Vikki Campion guest post. High stakes in Hunter byelection

AT RISK of plunging the state into minority government, the NSW Upper Hunter byelection has taken hold as the premier political race. Each party knows that in order to win, they must return to pure bloodstock and stop the policy palominos prancing on with anti-ag and coal rhetoric.

The winner stands to hold the balance of power and determine policy direction far beyond the Hunter – while the losers will get a dire reflection on the imminent future of their party culture wars.

Its form guide is a political cup of local thoroughbreds, so the true test lies in whether the party ponies prancing around zero emissions targets can be reined in for the next six weeks.

Gone are the glory days where NSW country rugby rep George Souris took 70 per cent of the vote. Early polling indicates the Nationals are at 40 per cent, Labor at 30 per cent, and One Nation cannibalising the Shooters vote, taking them from 22 to 12 per cent.

Single-seat polling is fraught, and the mix of poverty and wealth, mining and ag, makes the Upper Hunter a pollster’s nag.

It’s divided by international studs and vineyards threatened by coal mines, shops in town who need the money from the coal mines, and the 7000 coal miners digging up $1.1bn in royalties.

Scone Race Day is probably the most uniting event on the calendar, where all sides come out for a punt: the Quirindi farmer, the Muswellbrook miner, the Pokolbin vintner, the super-wealthy squattocracy smattered down the valley, and the town mum who does her big shop in Tamworth or Maitland, dressed in her once-a-year race frock and fascinator with a bottle of champagne on the rug with her friends. The Shooters and One Nation are swapping preferences and challenging the same lower house seat for the first time, in an area that bestowed One Nation 22 per cent at the 2019 federal election, and the Shooters 22 per cent at the state election a few months earlier.

So while this race won’t stop the nation, it could well determine its future. One Nation and the Shooters have voted together to back coal jobs in the NSW Parliament.

Meanwhile, NSW Labor declared coal was dead at the last election, and just days ago Liberal Environment Minister Matt Kean put a gravestone on fossil fuels by 2035 on his favoured platform, the ABC. A loss or a swing against the government will be chalked up to Mr Kean, who has been a handicap to the Nationals candidate since the starting gate opened, having briefly handed the region’s mining future to Malcolm Turnbull before being forced to backflip and fire him.

In every betting circle, everyone has a different eye to what will win. Each thinks they can take the trophy and they all have fair odds.

The test for Labor will be keeping the dodgy jockeys, climate zealots, social entrepreneurs and possibly even Anthony Albanese away for the next six weeks. Watch the Nationals as they roll their true track workers in. There’s suddenly more Matt Canavans and John Barilaros on the ground, and zero Matt Kean.

After attacking coal for years, Labor has apparently had an epiphany, endorsing miner Jeff Drayton who unambiguously supports the industry he works in, and the well-resourced wing of the union he is an official of.

The Nationals have turned to the small business family man, David Layzell, a construction engineer who helped build Tamworth Hospital, while the Shooters run former mining nurse and head of the business chamber Sue Gilroy, a strong local with real experience.

One Nation is running Dale McNamara, a self-made man who worked in the mines for more than a decade and has business interests across the Hunter spectrum.

Even the outsiders have good form. Former Port Stephens mayor Bruce Mackenzie, hails from the old school Liberal stable. The Shooters need more time with their vet, plagued by crumbling branches, accusations of organisational nepotism and strappers moving to other stables, such as Singleton Mayor Sue Moore who once sought preselection for the Shooters before going to the Nationals stud.

When people wanted to focus on the Shooters’ runner, their leader Robert Borsak, hailing from Sydney’s inner-west, paraded himself in the mounting yard speaking over the top of candidate Sue Gilroy. What’s the point of running a very capable woman if you won’t let her speak? The Shooters have voted with Labor 82 per cent of the time since 2019 and could lose party status if they fail to meet their financial membership cap with the NSW Electoral Commission by June 30.

With Whyalla in strife in South Australia, it is also a test for who will get out of the way of the Dendrobium Mine extension in the Illawarra which supplies BlueScope. Surely, if the empty shelves of COVID taught us anything, it had to be that Australia must keep its steel and manufacturing industry. A prancing palomino can win a race against a Shetland – but will be left dead last against Scone’s thoroughbreds.

The only certainty is the zero emissions target is not the horse to have a flutter on.

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47 Responses to Vikki Campion guest post. High stakes in Hunter byelection

  1. Dot says:

    The LDP candidate said bluntly…”like it or not, this region’s future is coal”.

  2. Herodotus says:

    A horse walks into a bar.
    Barman says “Hey, why the long face?”

  3. calli says:

    The Libs only have themselves to blame if they lose their majority. They were elected on a conservative platform (by and large) and have knifed their constituents.

    What did they expect? That, with the blade still shivering in their backs, their voters would tick the box? Just like rusted-on Labor zombies?

    Mat Kean, come on down. You infiltrated, you rose to influence and you have destroyed. Now p*ss off and join your socialist masters in the Labor party.

  4. miltonf says:

    Mat Kean, come on down. You infiltrated, you rose to influence and you have destroyed. Now p*ss off and join your socialist masters in the Labor party.

    Just Kean? What about the Premier herself and other Photios bots?

  5. calli says:

    Just one Example will do, miltonf.

    The others may yet be teachable.

  6. miltonf says:

    You’re more optimistic about the lieborals than me Calli. I hope Latho’s man gets up- interesting that Latho’s moved at that way. Great area btw.

  7. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare says:

    The others may yet be teachable.

    So far, the Libs in general are being shown to be very slow learners.

    It’s the climate nonsense. They’re buying it, and it will bury them.

  8. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare says:

    That was a lovely little canter through the field there, Vikki.

    Thank you for livening up this sorry mess with a good helping of metaphor.

  9. Petros says:

    Seems like some quality candidates there. Pity we don’t get those types running in other seats.

  10. Mark M says:

    Indonesian coal-fired capacity to rise by 14-16GW: PLN

    “Coal is expected to remain the dominant power source in Indonesia’s energy mix this decade, according to a report by state-controlled utility PLN, which expects 14-16GW of generation capacity to come on line by 2030.”

    … and we got the best, most efficient coal.
    Yet, traitors running our country won’t use it.

  11. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “calli says:
    April 17, 2021 at 7:25 am
    The Libs only have themselves to blame if they lose their majority. They were elected on a conservative platform (by and large) and have knifed their constituents.”

    Correct…and the NSW Photios Liberals have deliberately ignored their base for years now….until the righteous outrage over Turdbull’s appointment a few weeks ago…which was too loud for even them to ignore and so they suddenly woke up and listened to their base. The NSW Liberal government, bar a few exceptions such as Dominic Perrottet and David Elliott, is a left-wing progressive government. I have no doubts that Gladbag made a deal with that putrid, far-left inner city homosexual independent Alex Greenwich before the last state election in March 2019…hence the abortion laws and so on.

    And the NSW Nats are little better….in some respects just as green and progressive as the Liberals….Barilaro is unstable…remember he supported the abortion laws two years ago. He careers from one issue to another. Oh and remember Barilaro supported Turdbull’s appointment in the beginning only to backtrack which is seems to do quite a lot.

    A good piece Vikki. Personally, I’ll be happy to see the Nats lose the seat….If I lived in the electorate I’d vote One Nation.

  12. miltonf says:

    Yes there was definitely a quiet revolution in the National pardy.

  13. Up The Workers! says:

    Vote 1 Brown Movement (or their dull-witted religious cult acolytes from the Australian Liars Party) and have all your future power needs supplied by completely free Magic Wands and Fairy Dust.

  14. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    This is entirely about Matt Kean and the looney leftwing of the NSW Libs.

    I do hope SFF pick up the seat. The issue is whether annoyed votes will include preferences or exhaust. Without fed-up Lib ex-base voter preferences Labor will probably win, and that will make the green death of the state even more likely.

    When will the Libs learn that you will never get votes if you pander to the MSM and the left? They always hold out Lucy’s football enticingly then take it away and give it to the Greens and ALP.

    And global warming still isn’t happening – we’ve just had the coolest summer in my memory. The only significant thing that CO2 does (apart from send politicians insane) is to make plants grow better.

  15. Tom says:

    The Shooters have voted with Labor 82 per cent of the time since 2019 …

    Politically, that’s music to the ears of Mark Latham and One Nation. The locals aren’t stupid.

    An excellent form guide. Thank you, Vicki.

    Regards to your old man. You’re fortunate to be the fruit of his loins and he’s lucky to have you.

  16. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “I do hope SFF pick up the seat.”

    No BoN…I want One Nation to win the seat.

  17. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “An excellent form guide. Thank you, Vicki.

    Regards to your old man. You’re fortunate to be the fruit of his loins and he’s lucky to have you.”

    I second that.

  18. Petros says:

    Gladys has done well during the pandemic. Sanjeev has highlighted the fear out there about the virus. I’m predicting a win for the Libs.

  19. Mother Lode says:

    I hope Latho’s man gets up- interesting that Latho’s moved at that way. Great area btw.

    Agree. If Latho’s man gets in then the whole of NSW will have someone representing them in parliament.

    It is so weird to find myself cheering Latho on. When he first came to my attention he seemed just a thug. What a splendid metamorphosis.

  20. miltonf says:

    I don’t believe the libs are actually running. The LNP and Labor aka Unipardy deserve to lose.

  21. Woolfe says:

    We need thugs, look where being timid and polite has got the Libs and nats.

  22. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “Woolfe says:
    April 17, 2021 at 9:17 am
    We need thugs, look where being timid and polite has got the Libs and nats.”

    Quite so. Look where being timid and polite has got anyone on the right….no where.

  23. candy says:

    Ms Campion is a good writer.
    She’s an attractive lady. Very pretty hair.

  24. old bloke says:

    The only certainty is the zero emissions target is not the horse to have a flutter on.

    As Mr. Kirkup discovered recently out west.

  25. Penguinite says:

    [email protected]:25
    “The Libs only have themselves to blame if they lose their majority. They were elected on a conservative platform (by and large) and have knifed their constituents.”

    Precisely the same will be said about Federal Libs!

  26. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “Gladys has done well during the pandemic.”

    Yes….but Glad is a puppet of Photios. The fact that she, Kean and others thought it was a good idea to appoint Turdbull shows just how contemptuous the NSW Liberals are of their base. They only backtracked quickly because of the ensuing furore.

  27. Rockdoctor says:

    Little bone to pick, Layzell when I checked the day he was announced worked for Roberts & Co set up by one of the Multiplex lineage, hardly a small business unless he is doing the own ABN & contracting game that is common with my profession. Previous employment 6 or so years with Lendlease in the Williamtown upgrade. I note he has now hidden his Linkedin Profile in private mode, so he has to prove he is not another one of the fetid Sydney swamp. I note there seems to be a deliberate smokescreen to his background in play with the media.

    Personally living in the lower parts of the electorate IMO Nationals squibbed it when they passed over Sue Moore. In the Singleton area anyway I’m hearing Sue Gilroy SF&F will capture the lions share of votes. Drayton may sure up some of the union bruvva vote especially if Joel helps but I reckon a lot of ALP votes have already headed to One Nation in these parts and Latho has been seen in these parts regularly lately. Lot of independents with a distinct green tinge standing further up the valley that will hoodwink some especially round Murrurundi.

    Personally I reckon they think it will be won or lost round Singleton and with OPV a lot votes will exhaust before going to the majors. One interesting observation, mostly candidates drive through this place on the way to Scone or Muswellbrook which normally gets all the attention. Nice change, maybe we’ll get a few trinkets out of it…

  28. Davey Boy says:

    Nice bit of selective gaslighting by our Vikki, no vested interests at all, move along, nothing to see here.

  29. BorisG says:

    I’m predicting a win for the Libs.

    Are the Libs running a candidate?

  30. Snotball says:

    I love the quirky way Vikki writes. Can’t argue with the content either. She has hit the nail squarely on the head!

  31. miltonf says:

    Thanks for your insights Rockdoctor. Love that part of NSW. Great beaches, great country.

  32. Rockdoctor says:

    Nice bit of selective gaslighting by our Vikki, no vested interests at all, move along, nothing to see here.

    Yeah thought that but Campion’s partner is well known and her vested interest as well. The bottom half of the article was a pure plug, the Nat’s seem really spooked about their chances here.

  33. Baa Humbug says:

    Would have to go with Latham’s mob, surely?

  34. Fair Shake says:

    Calli @ 7:25 is the favourite by a length.

    Good post Vikki.

  35. Rayvic says:

    “Ms Campion is a good writer.”

    It is sad that she can’t think/see her way past man-made global warming.

  36. Rockdoctor says:

    miltonf, no problems have only been here 2 years and already getting a feel for the local political scene. I can only comment for the the lower areas of the electorate that happen to be more densely populated, the upper areas especially the horse stud’s and tree changer areas are slowly greening but over the Murrurundi Gap it is still Nat’s Territory. Down my way mostly ALP vs Nat’s from what I can glean that was shattered when SF&F came on the scene. All the young country boy/miner blue collars seem to be firmly in that camp now, which was a trend I saw in NQ before I left with Katter’s Australia Party. Nat’s would have to be alarmed at this.

  37. Petros says:

    We Cats do not think like the majority.

  38. Mark M says:

    Nothing says f you like boasting how you hoodwinked your voters …

    Sinodinos: “ … policies such as carbon pricing & taxation … we had to do it in ways more palatable.”

    Australia to use Biden summit to repair ‘climate wars’ damage

    https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/australia-to-use-biden-summit-to-repair-climate-wars-damage-20210413-p57iqx.html

    Note to Scotty from marketing: nothing palatable about your filthy ‘sustainable’ deception.

  39. miltonf says:

    And sinodinos was chief of staff to none other than JWH. Correct?

  40. miltonf says:

    He was the Chief of Staff to then Prime Minister John Howard from 1997 to 2006, after serving with him previously from 1987 to 1989 when he was Opposition Leader and rejoining him in 1995.[7] As a close confidant of the Prime Minister, he was regarded as one of the most powerful people in the country.[8

  41. Cardimona says:

    Nice bit of selective gaslighting by our Vikki, no vested interests at all, move along, nothing to see here.

    Davey Boy, it’s an opinion piece.

  42. Cardimona says:

    “Ms Campion is a good writer.”
    It is sad that she can’t think/see her way past man-made global warming

    Rayvic, I assure you, she can.

    I’ve encouraged her to write a series of columns demolishing the Great Global Warming Scam.
    However there are some in News Corpse that love the GGWS and don’t want it damaged.

  43. miltonf says:

    The bottom half of the article was a pure plug, the Nat’s seem really spooked about their chances here.

    Sure was eh. Both the Nats and Libs have cooked their goose as far as I am concerned.

  44. Cardimona says:

    Rockdoctor, BobKat has lost the plot.

    Recently he’s been banging on in the media about a new range crossing to connect Cairns to the Tableland.
    He thinks a straight surface road can be built across the range that will allow traffic to travel from Cairns to Mareeba in 20 minutes.
    It’s 38 km as the crow flies, ffs.

    Local range crossings are my special subject.
    Twenty-two years ago I raised a 4,500 signature pre-internet petition for a new range crossing that followed the Chalumbin to Woree powerline corridor and then the Lake Morris Road reserve – the sole viable route through the WHL-scrub.
    The ALP Brisbane govt ignored it.

    Afterwards BobKat started coming to me for range crossing information.
    I’ve explained endlessly that his phantom corridor just does not exist.
    I recently sent him these images – https://imgur.com/a/zmReQDk – harvested from Google maps 3D.
    The red outline in the first three is the area that he is sure contains his secret passageway.
    The fourth image is probably the only way it could get past the rabid greenleft now.

    Nonetheless, BobKat persists with his delusion – which has to be a sign of a mind in decline.

  45. Rockdoctor says:

    Saw that boondoggle in Cairns over Easter Cardi. Madness but Bob has pushed ethanol as well so has form. The one to watch on surface appearances is his son, Robbie seems to have a lot more smarts. Wonder if Robbie will jump to the Federal Arena when bob passes on the baton, noticed the head office is still in Sturt st Townsville after a brief stopover there on way back south.

  46. Rockdoctor says:

    Another reason the majors are on the nose around here is this wind farm, cattle farmers in the area don’t want it but Kean’s wet dream and AGL’s virtue signalling must roll on:

    https://www.singletonargus.com.au/story/7203610/bowmans-creek-wind-farm-eis/?cs=1534

    IMO slap it in the Liverpool Plains between Breeza & Qurindi, seems they are so keen on cuddling up with the greens reckon they would welcome it.

    Also saw just before Nat’s already been caught out with fake websites smearing SF&F, Wow this is going to get nasty.

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