Has been 44%; still is 44% - nothing new here

24 February, 2020
Has been 44%; still is 44% - nothing new here  Image

I read with interest the piece published in the Courier last week (New boundaries for Barwon electorate?) about concerns held by the Narrabri National Party branch.  Sadly, I was not asked for comment for the article at the time.

The Narrabri branch holds newly found concerns that the seat of Barwon, at 44% of the landmass of NSW, is too large for one Member of Parliament to effectively represent.

It's interesting that they were not concerned about the size of Barwon under the previous member and more telling that they are silent on the capacity of Federal Member for Parkes Mr Mark Coulton to represent 49% of the landmass of NSW.

Before the election in March last year, I campaigned extensively; I visited every single town and village in the electorate. Since being elected, I have been back to them. Many people in these communities have been kind enough to say before the election and more importantly since the election that they never been visited and talked with more than in this current term of Parliament.

People rightfully want to know that their Member of Parliament is active and interested.

A large seat is not for the work shy or those who put their personal political ambitions before being an honest representative.

This newfound theatrical concern from The Nationals does nothing to improve the position of our communities. Across the electorate, members of all political parties have found their way to my door, or I have found them. I have represented their issues, I have advocated on their part, and I have achieved results for them. The Narrabri Nationals say they want better outcomes for the community, and yet they haven’t found my office, right smack bang in the main street of town.

I am all for better representation of regional and rural NSW in State Parliament, do not get me wrong. More voices talking about rural issues, more people call for a fair share for the bush. I take this position because I genuinely care for the people that I represent. There is a reason that the seat of Barwon has more electorate offices, access to more resources to get into communities, and more electorate staff than any other seat. This is because of its size. In addition, I have taken the step of providing vehicles at my own cost, to my electorate office staff so they can reach out to remote communities. I note that no other Member in NSW has done that.

However, the type of change The Nationals are talking about is a change in the entire basis of the voting system of NSW where the size of each electoral district must be between a range of 46,461 and 56,785 number of voters.  Effectively this enshrines the principle of each vote equalling the same across the entire state. I doubt that attempting to make a change where a rural electorate has half the number of voters, as an urban electorate, would pass a vote in NSW Parliament where the vast majority of seats are located in Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong. I’m sure The National Party know that a vote would fail in the Parliament.

For my part, I will continue to work closely with National and Liberal Party Ministers to bring forward the concerns of the people of Barwon. I will continue driving thousands of kilometres a week, I will continue to answer every phone call and I will continue to advocate for the needs of every single person in Barwon.

In a little under three years’ time, there will be another election and am quite content to wait to the months preceding that before we start playing political games.

I will be in Narrabri on 16, 17 and 19 March, if people have concerns please get in touch with my office on 6792 1422 or drop in to 60 Maitland Street to make an appointment to see me.

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