Federal Politics

'It's a mess isn't it?': Voters in the bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro have their say on the state of politics

In the cloistered corridors of Parliament House, it can sometimes seem as if the whole world is fixated on one thing. Be it the budget date, Senate mischief or machinations in the PM's inner circle, the issue of the day expands to fill the void.

But a few kilometres down the road in Queanbeyan, things are different. Here in the bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro, politics competes with family, sport, culture and work - and the topics Malcolm Turnbull wants to focus on are some of the furthest from voters' minds.

More News Videos

Eden-Monaro voters vent disillusionment

Are we living in the most exciting time to be an Australian? Some voters within the classic bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro aren't as optimistic as the Prime Minister.

At the Royal Barber Shop, chatter rarely strays into the political realm. Owner David Tutalo has voted Liberal "since Johnny was in" - but no matter who occupies the government benches in Canberra, he says "it doesn't make a big difference".

The 42-year-old isn't familiar with the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the former industry watchdog upon which the PM has staked his re-election gambit. And the prospect of an early, double dissolution election? "I don't really care at all," he says. "It's just another day, you've got to vote."

Mr Tutalo is not alone. According to Essential polls, half of all voters say they either don't know or have no feeling about whether the ABCC should be re-established. And 44 per cent are ambivalent about whether the PM should go to a double-D election if the bills fail to pass.

The Greens oppose the ABCC, but Greens party member Jo Moyle, 43, isn't really sure what it is. With a six-month-old daughter, she's "in mummyland" right now - more worried about paid parental leave, asylum seekers and whether she will be able to marry her partner Kristy.

Advertisement

Ms Moyle was initially optimistic about Mr Turnbull's leadership, but six months on she's disillusioned. "It's a mess, isn't it?" she says. "I thought having a businessman at the helm might mean that he'd make some smart choices financially."

Inside the Royal Hotel, retiree Patrick East sips a beer and watches as the warm afternoon wears on. A lifelong Labor voter, he's not particularly impressed with the contemporary offering from either side.

Law student Samantha Marceddo doesn't expect the winner to stay for a full term.
Law student Samantha Marceddo doesn't expect the winner to stay for a full term. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

"It doesn't matter what the general public say, no one listens," the 68-year-old says. He's more inclined to see the PM's double dissolution threat as an act of deviousness than decisiveness.

"He's blackmailing the senators. If they don't do what he says, they've got no job, have they? I don't think it's fair. I can't see why we can't have the election when it's supposed to be."

Patrick East is unimpressed with the Prime Minister's double dissolution threat: "He's blackmailing the senators."
Patrick East is unimpressed with the Prime Minister's double dissolution threat: "He's blackmailing the senators."  Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Law student Samantha Marceddo, 21, is also ambivalent about polling day. Undecided about which party she'll reluctantly support, she says the revolving door prime ministership has sullied her respect for Australian politics.

"Either way we go, I don't think we're going to have a stable enough government to have a prime minister that will actually stay in office for a full term," she says.

Barber shop owner David Tutalo: "It's just another day, you've got to vote."
Barber shop owner David Tutalo: "It's just another day, you've got to vote." Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The spectre of Tony Abbott is perhaps the one thing piquing the interest of both punters and press gallery. Back at his hair salon, David Tutalo says the PM and his predecessor are "pretty much similar", though he rates Mr Turnbull as the better speaker and statesman.

"Abbott makes me laugh sometimes," he says. "He's still there in the background. He's not getting back in, is he?"

Jo Moyle is worried about paid parental leave and whether she will be able to marry her partner.
Jo Moyle is worried about paid parental leave and whether she will be able to marry her partner. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Follow us on Twitter