LABOR'S stronghold grip on Hunter seats came to an abrupt end at the last state government election in 2011.
High-profile candidates Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell dramatically changed the political landscape of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, ending decades of Labor domination.
Many of the Newcastle candidates will be looking to cash in on this change of attitude at next month's federal election.
The federal seat of Newcastle has only had five MPs since Federation, all of them from the Labor party.
Standing for Labor is Sharon Claydon, in place of retiring MP Sharon Grierson, who has held the seat since 2001.
Ms Claydon has spent countless hours slogging it out in Newcastle chambers as a local councillor, but decided not to recontest her seat at the last local government election to work for Ms Grierson.
The Liberal party will be represented by former Royal Australian Air Force public affairs officer Jaimie Abbott.
Ms Abbott also has political experience, working for federal Paterson MP Bob Baldwin.
She is facing an uphill battle, however, as Newcastle is considered a very safe seat for Labor, with a 12.5 per cent holding.
Current Newcastle councillor Michael Osborne from The Greens will be looking to build on his 15 per cent of primary votes from the 2010 election.
Preferences deals from The Greens, independents and the smaller parties could determine the results if it is a tight contest between the two major parties.
Candidates from the Christian Democratic Party (Milton Caine) the Palmer United Party (Yegon McLellan), Lawrence Higgins (Australian Independents) Australia First (Michael Chehoff) and Socialist Alliance (Zane Alcorn) are also in the contest, with independents Susanna Scurry and Rod Holding.
Name: Jaimie Abbott
What are you standing for? ‘‘I will lead the drive and make Newcastle vibrant, dynamic, and the place where people want to be and where businesses want to invest.
‘‘I am also committed to easing the cost of living pressures Newcastle families are facing, and I will help create more jobs for Novocastrians.’’
Name: Zane Alcorn
Party: Socialist Alliance
What are you standing for? ‘‘Future generations are going to look back in disbelief at the continued inaction of today’s political ‘leaders’ as the Arctic collapsed and the gap between rich and poor grew ever larger. We say tax the rich to fund the transition to 100per cent renewables and improve public education and healthcare."
Name: Milton Caine
Party: Christian Democratic Party
What are you standing for? ‘‘I will deliver a moral foundation of honesty, integrity and accountability by completing F3 to Raymond Terrace Bypass, highway 123, dual carriageway from Tourle Street to Nelson Bay, Newcastle Airport as Sydney’s second airport with a connecting very fast train. Covered coal wagons, no coal seam gas extraction until safe."
Name: Michael Chehoff
Party: Australia First
What are you standing for? ‘‘Australia First gives people a voice to ask questions that really matter. The Australia we enjoy is threatened by high immigration, foreign ownership, and a ‘culture busting’ of Aussie identity.
Reduce widening social inequality and return more money to the region by a stronger tax on corporate profits.’’
Name: Sharon Claydon
What are you standing for? ‘‘Increased resources for local schools, high-speed broadband for families and business and secure jobs in the innovative clean energy sector are my priorities.
Labor’s $52 million funding for the duplication of the Tourle Street bridge and $30 million for the uni CBD campus demonstrates our commitment to Newcastle’s future."
Name: Laurie Higgins
Party: Australian Independents
What are you standing for? ‘‘I support the local community stance against coal seam gas; Newcastle University team on its solar paint invention; and Newcastle in its initiative to hold a royal commission on sexual abuse on those who have been in care. I acknowledge the local request for a royal commission on all child welfare organisations."
Name: Rod Holding
What are you standing for? ‘‘I stand to publicise a range of alternative viewpoints to balance the media’s Labor/Liberal spin. Close Orica’s dangerous explosive plant immediately and re-skill the workers into the renewable energy economy.
‘‘Speak out against corporate/government corruption and expose fraudulent intelligence. Advocate human rights for a peaceful future and provide alternatives to Newcastle’s military expansion."
Name: Yegon McLennan
Party: Palmer United Australia
What are you standing for? ‘‘The Palmer United Party would abolish the carbon tax and the mining tax to ease cost of living pressures.
‘‘We would use downstream processing to stimulate industry and manufacturing and bring jobs back to the Hunter and increase the aged pension by $150 a fortnight.’’
Name: Michael Osborne
Party: The Greens
What are you standing for? ‘‘I believe Newcastle can lead the nation in a clean energy transition.
‘‘By investing in research, education and innovation, we can ensure a sustainable regional economy and jobs after the mining boom.
‘‘A clean energy future would renew investment in our region’s world-class manufacturing and energy industries."
Name: Susanna Scurry
What are you standing for? ‘‘I will fight for: our health system to be adequately funded and accountable locally; improvement of aged care options and facilities; independent foreign policy; two-tier government; a properly funded education system from infants to tertiary; worker-centred industrial relations system; protection for the environment and public assets."