Si­lence proves telling

Benalla Ensign - - News - By Libby Price

There’s been a deaf­en­ing si­lence from Spring Street in re­sponse to the call to end the Coali­tion agree­ment be­tween the Lib­er­als and the Na­tion­als, which is to not stand can­di­dates against in other.

(It’s ac­tu­ally more com­pli­cated than that, as it’s only in seats where one of the par­ties has a sit­ting MP, but that seems to have been lost in the ether).

The call, along with ac­cu­sa­tions the Na­tion­als ac­tively cam­paigned against the Lib­er­als, were made last week by Tony Sch­nei­der, the pres­i­dent of the Be­nalla Branch of the Lib­eral Party and un­suc­cess­ful can­di­date for the Seat of Euroa.

The fact that nei­ther of the party’s head hon­chos wanted to com­ment would sug­gest they don’t want to give the is­sue any air and are hop­ing it will all die a quiet death.

Mr Sch­nei­der and pre­sum­ably other Lib­er­als at the north east post-elec­tion re­view made it clear in no un­cer­tain terms that they don’t want to play ball with the Naiton­als any­more.

I gen­uinely ended up think­ing quite highly of all three of the main party can­di­dates dur­ing the cam­paign and was per­plexed and ul­ti­mately shocked at the ill-will be­tween the con­ser­va­tives, and not so much the can­di­dates, but the movers and shak­ers be­hind the scenes.

Sev­eral times I bit my tongue to stop my­self from stat­ing the ob­vi­ous: ‘‘What’s all this bickering be­tween the Libs and Nats? Call me crazy, but I thought La­bor was your Num­ber One En­emy?’’

It was like watch­ing a mar­ried cou­ple when you know the re­la­tion­ship is in trou­ble: openly bickering, run­ning the other Party down, spread­ing ridicu­lous ru­mours about each other, ar­gu­ing over money, such as what was be­ing spent on cam­paign­ing: the clas­sic tit for tat, and most dan­ger­ously, for­get­ting why they got mar­ried in the first place. To in­crease their chances of win­ning gov­ern­ment.

The ten­sions be­tween the two par­ties only plays into the hands of their real op­po­nents, be they the La­bor Party or the likes of In­de­pen­dent Cathy McGowan.

One can’t help but won­der if it’s be­cause the fight is al­ready on for Indi in the next Fed­eral elec­tion.

The Na­tion­als are out of the start­ing blocks first, mak­ing their in­ten­tion of field­ing a can­di­date public.

Lurk­ing in the back­ground is the for­mer Mem­ber for Indi, So­phie Mirabella who is keen to make a come­back.

Watch­ing on the side­lines, dis­il­lu­sioned vot­ers and the me­dia’s po­lit­i­cal junkies wring­ing their hands with glee at the prospect of more blood let­ting yet to come.

Who needs enemies: Can­di­dates for Euroa dur­ing last year’s elec­tion cam­paign, Steph Ryan (Na­tion­als), Tony Sch­nei­der (Lib­eral) and Clare Mal­colm (La­bor).

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