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Did Eden-Monaro voters send both major parties a message?


WITH LABOR’S KRISTY McBain claiming victory on preferences with a very slim margin — for which we are thankful, not least because who needs another climate change sceptic in federal parliament? — the outcome begs the question: what were voters telegraphing?

editorial-comment-iconNeither major party came through with a roaring endorsement from the electorate, no reflection on Kristy McBain whose record and personality promise an approachable, hardworking and ‘across the issues’ local member.

IMAGE SOURCE: Kristy McBain via ABC Riverina, Facebook. Background, Eden-Monaro electorate, District Bulletin composite.

With a crowded field of 14 candidates there was plenty of opportunity to send a message by marking an independent or a minor party as number 1. In the end more preferences flowed to Labor. From a progressive and planet-friendly perspective that’s a good thing.

It was a shame that the National’s uncharismatic and locally divisive candidate — known for his opposition to a popular rail-trail proposal on the Queanbeyan Palerang Council — slightly outpolled the Greens. The Greens candidate, notably another woman, hailed from the South Coast and was not well known elsewhere.

That may just happen in a recently-redrawn rural-dominated electorate (now the size of Switzerland, we read), carrying many traditional National Party adherents.

The Greens while never likely to be elected still unveiled a suite of innovative policies to get us out of our environmental and economic mess.

Unhappiness with the slow rate of Coalition help for bush-fire affected communities was no doubt a top message, tempered by the realisation that there is a limit to what a party in opposition can do for those still living in tents six months after the fires and waiting to hear from their government. One can read the tea leaves and say that the Coalition’s climate action laggard stance is woven in there. But neither did Labor make climate action a top agenda item.

The message to Labor may be: don’t sit on the fence, be a strong advocate for our future on this planet. Independents like Karen Porter and minor parties like Sustainable Australia and also the Hemp party got votes urging progressive change, along with the Greens. If the NSW state election was any guide, we suspect that the Shooters and Fishers and their preferences were again sending a message of disgust for what they see as rural policies of neglect by the Nats and the Libs, ie the Coalition.

Here are ABC live results of the outcome as of Sunday 5 July.

Stay well!

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