Two of three by-elections in NSW have seen the Nationals suffer more massive swings against them.
In Cootamundra, the Nationals held onto the seat but suffered a 19.4% swing against them with Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party candidate Matthew Stadtmiller receiving 23.3% of the primary vote in a solid first outing.
In Murray, there was a 19.2% swing away from the Nationals after preferences with SFFP candidate Helen Dalton picking up 46.5% of the vote.
There was also the usual last minute dirty tricks by the Nationals, where a John Barilaro staffer was seen handing out unregistered material – namely John Howard and Tim Fischer’s infamous letter. Shame she wasn’t handing out material about John Barilaro’s rubbish treatment of David Dunstan.
It was always going to be a tough ask for the SFFP to take two safe Nationals seats. Although the swings against the Nationals were not as large as the Orange by-election, the showing of support on the primary vote and the swing away from the Nationals is remarkable and a solid platform for the SFFP going forward to the next state election.
Despite not taking the seats, this is a great result for the SFFP and shows that there is real discontent with the Liberal Party lap-dog Nationals, and their agenda of continuing to sell out rural Australia and stand for nothing except what the Liberals tell them to, has worn well and truly out with the electorate.
Even the Daily Telegraph, who was at the forefront of a Nationals-funded, Murdoch propaganda campaign against the SFFP conceded that John Howard’s authoritarian letter backfired:
“Even before the counting finished the blame game began over how two of the party’s safest seats could become have ever become so vulnerable, with internal debate to be dominated by the NSW Nationals’ party office decision to bring guns into the debate by using a letter to voters from former Prime Minister John Howard, warning against any loosening of gun laws.
“People are already questioning the strategy of using a letter by John Howard warning how the Shooters will weaken gun laws,” said a senior Nationals source.
“You don’t tell country people you are going to take away their guns.”
Well, no kidding. You also don’t get in the press the same week and tell Australians’ that they “shouldn’t have a bill of rights.” No-one likes an authoritarian and perhaps John Howard and his former Nationals lap dog Tim Fischer, who is due to appear on Q&A on Monday night, would be best to just go quietly off into the night with their six-figure annual pensions.
A clear warning shot has been sent to the major parties ahead of the NSW state election in 2019, as well as the QLD and Victorian state elections next year, where more marginal Nationals seats will be in the crosshairs.
Make no mistake, the Nationals are on the way out and these are the desperate last throes of a failing party.
Lie down with dogs, Nationals….