Independent candidate Zoe Daniel (Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)
Independent candidate Zoe Daniel (Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

They arrived with hope in their hearts but with fear in their eyes, all 18 still carrying the scars of 2019. Might the night bring the healing they needed?

Answer: yes. And much more. A lesson that maybe, just maybe, decency can prevail.

The 18 came together in Australia's most marginal seat, Macquarie, covering the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. In 2019 the night had soured early. It took two weeks before the ALP's Susan Templeman was declared the winner by a mere 371 votes by way of a late footnote and a small consolation.