Canning votes: Behind the scenes of the 2019 campaign

In the lead-up to the federal election on Saturday, we have seen plenty of action as party leaders scramble across the country in a bid to secure West Australian votes to either sure-up or take-over seats.

From Twitter feeds flooded with candidates and seemingly endless roadside advertising to journalists filing stories at all hours, Australians have been bombarded through the campaign.

Oh, and let's not forget the election mail.

Election mail: Three from Canning incumbent Andrew Hastie and five from the Australia United Party. What's your ratios?

Election mail: Three from Canning incumbent Andrew Hastie and five from the Australia United Party. What's your ratios?

So far, we have had three leader debates and constant doorstops across the country.

Here in Canning, we have had our fair share of political activity.

With major funding commitments from both sides of politics, visits from high-profile figures and record pre-polling numbers, there has been plenty of headline-grabbing.

Those political powerhouses that have been paraded around the Peel region have included One Nation leader Pauline Hanson this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, home affairs minister Peter Dutton and federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Our biggest commitments have included matched funding for the Peel Health Campus and for a multi-level car park at Mandurah Train Station.

Both have pledged millions towards the long-awaited Pinjarra Heavy Haulage Deviation and to continue the flow of funding to the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council.

With election day looming this weekend, Canning voters will have to decide between eight candidates vying for a spot in the House of Representatives.

For me the most interesting part has been behind the scenes of the campaign.

Just this week, Ms Hanson travelled to Mandurah to meet voters at the pre-polling centre at Eastlake Church.

While hosting a press conference with senator Peter Georgiou, her WA state leader Colin Tincknell and her Canning candidate Jackson Wreford, several GetUp! volunteers stood behind the representatives and held up campaign posters.

This left members of the One Nation party scrambling to get posters to counter the photobombing attack.

Photobombing: While One Nation leader Pauline Hanson hosted a press conference in Greenfields, several GetUp! volunteers stood behind the representatives and held up campaign posters.

Photobombing: While One Nation leader Pauline Hanson hosted a press conference in Greenfields, several GetUp! volunteers stood behind the representatives and held up campaign posters.

Mr Hanson's trip also involved a quarrel of opinions between herself and local volunteers from GetUp! and Labor. All in front of a pack of media of course.

During the visit, Ms Hanson also snarled at the Liberals' preference swing against above other parties, such as Labor.

Canning candidate Jackson Wreford has urged voters to preference Liberal second rather than her party's ideal pick - the Australian Christians.

As per his party's preferences in the electorate, Mr Wreford was supposed to favour Jamie van Bugel from Australian Christians and Brett Clarke from the Western Australia Party over the incumbent.

However, that's not the only reason the newbie candidate has been making headlines.

Mr Wreford has been interviewed by several publications and appeared in a live television interview after half-naked photos of him caused quite a commotion on social media.

Mr Wreford admitted the attention was daunting at first but said it "couldn't hurt" his chances.

"I don't think people are giving it too much of a negative spin. It's a bit of fun," he told the Mail.

"There's too much negativity in politics. I think there's too many games being played by the two big parties. I don't think they have the best interests of the common person at heart.

"I would love to bring a little bit of lightheartedness to it. It's a serious game but it doesn't need to be negative all the time."

Prior and post the election being called, there has been some interesting advertising disputes. All of which, have played out on the pages of the Mail.

The agency commissioned a full-page advert to highlight their Mandurah Matters vision, which includes a foreshore redevelopment.

However, Mr Hastie took exception to the wording of the advert, which he claimed looked like Labor campaign material.

"Parts of their ad are an almost exact copy of Labor campaign material," he said.

The next came after the election had been called.

Labor had commission several advertisements that took aim at Liberals.

A week later the Liberals commissioned one that seemly looked very similar.

The next interesting campaign incident happened when Mr Morrision (AKA ScoMo) visited Mandurah.

ScoMo was swamped by a press pack as he walked around the top of the terrace, which came as a surprise to a couple of community members who initially didn't realise who he was.

Prior to making an annoucement for further funding to the nation-wide Safer Communities Program along the city's western foreshore, ScoMo was greeted several local RSL groups.

When he asked one group what they called themselves, a member quickly snapped back "the PIGs".

Following a confused look by ScoMo, the member explained they were the "politically incorrect grown-ups".

When it comes to announcements or commitments in the election campaign, politicians generally try to attract as much media attention as possible.

So, if there's a $25 million commitment you would think we - as local journalists - would hear about it.

However, Labor's candidate Mellisa Teede seemed to keep this "matching funding" for the Peel Health Campus, well and truly under wraps.

It wasn't until her state member, David Templeman publicly spoke about the funding pledge at a community breakfast he hosted to break-down the state budget for locals.

Ms Teede has since revealed to the Mail, that the announcement had been part of her campaigning for weeks.

Which seems odd, considering a $6 million announcement for a 10-bed withdrawal unit at the Peel Health Campus was delivered by Mr Shorten himself during a visit to the facility.

Speaking of state members, it's been interesting to see how they have played a part of this election.

It was not subtle that the Labor party was trying to capitalise off their state leader when the infamous "Bill Bus" rolled into town.

With a massive photo of Mark McGowan's face on it, Mr Shorten look like a popularity leach on the premier's back.

Locally, either local MP Mr Templeman or his Murray-Wellington colleague Robyn Clarke were present at almost every announcement.

Meanwhile, in Mr Hastie's camp his two local state members in Zak Kirkup and Alyssa Hayden remained firmly in the shadows.

Commuters dashing to the train each morning have probably been met by candidates and their how-to-vote cards.

Even on the final day of campaigning when the mercury had dropped to seven degrees celsius, commuters were still being bombarded.

This year, I've heard several nasty polling centre tales. This have included standing in front of candidates and volunteers hiding another party's how-to-vote cards with a pile of theirs.

Several signs have also been defaced. Mr Hastie was included in that vandalism, which he labelled as a "smear campaign".

It wasn't the worst Mr Hastie received, however, the local member also claimed that his bus had been targeted by an arsonist using "Taliban tactics in the dead of night".

While there has been some interesting and lighthearted moments so far, there has also been some sadness.

The nation was shocked on Thursday evening, after learning that former Prime Minister Bob Hawke passed away.

Local members and candidates took to social media to paid respect to our 23rd Prime Minister.

Vale Bob Hawke. A great Australian Labor leader, a great bloke and a member of an amazing generation of Australians. One of our greatest Prime Ministers.

David Templeman

Vale Bob Hawke, a great Australian and Prime Minister. I was a young boy when he was in office but I remember the warmth and confidence of his leadership. RIP.

Andrew Hastie

A day out from the election, however, a bit of fun shared between both sides when Where's Wally visited polling booths in Mandurah.

And that's about it. Good luck if you're voting. Don't get too caught up on the hectic roadside advertising and party volunteers trying to give you their all important how-to-vote cards.

I heard one local journalist was so distracted by them they almost drove on the wrong side of the road before being promptly directed left by a Liberal party volunteer.

If you haven't cast your ballot already at a pre-polling centre, here's a map of all the places you can vote on Saturday.

To find your nearest democracy sausage visit, www.democracysausage.org/federal_election_2019.