SITTING member Andrew Gee doesn't believe Calare will cop any backlash from the recent stoush with his own government over funding for veterans.
The incumbent member for Calare, The Nationals Mr Gee was on the hustings at Orange's electoral office in Endsleigh Avenue on Monday, with pre-polling opening before the election on May 21.
Pre-polling is not available in Blayney. Aside from Orange, early voting can be cast on Rankin Street in Bathurst or at Windradyne on Wark Parade.
In March this year Mr Gee, the Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans Affairs, called out the Morrison Government over what he described as token funding for his portfolio. He had previously asked for $96 million in a bid to clear a backlog of around veterans' 60,000 compensation claims but was allocated $28m.
As a result he threatened to resign with Deputy Prime Minister and The Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce intervening to secure the full amount.
Mr Gee conceded at the time his actions may not have been the "best career move" and there has also been speculation Calare may also bear some punishment should the Coalition maintain leadership.
But Mr Gee said on Monday he stood by his actions and his record.
"I'm running on my record of delivery. I've always worked with the communities on all of our campaigns, right from the time when it was a state member, when we were pushing for the 24-hour rescue helicopter service," he said.
"They weren't happy in Macquarie Street about it but we had over 30,000 signatures and we got that chopper service.
"Pushing for Radiotherapy was a campaign I did with Dr Stuart Porges and John Carpenter. They probably weren't happy about that either but we got there. Charles Sturt Medical School was another one, Dixon's Long Point ..."
Mr Gee also said the Coalition's announcement of $15 million to fund a commuter carpark in Bathurst suggested the veterans matter was water under the bridge.
"And I think the important thing about that whole issue is that we got the result for veterans," he added.
The sitting member for Calare, Mr Gee is at short-odds to retain the seat with Independent Kate Hook regarded as the major threat. Mr Gee has placed Ms Hook at number 5 on his how-to-vote card, with the United Australia Party's Adam Jannis at 2, Stacey Whittaker, representing Pauline Hansen's One Nation at 3 and Labor's Sarah Elliott at 4. The Greens Kay Nankervis is at 6.
"It's just a guide, people can make up their own minds, where they want to vote," he said, adding it was not a party directive.
"It was just a case of looking at the candidates, he (Jannis) seems like a nice enough fellow, the dealings I've had with him. I deal; with people locally and take them as I find them."
He also denied Ms Hook was the only threat.
"No not at all. The election is hotly contested and I think that the Labor Party is going to poll strongly. You've got to remember this is a national campaign," Mr Gee said.
"So I don't think you can read too much into it [the how to vote]. It's not a reflection on any personal points of view or judgements on any of the candidates. It was just a call we made."
Mr Gee said there was positive vibe at Orange's electoral office on Monday.
"I think people are just pleased the finish line to this election is finally in sight because there has been a very long build up to it and there's been speculation since before Christmas, people are really pleased they can get in and get their vote sorted out."
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