Can we trust both parties to stick to policy?

It’s game on in the race for the federal seat of Bendigo, but rest easy – you’ve got seven and a half months to make up your mind.

Maybe the biggest test for Bendigo candidates will be keeping the attention of voters through such a long race.

Among all the opening comments by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott yesterday, there were a couple of claims we can only hope will survive.

Julia Gillard said she would create an environment in which the nation’s eyes were more easily focused on the policies, not the petty politics. There’s no doubt Australians have long craved that.

Tony Abbott said the election would be all about “trust”. Yes, trust has been an issue of late, so let’s hope for a bit of good, old-fashioned honesty.

On the Bendigo front, it’s interesting Sportsbet.com.au would release odds just a day or so before the election was called. How are they always in the know, those bookies?

But to say Labor’s Lisa Chesters is a $1.10 favourite to win Bendigo over Liberal candidate Greg Bickley at $5.50 is a little hard to believe.

Sure Labor has held Bendigo for all but eight years since 1949 but such a divide seems extreme.

How both candidates handle themselves in the coming weeks and months will determine the outcome.

Let’s hope the battle for Bendigo is all about that policy and trust.

It’s the issues that matter most to this community that should be at the forefront of debate, and the candidate who best articulates what he or she is going to do about those should win.

Good luck candidates. Good luck voters. May you all safely endure the next seven and a half months.

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