Mi­nor threat

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - FRONT PAGE -

The lo­cal seat of Mur­ray is set to be the se­ri­ous tar­get of mi­nor par­ties in next year’s NSW Govern­ment elec­tion.

There is spec­u­la­tion the Shoot­ers Fish­ers and Farm­ers (SFF) Party and One Na­tion will join forces to tar­get re­gional seats.

SFF nar­rowly missed tak­ing the seat of Mur­ray in a by-elec­tion 12 months ago and would be strongly favoured to win the seat if it had One Na­tion sup­port.

Me­dia re­ports last week of a deal be­tween SFF and One Na­tion said any al­liance would “shake up pol­i­tics in Aus­tralia’s big­gest state”.

SFF won the seat of Orange at a by­elec­tion in 2016, end­ing a 69 year stint in that seat for The Na­tion­als.

It believes it would have won the seat of Mur­ray last year if not for a strong anti-gun cam­paign led by for­mer Prime Min­is­ter John Howard and for­mer Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Tim Fis­cher in the week be­fore the poll, which was ini­ti­ated af­ter an­other mass shoot­ing in the United States.

If SFF can hold its by-elec­tion vote at the state elec­tion next March and gain pref­er­ences from One Na­tion it could take the seat from sit­ting Na­tion­als’ mem­ber Austin Evans.

A Newspoll ear­lier this year sug­gested the elec­tion is on a knife’s edge with a 50:50 re­sult af­ter pref­er­ences, which could see a hung par­lia­ment in NSW with SFF or One Na­tion hold­ing the bal­ance of power.

Last year’s Mur­ray SFF can­di­date He­len Dal­ton, who has yet to of­fi­cially con­firm she will stand again in March but is ex­pected to do so, said yes­ter­day the peo­ple of Mur­ray are dis­en­chanted with the two ma­jor par­ties and their be­hav­iour, and are look­ing for a ‘‘cred­i­ble al­ter­na­tive’’ in the mi­nor par­ties.

‘‘There is no doubt we have been ig­nored, and yet peo­ple have been keep­ing their vote the same and ex­pect­ing a dif­fer­ent an­swer,’’ Ms Dal­ton said.

‘‘We have been ne­glected and treated as third class cit­i­zens, and they (the NSW Coali­tion Govern­ment) have also taken a lot of ser­vices away from us too.

‘‘They have had ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to re­in­state the forestry in­dus­try in De­niliquin and they’ve had ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to talk to lo­cals about wa­ter, but they are only do­ing it now.

‘‘De­niliquin and district in par­tic­u­lar is on its knees and some­thing needs to be done.’’

Mur­ray River Coun­cil­lor and for­mer Mur­ray Shire Mayor Tom Weyrich has ‘put up his hand’ as the elec­torate’s One Na­tion can­di­date, but is still wait­ing to hear if his of­fer will be ac­cepted.

Cr Weyrich has not ruled out seek­ing other ways to stand in Mur­ray if he is over­looked by One Na­tion, say­ing ‘‘there is no doubt we need a shake up’’.

‘‘I can al­ways stand as an in­de­pen­dent, and as we’ve seen they are the flavour of the month,’’ Cr Weyrich said.

‘‘There is no ques­tion the NSW Coali­tion has run its race in this area; they are mak­ing some or­di­nary de­ci­sions and spend­ing like a drunken sailor.

‘‘I think com­mu­ni­ties re­alise it is more than that though — there’s the cost of elec­tric­ity, NSW Plan­ning is in a state of dis­ar­ray, the head­liner is the forestry is­sue and the stance on wa­ter is do­ing im­mense dam­age and they should be bang­ing their fists on the ta­ble.

‘‘I am very dis­ap­pointed they are not pre­pared the de­fend the farm­ing sec­tor, given in this part of the world there are a lot of anom­alies in wa­ter (pol­icy).

‘‘Longer term we need some­one in there with a bit of mon­grel in them.’’

So far, The Na­tion­als’ in­cum­bent Mem­ber for Mur­ray Austin Evans is the only con­firmed can­di­date for the com­ing elec­tion. He was pre-se­lected in July.

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