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March 31, 2023

Election 2023 – Lismore: Matthew Bertalli for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party

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Matthew Bertalli – I’m willing to try. I’m more than willing to give it a crack. I really enjoy politics. Photo supplied.

Living and working on the western edge of the Seat of Lismore, Matthew Bertalli will stand in the March election for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.

What is your big number one issue that you’re looking at going into this election?

‘I’d like to push healthcare over a broad spectrum in regional Australia in general, but also specifically in the Lismore electorate. My fiancé Rose and I just had a baby boy – Rafael. We ended up having to go up into Queensland, up to Stanthorpe, to have our baby. 

‘I think you should be able to have a baby in every hospital in New South Wales. I’m talking about being able to safely deliver babies in every hospital in New South Wales because I find that that that to me is a pretty good indicator as to how good the healthcare system actually is in the state.’

People who aren’t members of parliament would certainly get the impression from watching the television that it’s a bunfight. How are you prepared for that sort of life in NSW Parliament? 

‘Realistically, I don’t think anybody can actually really be 100 per cent prepared for it unless you’ve been in it for the majority of your adult life.

I’m willing to try – I’m more than willing to give it a crack. I really enjoy politics. I’m an avid listener and watcher of question time and I watch all the live streams of Parliament. 

Matthew Bertalli with his fiancé Rose and their beautiful baby boy Rafael. Photo supplied.

What do you do for work?

‘I’m a biosecurity officer for the New England Weeds Authority up here on the tablelands. Basically what I do is I’m responsible for the Glen Innes Shire Council Area and I many helped manage all of the council lands. So that’s all the regional roads – any of their publicly held land by the council.

‘The other big thing that we do is we inspect properties for weeds, mainly looking for new incursions. So stuff that’s not in the area currently. Then there are other things that are more compliance-based. Everyone has a responsibility to manage weeds. Part of our job is to enforce the Biosecurity Act brought in 2015.

Why is it important to you that you’re in Parliament?

‘I suppose one of the big things is – after leaving school I started picking up more and more of an interest in things and I’m sort of a bit sick of just whinging about it. I want to try and do something about the issues that I have. 

I think it’s important people to have a voice with someone more local. Part of my job is interacting with landholders. I don’t want to be someone that just sits in an office and ponders over policy. I want to be out there and I’d like to listen to people find out what their issues are and then bring that to the forefront instead of just sort of looking at things as numbers in an office.’

Looking New South Wales Parliament at the moment what is the thing that frustrates you the most?

‘Oooooh. It’s a long list! Probably the most frustrating thing I find at the moment is that there’s a bit of a lack of funding towards environmental stuff – specifically towards biosecurity around weeds, yes, my area, but also around feral pests. But there is a lack of funding for the environment in general. 

And then, once again, just the state of the healthcare system, how it’s just gotten to the point now in New South Wales – it’s pretty damning in my opinion.

Some people might see the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers and I think it’s just guys in big hats, shooting rabbits with 400 fishing rods hanging out the back of their utes, but that’s not what it is. What do you see as the essence of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers?

‘Originally, obviously, the party did start out as like a single issue around guns after the federal buyback, but over time it has evolved to encompass more things and now the party, I guess the best way to put it is, we are an alternative to the National Party. For so long the Nationals have been the party of choice in regional Australia and they’ve never had to fight for that, and as a result, they’ve become complacent and I really don’t think that they represent the best interests of regional Australia anymore. 

Why the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers?

‘Living in Brewarrina is when the party first caught my attention. I saw what they were doing for regional areas and felt that they were better representing the country.

‘I believe that they are a better representative for regional NSW. The Nationals no longer have the best interest of regional Australia in mind. Now all the Nationals do is hold the country hostage under the belief that there is no other option for regional areas.

‘I want the SFF party to be an actual party of regional Australia not just in name but in action.’


The Echo has asked all Lismore Seat candidatesMatthew Bertalli, Adam Guise, James McKenzie, Vannessa Rosayro, Alex Rubin and Janelle Saffin MP – to answer the same set of questions.

See all the candidate interviews here.

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  1. The SFF seems to have found a reasonable candidate.
    They have passed the ‘wacky mob’ stage it seems. If only the Nationals had reached this stage!

  2. Yeah, the party currently run by Robert Borsak who likes to spend his money on trips to Africa to shoot elephants for fun.
    No thanks.

    • Neon, too trite and dismissive by half.
      In reality culling of excess/old elephants is sanctioned by the respective Arican States.
      Because this allows additional national conservation income, local jobs and meat donated to local villagers.
      Knowing what this all this cash is worth to their communities, they then assist in the conservation of all wildlife for important tourism income.
      Consequently, giving such $ worth to older/excess elephants, there are less villager attacks on elephants during their fatal rampages on their dwellings/crops (less poaching too). Win-Win.

  3. John Tingle formed the Shooters Party in 1992, mainly due to the Unsworth NSW Guv’ use of current shooting massacres as the reason to prohibit self-defense as a valid legal reason for being granted a police firearms licence.
    He went on to be an MLC in 1995 for the Party – then steered law-abiding firearms owners/users through the hard Howard/Pt Arthur years of prohibitions, forced buy-backs and hateful discrimination.
    The endemic & irrational fear of LAFOs perhaps culminated in 1997, when PM Howard wore a flack-jacket to an orderly meeting of protesters primarily as a (successful) voter publicity-stunt.
    The SFFP has always (sic) been smeared as “wacky and dangerous” by politicians and city-centric Media, who really can’t understand the city/country gap and really don’t want to either.
    So all the best to Matthew Bertalli – I think he really gets it.

  4. [Maybe see above post over your caring concerns Wanderer.]
    The practical, unvarnished truth is out there, but personal research is needed to enable an open mind before prejudicial condemnation.
    SFFP members are active in controlling Australian invasive animals that adversely affect native fauna and flora :- such as foxes, cats, rabbits etc. Unlike some high-up in the “green movement” – they do ”practice what they preach’.

  5. Ok, wait…
    We’re supposed to believe this guy cares about the environment and National health care? The fact that his comments on the health system are based solely around his personal experience of health care speaks volumes…
    He wants everyone who desires one, to have a gun” Because that is working so well in the US…

    Still, if he can steal votes from the Nats, I’ll be happy.

  6. At least the SFF are actually working to achieve better outcomes for the electorates they have taken from the hopelessly incompetent and corrupt Nationals, a Labor victory is the obvious choice in Lismore, but any improvement on the Neolithic Nationals is good.


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