Don’t choke, ok?
This first appeared in it’s original form at Kathryn Crosby’s Begin Rant blog. She is a PR specialist.
I really feel for the Nationals. They lost their way for a long time, allowing the Liberals to bully them too much, allowing the Liberals to portray them as being more conservative – when it is actually the other way around. Recent moves in the party towards open primaries to select candidates, and the stunning win of the party faithful to get the party to adopt a formal policy against the internet filter, need to be rewarded and encouraged.
I also want to encourage the Nationals to return to being a political force in their own right – tell the Liberals to get stuffed, and keep representing your constituents.
Nationals are often regarded as being more rebellious than their Liberal colleagues. But when you look at their so called rebellious moves what they are doing is actually representing their constituents.
Fiona Nash in particular knows what it is like to be punished by the Liberal Party machine for doing what was right by their constituents… and I want all members of parliament to represent their constituents first – so I want to encourage the Nationals to stay in parliament as much as possible. Again, they need to tell the Liberals to get stuffed.
If Kath was advising the Nationals – which neither her or I think will ever happen – She’d be telling them to walk away from the coalition. It does them no favours. Ok sure, a few of them got to be ministers for a while, but what good is that if you need to constantly violate your ideals and your supporters just to stay on the team?
Imagine how different the Senate would be if the Nationals were an independent block? If the Government of the day had the option of dealing with the Nationals or the Greens? You can use that same argument on a State level with New South Wales with the Legislative Council.
I care deeply about rural and regional Australia (RARA). I’m passionate about rural development, and parity of service, and lots of other issues that lots of people never have on their radar unless they live in rural Australia. When you know what it is like to be sick, and the only way you can get the help you need is to get on a plane – or know that the only way your kids can get the education they need is to leave home – or to know the planning that is required just to go to town… then you have a very different view of the world.
I’ll give you an example. The Federal Government’s water buy back program has no real structure or planning – they’re just getting water out of the system. But if they buy up too much water from one area, they seriously threaten the survival of that entire town. They haven’t thought about that, they’re just buying water out of the system. Those who get it aren’t opposing getting water out of the system – they pretty much all know that we’ve over allocated it – but they want to make sure that in doing so you don’t kill off entire towns. I think Tony Windsor calls this the Swiss Cheese effect.
Those who advocate for RARA are often misunderstood. That’s understandable – because they are talking from a completely different world view. There are people sitting around in inner city cafe’s accusing farmers of all kinds of environmental atrocities because they don’t understand that Farmers are our best land stewards… but they are often constrained by green tape from best managing the land in their care, and they speak from a different place and with different language, so inner city greenies don’t hear what they are saying.
Often the services that are being asked for by regional communities are things that people in cities take for absolute granted. Every time I hear people in Sydney complaining about overfull trains running 3 minutes late, I want to tell them to be grateful they have a train service. When I hear people complaining about their inability to get a doctor to bulk-bill, I want to tell them to be grateful they have GPs that they can get in to see. Every time I hear complaints about city roads and needing more lanes or more motorways, I want to take them for a drive along the dirt/poorly sealed roads that connect many rural communities in NSW.
That is not because I don’t hear their complaint – I just think it pales in comparison. I have a different world view.
The reality is that both city and rural Australians have issues that need addressing which are equally important. And both need people advocating on their behalf. This is why we need the Nationals and why they need to tell the Liberals to get stuffed. The alternative is the rise and rise of the Independents. The current true representation of RARA. They’ve even finally gotten a voice in national government. There are no Independents running for my State seat. Even if there was that doesn’t guarantee them my vote.
Kath’s rant was a view that she took into the Federal Election. It is a view I take into the NSW State Election.
I say this despite the fact I know the tail cannot wag the dog. I will give the Nationals my number 1 vote this State election, as I did on the last, and trust they will keep representing those who have a different view of the world. A regional and rural view of the world. They will have the power with a likely O’Farrell lead government, I trust they will manage it in their constituents best interest – responsibly.