29th July 2010
Although an independent candidate for the rural seat of Mayo, I was most disappointed at the announcement by the Nationals in SA of their decision to not contest any seats in this state.
Admittedly, on more than one occasion I have criticised the position taken by Nationals leadership on a variety of issues in the Stock Journal. It has been disapppointing the party's leadership has been silent on issues such as the financial burden on farmers stemming from the former government's debt forgiveness for Iraq, population pressure on arable land, the threats to primary producers' livelihoods posed by poorly planned Free Trade Agreements, WTO dictatorial attitudes and reduced quarantine regulations, not to mention the general impression that the leadership would prefer to keep urban based Liberals on side rather than speak out in defence of regional communities.
However, despite faults with interstate leadership, no one can doubt the connection and loyalty the grassroots Nationals membership have towards their communities and their first hand understanding of the invaluable role played by primary producers in the economic welfare of our nation.
This has been clearly supported by the calibre of candidates the Party has often produced, as could be seen by the performance of people such as Deb Thiele in previous elections.
One can understand the desire to conserve resources for a solid campaign effort in future, but the decision by the local Nationals to not contest one seat or even provide a Senate team to give regional South Australians a choice and to hopefully stimulate some debate on issues of concern to us leaves the democratic process so much poorer as a result.