At the only pub in Bendemeer, Trish is clearing a single plate from lunch.
In her sixties, she’s been pulling beers there for the past 15 years.
“I don’t care which chief wins,” she say of the federal election on September 7.
“I’m older than both the candidates and I’ve seen it all before.”
“If doesn’t mean anything to me. There isn’t much of a choice. I don’t know who I’ll vote for.”
They used to call Bendemeer the gateway to New England. Its bridge across the MacDonald River the only way to access the region’s agricultural tablelands in the late 1800s.
Sitting off the highway, a little out of Tamworth, today the town is a sun-weathered farming outpost, full of clap-board homes and the foot of the hills which rise up behind it, spotted with livestock.
Trees line the slow-moving river that fences it from the main road, where drivers fly past farmland on their way north towards the Queensland border.
In the pub, Trish, who declined to give her last name, puts a bet on for Jessie Z’Dencanovic and his mum, Susan, 54.
They live at a farm up the road. Jessie has lived in the quiet town since he was born; his mum arrived 20 years ago, from coastal Woolongong south of Sydney, when her husband came back to the family’s land.
When he finished high school a little over two years ago, Jessie went to work at the abattoir in Tamworth.
“There are not many jobs going; it’s pretty hard to find work in town,” he tells Business Insider. “More opportunities in the local area would be good”.
Neither know who they will vote for, and both are sceptical that a result either way will affect their lives very much.
“We just listen to what they [candidates] say. If we can trust them or not … [I don’t know].
“But its peaceful and quiet here.”
Ben Collins is on a road trip from opposition leader Tony Abbott’s electorate of Warringah in Sydney to prime minister Kevin Rudd’s electorate of Griffith in Brisbane ahead of the federal election on September 7. He’ll be speaking to voters and business leaders about their concerns and what they hope to see happen in the coming three years.
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