Bookies predict Labor wins in Page, Richmond

The bookies are predicting wins for Labor in the Page and Richmond electorates when Australia goes to the polls on Saturday.

In Page, Labor’s Janelle Saffin is a $1.53 favourite as of today. The Nationals’ Chris Gulaptis is at $2.35.

In Richmond, which takes in the Ballina Shire areas of Skennars Head and Lennox Head, Labor’s sitting member, Justine Elliot, is a red-hot favourite at $1.08.

Local GP Sue Page, who is standing as The Nationals’ candidate, it at long odds, $6.

Justine Elliot’s favouritism comes as no surprise. She is well-known in the north of the electorate after winning the seat from Larry Anthony in 2004.

Sue Page is likely to poll strongly in her local area, but the big doubt is whether she has lifted her profile in the north of the electorate, which has the bigger voter base.

The big surprise in this campaign has been the strong leaning towards Ms Saffin in Page, which has been a Coalition stronghold during the reign of retiring member Ian Causley and has always been regarded as a safe National Party seat.

However, Ms Saffin is well-known in the Lismore district.

The former teacher and solicitor served for eight years in the NSW Upper House from 1995 until 2003, and spent time in East Timor as an advisor to the newly emerging government.

The boundaries in Page have changed since Ian Causely’s win in 2004. ABC election analyst Antony Green says the electorate has gained Wollongbar and Alstonville from Richmond in exchange for the loss of Nimbin and rural northern parts of Lismore City Council, and also gains Yamba from Cowper. The National Party margin rises from 4.2 per cent to 5.5 per cent.

Mr Gulaptis, 52, moved to the Clarence Valley from Perth in 1980 and is a qualified surveyor who has been Mayor of Maclean and is a Clarence Valley councillor.

Obviously, he is as well-known in the Clarence as Ms Saffin is in the Richmond River region.

Both candidates have campaigned strongly on issues affecting their local areas.

Perhaps it will be the voting power of their local support base which gets either candidate across the line.

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