Final fields announced

By Danny Buttler and Jade Lawton
THEY may been racing for some time, but the final fields in the 2010 Federal Election have only just been officially announced.
La Trobe, which takes in parts of the hills down to Officer and Berwick, is expected to be one of the most tightly contested seats in Victoria. It has matched expectations by attracting plenty of candidates.
Incumbent Liberal member Jason Wood has five opponents, with Laura Smyth from the ALP the major threat.
Family First, the Greens, Liberal Democrats and the Australian Sex Party round out the field.
The bookies have tightened the odds on Mr Wood being returned, having him as $1.50 favourite as of Monday.
Mr Wood said this week that he was ‘hoping for the best, but planning for the worst.’
“Look I don’t take anything for granted, but it’s going to take a lot for Labor to deliver this locally – Labor haven’t matched any of my commitments,” he said.
Ms Smyth said she had received ‘overwhelmingly’ positive feedback on the campaign trail.
“So I’m quite happy with how the campaign is going. Certainly people are now considering each party and their policies, and who will make a difference in health and education with hospital funding and trade training centres,” she said.
McMillan, which includes Pakenham, Warragul and Nyora in its electoral boundaries, is also expected to be held by a sitting Liberal member.
Russell Broadbent is tipped to hold his seat, which was won by the Liberals in 2007 by a margin of 4.8 per cent.
In a replay of the last poll, his biggest threat will come in the form of Christine Maxfield, who ran for the Labor Party in 2007.
Candidates from Family First and the Greens will also run.
Independent Leigh Gatt is the only non-affiliated candidate. The Moe signwriter said he wanted a fairer deal for all Australian and a more financially secure retirement for the elderly.
“Once you reach the age of 65 you shouldn’t have to pay tax and you should have free health care,” he said.
While he wouldn’t offer a preference deal to any party, Mr Gatt was happy to reveal which way he would lean when he cast his own vote.
“I’d rather see preferences go to Labor before Liberal … I don’t really trust Tony Abbott,” he said.
In Flinders, the small field reflects the seemingly indomitable position of Liberal Greg Hunt.
With an 8.3 per cent majority, Mr Hunt would seem certain to hold off the challenge of Labor’s Francis Gagliano-Ventura, Australian Greens candidate Robert Brown and Family First’s Reade Smith.

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