John Howard and Nick Xenophon visit Strathalbyn and Victor Harbor

PM VISIT: Jamie Briggs, Strath's Robyn Van Dok, former Prime Minister John Howard and Strath's Maria Maxwell at a Biggest Morning Tea at Strathalbyn. Photo: Dani Brown.

PM VISIT: Jamie Briggs, Strath's Robyn Van Dok, former Prime Minister John Howard and Strath's Maria Maxwell at a Biggest Morning Tea at Strathalbyn. Photo: Dani Brown.

RELATED: Former PM John Howard visits Strathalbyn | PHOTOS

RELATED: Xenophon Team comes to Victor

REGION – The federal electorate of Mayo was a political battleground on Tuesday, as both the Liberal Party and Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) rolled out their big guns to the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Former Prime Minister John Howard visited Strathalbyn on Tuesday morning for a Biggest Morning Tea, while independent senator Nick Xenophon was in Victor Harbor that afternoon.

With Mr Howard throwing his support behind Member for Mayo Jamie Briggs, and Mr Xenophon backing his candidate Rebekha Sharkie, it shows the Mayo electorate, held by the Liberal Party since 1984, could be hotly contested at the July 2 federal election.

Mr Briggs won the seat with safe margins in both 2010 and 2013.

Mr Howard’s visit comes just a few days after Malcolm Turnbull was in the electorate to announce $3.75 million for a regional sports hub in Mount Barker.

MR X: Victor Harbor resident Keith Loeser meets Senator Nick Xenophon. Photo: Michael Simmons.

MR X: Victor Harbor resident Keith Loeser meets Senator Nick Xenophon. Photo: Michael Simmons.

Ms Sharkie has attracted a wave of interest for the NXT party in Mayo, and she said the response was “huge” when Mr Xenophon visited the region. At Victor Harbor, Mr Xenophon told The Times, “we have a real opportunity in Mayo”.

The Liberal party have recently announced major federal funding commitments to the region if re-elected, including $500,000 for the Victor Harbor RSL and football club, $1.2 million for a Mayo Local Environment Plan and $30,000 to the Strathalbyn Football Club.

Howard pledges support

STRATHALBYN –  Strathalbyn had a special visitor on Tuesday, June 7, when former Prime Minister John Howard visited a Biggest Morning Tea in Mayo, hosted by federal Member for Mayo Jamie Briggs.

Mr Howard received a rock star’s welcome with a standing ovation from the community leaders and volunteers from the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula’s service organisations, sporting clubs and community associations at the event.

Australia’s second-longest-serving Prime Minister spoke to a media pack with Mr Briggs before heading inside to meet locals at the Senior Citizens Club.

Mr Briggs said it was an honour to have Mr Howard visit Mayo to meet with local residents, while also helping to raise funds for a worthwhile cause.

“Volunteers are the life blood of our communities, and here in Mayo, they make this electorate the best place to live in Australia,” Mr Briggs said.

“The people behind the scenes make Mayo vibrant, prosperous and welcoming, which is why I was so pleased to host this event to recognise their invaluable contribution.”

Mr Howard, Australian Prime Minister from 1996-2007, said he was “delighted” to visit Mayo.

“It’s a happy stamping ground for Liberals; I came here occasionally to help my mate Alexander Downer and I’m happy to be here with my mate Jamie Briggs,” he said, before heading inside to make a presentation to the attendees about the choice currently before them in the federal election.

“At a critical time for our national economy, Australia cannot afford to experiment with Labor, the Greens or independents. We all remember the chaos of the Labor/Green years a short time ago,” he said.

He made clear his support for Jamie Briggs as the Member for Mayo.

“He is hardworking and dedicated to serving the interests of his community,” Mr Howard said.

“The time he has been in parliament he has made a great contribution to Mayo.”

He added that to ensure Malcolm Turnbull and his Liberal Government are re-elected, “you need to vote for Jamie Briggs in Mayo. I strongly encourage you to support Jamie so he can continue to be an active member of Malcolm Turnbull’s Government after July 2.”

Dr Sinead Hanley, cancer survivor and radiographer, spoke of her cancer journey at the event, and the final tally of funds raised for the Cancer Council was $1407.

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is a nationwide series of events hosted by the Cancer Council. The funds raised from each event help Cancer Council save lives through the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer.

The story Mayo becomes political battleground first appeared on The Times.

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