Liberal candidate for Canning Andrew Hastie says he’s going to work until the last minute to secure his seat in federal parliament.
While the latest opinion poll points to a comfortable win against Labor’s Matt Keogh at 57-43 on a two-party preferred basis, the former SAS captain has suggested he’s not taking anything for granted.
“I’ll be working all the way to 6pm tonight,” Mr Hastie told reporters at a polling booth in Byford.
“The people of Canning have a decision to make and over the past four to five weeks, I believe I’ve made the case that I would be a good representative for Canning in Canberra.
“And I’m hoping that today if I’m elected I’ll be able to fight for the people of Canning.”
The father of one said the leadership change, which gave him a boost in the polls, wasn’t a huge distraction to his campaign.
“From day one, this campaign has been about the local issues so I’ve just focused on that,” he said.
“Nothing’s really changed in that sense.”
Mr Hastie’s campaign hasn’t been all smooth sailing, beginning with a controversy about troops he commanded cutting the hands off dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.
Next came reports that soldiers under his command had communicated with US helicopter soldiers involved in the accidental killing of two Afghan boys.
Mr Hastie was cleared of any blame in both incidents.
He was again embroiled in controversy in the final days of the campaign when he reiterated that he did not feel the then-Labor government had his back when he was in Afghanistan.
Conversely, asked on Saturday how he felt when he met Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop when they visited the war-torn country while in opposition in 2009, Mr Hastie said the attention was “very welcome”.
“I was privileged to sit there and they listened to some of our concerns,” he said.
“I know he had a very keen interest in our welfare, how we were doing.
“My lasting impressions were two leaders who were keen to look after the welfare of soldiers in the field and that’s what stayed with me.”
Mr Turnbull called the Liberal candidate on Saturday morning to wish him luck.