With the State Election race well underway, candidates across all electorates discovered their ballot paper positions this morning.
Seven candidates are set to battle it out for the seat of Penrith, with five in Londonderry and five in Badgerys Creek (formerly Mulgoa).
The Weekender attended the Penrith ballot paper draw where sitting MP Stuart Ayres and Labor candidate Karen McKeown were the only candidates present to witness the event.
Animal Justice Party candidate Vanessa Blazi was the first drawn, placing her in the most sought-after position.
Second to appear on the list will be Timothy Pateman from the Legalise Cannabis Party, and Minoo Toussi from The Greens will be third.
Ayres, who will be fighting to retain his seat for the Liberal party, said he was not “overly concerned” with being called out fourth.
“I just think the ballot paper is a cool little process that we go through for election here in Australia,” Ayres said.
“I think it’s time to get on with it and make sure Penrith is looking after its future and I think we are offering really strong positive plans for the future of this region, local commitments, and a strong focus on the economy.”
Geoff Brown from the Sustainable Australia Party was picked fifth and while it is not ideal for Labor’s Karen McKeown to be in the sixth position, she isn’t letting it bother her.
“Just going from what I’ve seen, I think a lot of people have already made up their mind,” McKeown said.
“I’m just hoping that in doing that they are going to vote for a positive change for Penrith and vote Labor.”
The seventh and final spot went to Belinda McWilliams, who is representing One Nation.
Londonderry was also drawn with sitting Labor MP Prue Car being pulled out first.
Nabbing the coveted number one position won’t lessen her drive as she said: “I’m very proud to be standing for re-election as the Member for Londonderry and will continue to work hard for this community to earn each vote.”
The Liberal party’s Samantha Talakola, who is also vying for the job was just behind, being placed second on the ballot, while a new entry David Bowen for the Sustainable Australia Party will be bottom of the list.
Over in Badgerys Creek, Liberal member Tanya Davies, who was drawn first, told the Weekender that she is committed to her work as the local member.
“While the position on the ballot paper is the luck of the draw, what really matters is that I’ve always been a strong advocate for my community and will continue to be one,” Davies said.
“My proven track record and experience speak for themselves – I’ve fought hard for the issues that matter most to my constituents, and I won’t stop now.”
Running for the first time for Labor, Garion Thain will sit at number four on the list.
“It was good to go – sort of makes the run-up feel a bit more tangible,” Thain said.
“Either way it doesn’t change how I’ll be campaigning; I’ve been out as much as I can to meet our residents and that’ll continue.”
The election will take place on Saturday, March 25.
Ballot paper order:
Vanessa Blazi – Animal Justice Party
Timothy Pateman – Legalise Cannabis Party
Minoo Toussi – The Greens
Stuart Ayres – Liberal
Geoff Brown – Sustainable Australia Party
Karen McKeown – Labor
Belinda McWilliams – One Nation
Prue Car – Labor
Samantha Talakola – Liberal
David Maurice – The Greens
Luke Tester – One Nation
David Bowen – Sustainable Australia Party
Tanya Davies – Liberal
Benjamin Green – One Nation
Nick Best – The Greens
Garion Thain – Labor
Peter Cooper – Sustainable Australia Party
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers Local, State and Federal politics for the Weekender, as well as crime and general news.