Nats safe bet in Tweed, Lismore

THE bets are on as to who will be our new MPs.

Internet betting site Sportsbet has listed odds for the seats of Tweed and Lismore in the state election.

In Tweed for a $1 bet the web-based bookie is paying $1.10 for a win for sitting Nationals MP Geoff Provest, $5 if his Labor challenger Reece Byrnes gets up and $51 if “any other party” wins.

In the seat of Lismore, which includes Murwillumbah and most rural areas of the Tweed, the odds of an upset are even longer, with Sportsbet offering just $1.01 if Nationals MP Thomas George gets back, $13 for a win by Labor’s Andrew Moy and $81 for “any other party”.

With just 10 days to go to the March 26 poll, punters are heavily backing the Coalition to take power in Macquarie Street with Sportsbet offering $1.02 for a Coalition victory but $12 if Labor retains power.

Yesterday most candidates were downplaying the significance of the betting odds, which some punters see as more reliable than opinion polls.

Greens Party candidate for Tweed Andrea Vickers however was shocked to learn her party had been lumped in state-wide with others, including the Christian Democrats, and said punters appeared to have underestimated her party.

“That’s appalling,” Ms Vickers said. “A lot of people are expecting that the Greens vote will increase significantly across the state in this election.

“We are about more than the environment. We are the party that functions as a check and balance in the two-party system.

“It’s really important people think about that because there is a risk of a Coalition landslide.

Mr Provest, who said his interest in betting amounted to only “an occasional flutter” despite his previous job running the Tweed Heads Bowls Club, which relies heavily on poker machines and keno, was not “putting any credence on betting odds”.

“Last time they had me trailing all the way,” he added.

Labor’s Reece Byrnes said he was “without doubt the underdog, but I’d caution Geoff Provest against taking the voters of Tweed for granted.”

“I will continue to be out there every day listening and talking to locals about the issues that are important to them.”

Meanwhile Mr Byrnes stepped up his campaign, saying a re-elected Labor government would deliver 360 new police officers across NSW, but he did not offer any specific number for the Tweed.

He said Labor’s “pro-police policy” contrasted with Mr Provest “who is offering nothing more than an audit of the police organisation post-election”.

“In 2007 Geoff Provest promised 30 new police to the Tweed, saying this would allow Kingscliff and Murwillumbah police stations to be 24/7 operations,” Mr Byrnes said.

Mr Provest said Labor’s promise on police had “zero credibility”.

“After 16 long years of Labor the Tweed has only one officer for every 700 local residents compared to one for every 500 in Sydney,” Mr Provest said.

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