The electoral district of Shepparton is set for one of the most interesting contests of the Victorian election.
The entry of Fishers, Shooters and Farmers Party member Murray Willaton into the mix yesterday has further complicated, and some would say enhanced, the field.
Shepparton is well served by such a diverse group of candidates, all of whom bring something good to the table.
Our reigning independent is an intelligent, sharp legal mind who has arguably served a splendid first term, extracting millions from the Andrews Government for our region.
Cheryl Hammer of the Liberals is a well-known philanthropic leader with experience in farming, small business and the media.
The Nationals’ Peter Schwarz is a well-connected political operator with the ear of the Federal Government who also has a strong background in farming.
Each of them has a path to victory, but the minor candidates also have their strengths.
While Bill Heath of Labor stands little chance of winning, as he openly admits, he an intelligent, compassionate man with worldly experience and a focus on the underprivileged — and again, farming experience.
Nickee Freeman of the Greens, a self-described ‘‘practical conservationist’’ and environmental scientist, gives the party’s small but loyal base a candidate.
And with Murray Willaton on board, we have another arrow in our quiver to fire at the Victorian Parliament.
Whichever one Shepparton chooses to take aim, this year we have a strong set of choices.
Electorates where the competition is thin, or non-existent, must be looking at us with envy.