Keith Duncan, Pimlico
For three years now, us residents of the Northern Rivers have watched in awe as Nationals candidates in these North Coast electorates relentlessly engaged in highly publicised ‘pork-barreling’ campaigns. Their leader John Barilaro is now nicknamed ‘Porkbaril-aro’, with recent Sydney blow in for the Nationals, candidate for Ballina, Ben Franklin assigned to ‘roll out the barrel’.
Burning questions in the electorates that the Nationals have held for decades include: why do they have to resort to so much pork-barreling to get re-elected; why was public infrastructure so neglected; and why does the per-capita expenditure in regional NSW lag so far behind Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong?
And why did we have to engage in such a protracted campaign, risking arrest by the riot squad at Bentley to stop an unwanted CSG. Industry being forced upon us by the Nationals, who eagerly and very quietly re-issued all of the PELs against massive public opposition.
A new political movement has emerged in regional Australia, called ‘Anyone but Nats’. It supports progressive independents to run against sitting Nationals, and already has had success both in NSW and Victoria.
Nationals should no longer be elected on the back of random pork-barreling promises coupled with blatant disregard for environmental and progressive policies.