."
He said the passing of former Prime Minister and Labor great Bob Hawke has tinged the day with sadness.
"It's probably a bit surreal for me because yesterday was a day of mourning for Australia and it's sort of carried on into today," Mr Billi said.
"I carry the words of Bob, that no doubt he'd be looking down and saying, 'Just get on with it'. Do what we need to do to elect a Bill Shorten Labor Government.
"So I think out of some real sadness there's come a strong unification for our team to do it for Bob and to get the job done."
Directly parroting Labor leader Bill Shorten, Mr Billi said the party is "quietly confident" about obtaining a result tonight, despite being up against a Liberal stronghold of 64 years.
"I think we will get a reasonable result tonight," he said.
"We're coming from a fair way back, it is a very safe Liberal seat, but there certainly is a mood for change across the country and a significant mood for change in Victoria.
"People have realised that this election more than anything has become an election about climate change as a real issue and certainly the more people I speak to they're really engaging with that issue, as well as mental health and equality for everyone.
"The feedback I've had over the last few months has been really positive.
Voters have been critical of Mr Billi's scarcity in the electorate in the lead up to election day, receiving no real clarity on the candidates position on local highways, rail or hospital upgrades.
"That's one of the challenges of living in a really big electorate, I've certainly come from the northern part of the electorate and I've heard similar feedback about Dan: no one's seen him, no one's heard from him and he's the incumbent, he's got all the resources and all the momentum behind him," Mr Billi said.
"We've got a very small team, we're not a marginal seat so it's taken a lot of energy to get as far around the electorate as possible.
"But what we stand on is the strong Labor policies that have been announced in the past month, and make no mistake Labor has released more policies than any other government in opposition and well ahead of the election.
"The policies of Labor are the policies that will govern for everyone including right at the centre of that, which is the people of Wannon. Look at our cancer package, look at our childcare package, look at what we're doing for climate change, look how we are investing in free TAFE across the country, look at the tax cuts we're offering. They will benefit everyone.
"A federal Labor government and a state Labor government will work very strongly together and get the job done and invest in infrastructure, roads and public transport from day one."
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