Voters in Rob Oakeshott’s NSW mid-north coast seat of Lyne say the deal he cut with Labor offers nothing for farmers and small towns.
Mr Oakeshott has been accused of ignoring the southern part of his electorate, where locals are struggling with the declining dairy farming industry, and where the independent MP failed to win some booths on election day.
The farmers believe the focus Mr Oakeshott and fellow independent Tony Windsor have put on regional affairs as their price for supporting a minority government excludes rural industries.
In the small dairy farming town of Comboyne, 60km southwest of Mr Oakeshott’s home base of Port Macquarie, the independent MP won 71 votes compared with 162 for Nationals candidate David Gillespie. Only 15 people in the town voted Labor.
Further southwest at the polling booth of Barrington, Mr Gillespie got more than double Mr Oakeshott’s vote, with a 60 per cent swing towards the Nationals.
Comboyne dairy farmer Rodney Fisher said he believed rural areas would be “a lot better off” if Mr Oakeshott had backed the Coalition to form government, rather than Labor. “I think he’s committed political suicide,” Mr Fisher said. “He’s just lucky we don’t live in the 1800s – someone would have gunned him down.”
I think most people knew that the farmers would not of been happy with the way Oakeshott went after the election, after all he was suppose to have been representing these people, it seems that a lot of these people in the rural areas don’t get their voices heard. As it stated in the article, the majority did not vote for him in these areas. I know a few people in Port Macquarie, and a lot of people have family and friends that have farms in outlaying areas, it is very much connected in a way. I’m sure Oakeshott will do everything possible to make sure the Government stays in power for the full term, if there was another election he may not get voted back in.