Evans rejects negativity
A disappointed Austin Evans has partly blamed a wave of negative campaigning for his demise after less than two years as the Member for Murray.
He won the seat in a 2017 by-election, narrowly defeating Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Helen Dalton.
But at the weekend he could not defend his 3.3 per cent margin against Ms Dalton and her strong water platform.
‘‘As a voter and a resident of New South Wales as well as a member of parliament I was very disappointed with the negative overtones of this campaign in Murray,” Mr Evans said.
‘‘People say they want things done, things to change and I agree with that.
‘‘I think I am right when I say there were more candidates for this seat than any other in New South Wales and independents can say, and promise, what they want because they know they will never have to deliver.
‘‘In the past 16 months the Coalition invested $500 million in this seat — that would not have happened if The Nationals had not been part of the government.’’
Mr Evans was scathing in his assessment of the role played in the election by the PASTORAL TIMES and the SOUTHERN RIVERINA NEWS.
He accused the papers of ‘‘deliberately misquoting’’ him and compounding that with ‘‘deceptive headlines’’.
‘‘I met with the management team of the papers and expressed my opinion about what they had done.’’
But he knew the real damage had been done and felt the paper was very pro the one candidate.
‘‘After we won the by-election in 2017 someone asked when did the campaign start for 2019,’’ Mr Evans said.
‘‘Well it started the day after the polls closed.
‘‘I always knew this election was going to be tight, just not that tight, and although I kept away from opinion polls I have to agree water is a huge issue, especially in the southern half of the electorate.
‘‘The challenge – for everyone – is how to fix it and there are suggestions to go as far as scrapping the whole Murray Darling Basin Plan or suspending it.
‘‘Helen Dalton campaigned on a platform of fixing the water and now she has to deliver.’’
Mr Evans said the weekend voting patterns saw all three major parties — his Nationals, the Liberals and Labor — go backwards in voter support. And agreed that it sent a message to them that people are taking their votes a lot more seriously and personally.
‘‘There’s no longer a commitment, or loyalty, to parties. If those parties can’t show what they can offer then this might become a feature of future elections.’’