Mike Kelly does some last minute campaigning on Yass road in Queanbeyan. Photo: Jay Cronan
In the nation's bellwether electorate, Labor's Mike Kelly is concerned his hard work might come to nothing and he is worried about the implications for people aspiring to enter politics.
Campaigning in Queanbeyan, Eden-Monaro's main population centre, Dr Kelly lists federally funded projects worth $102 million for the city alone.
''I've put everything I've got into serving this community and if the work can't speak for you, then nothing else will, in my view,'' the former military officer said on Thursday.
Peter Hendy does some last minute campaigning in Queanbeyan. Photo: Jay Cronan
''If I couldn't be returned here it's obviously not going to be very encouraging for people to put their hands up for politics in the future if they don't come from that staffer/political apparatchik background and they know that hard work is not necessarily going to do it for you. That would be pretty discouraging, I would think.''
In the 2007 election, respected Liberal MP Gary Nairn lost Eden-Monaro in the landslide towards the Labor Party.
That change confirmed the pattern, set over the past 40 years, whereby the voters of this electorate have sided with the party that forms the government, giving it the status of the litmus test of the national mood.
And this time could be no different, according to Liberal candidate Peter Hendy.
''There would appear to be a swing on in Eden-Monaro but the question is, how big it is,'' he said.
''I'm hopeful of winning but that's nothing more than that. I'm fighting as hard as possible. The [Liberal] party does internal polling that shows it's a close race and the anecdotal feeling on the ground at pre-polls … has been very positive. We still regard Eden-Monaro as a bellwether seat that will swing … but it's still a fight.''
Mr Hendy would not discuss Liberal Party polling in detail but said there appeared to be a significant increase in the number of people voting early.
''People have wanted to vote as quickly as possible because they've made up their minds - who they're voting for, I'm not sure,'' he said.
Dr Kelly, the Minister for Defence Materiel, was lured into politics by Kevin Rudd before the 2007 election.
He voted for Mr Rudd in the leadership ballot and was promised promotion to defence minister if Labor wins the election.
With no background in politics, Dr Kelly has nevertheless adapted to campaigning and hopes his personal standing will buck the trend, if the Coalition sweeps to victory nationally.
Standing at one of Queanbeyan's main intersections, he points proudly to where federal funds have built a nearby school hall, an indoor sports centre, social housing and highway upgrading.
''This is a spot that tells you quite a story for all the work I've put in for Queanbeyan,'' he told Fairfax Media.
''It adds up to over $102 million altogether - unprecedented, never seen this level of support, it really helped us get through the GFC but also deliver vital infrastructure for the community.''
Dr Kelly is not conceding that Labor has lost the election but says many voters are not engaged with the campaign.
''I really think a lot of people will be making up their minds on the day and it's going to be an interesting evening,'' he said.
''People have watched federal politics in recent years and aspects of it have disillusioned some, there's no doubt about that.
''I haven't been happy about the situations we've been in in those leadership changes.''
Dr Kelly continued his criticism of Mr Hendy for publishing a paper, in his former role as head of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, that proposed cuts to programs.
Mr Hendy replied that the paper was clearly labelled as being the opinions of the author.