Evans re­jects neg­a­tiv­ity

Southern Riverina news - - NSW ELECTION RESULTS -

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.’’

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