NEW ENGLAND NEWSLETTER FOR JUNE/JULY 2016
A SWEET WIN FOR BARNABY
The re-election of Barnaby Joyce as the Member for New England was the culmination of a marathon campaign with plenty of roadblocks. Barnaby had just about every candidate preferencing against him, and the unions and GetUp moved into Tamworth to picket his office and do as much as possible to disrupt his campaign. But that is when the strength of the Nationals campaign team, members and supporters shone through as they refused to be bullied and ensured the booths were manned for pre-poll and on election day. Barnaby’s primary vote was 52% and on two candidate preferred it was Barnaby 58.50% to Tony Windsor 41.50%. Pre-poll was extremely important and gave Barnaby a great platform for election day as you will see from the pre-poll numbers below –
ARMIDALE – Barnaby 3,888; Tony Windsor 2,237
INVERELL – Barnaby 2,443; Tony Windsor 888
TAMWORTH– Barnaby 6,693; Tony Windsor 4,479
TENTERFIELD – Barnaby 872; Tony Windsor 277
MUSWELLBROOK - (acting as Upper Hunter pre-poll) – Barnaby 534, Tony Windsor 169.
In the Senate, I am honoured to be re-elected and I thank everyone who supported me. In a normal election cycle I would not have been up for election and would have finished on the 30th of June, 2020. Normal Senate convention in these circumstances is that the first six Senators elected would serve six years, and the next six (which includes me) would serve three years ending on the 30th of June, 2019. But that method is yet to be decided. Regardless it will be the end of my parliamentary service as I will not be seeking re-election after this term. Overall the Nationals did very well with one additional Lower House member and a total of 22 now in the party room. Kevin Hogan retained the North Coast seat of Page despite Labor and the unions throwing huge resources into the seat to try and claim it back. In Cowper, polls had Independent Rob Oakeshott with a big lead but Luke Hartsuyker ran a grassroots campaign and prevailed. We welcome to the party room Damian Drum who has been elected to the seat of Murray. Damian spent 14 years in the Victorian Parliament and is a former coach of the Fremantle Dockers AFL team. I am particularly pleased to see the Member for Riverina Michael McCormack given the Small Business portfolio as one of nine Nationals who have Ministerial appointments. I am looking forward to the next three years under the leadership of Barnaby and Senator Fiona Nash. Parliament will resume on the 30th of August with 7 weeks of sittings and Senate estimates scheduled.
The slow count has raised questions as to why we don’t vote electronically. A joint parliamentary committee in 2014 found that machine electronic voting at a polling place is vulnerable to hacking to some degree. This can be mitigated by a system that not only records your vote electronically, but also produces a printed ballot for physical counting and later verification. The report said we can progressively replace the paper roll at each polling booth with an electronic interconnected roll. With an interconnected electronic roll, when your name is crossed off and you are provided with a ballot, it will be almost simultaneously crossed off at every other booth. That will reduce the opportunity for multiple voting in your name at other polling places and will reduce administrative errors.
Written and authorised by Senator John Williams, 144 Byron Street, Inverell, 2360.
During the election campaign Barnaby made a number of funding announcements including – $1.5 million for a new roundabout at the junction of the Tingha Road and Glen Innes Road in Inverell;
- $5.4 million to upgrade the Merriwa to Willow Tree Road to allow for complete B-double access;
- $10 million for further planning and site acquisition for the Tenterfield bypass which should be under construction in two years time;
- $20 million for the Scone bypass project and with an additional $10 million from the State government construction will commence in 2018;
- $1 million for the Armidale Airport roundabout;
- $10 million towards drought-proofing Werris Creek, Willow Tree and Quirindi;
- $12 million with a matching contribution from the State government to complete the upgrade of the Legume to Woodenbong stretch of the Mount Lindesay Highway;
- $550,000 for a feasibility study into increasing water security in the Border Rivers through a new dam on the Mole River and $850,000 for a feasibility study into augmenting the Dungowan Dam to increase long-term water security in the Peel and Namoi Valleys.
- Establishing a Centre of Agricultural Excellence at the University of New England by co-locating the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.
- $1.2 million over three years in research and development to boost disease control, biosecurity and reproductive capabilities in the Australian thoroughbred industry.
- New mobile phone base stations at Copeton Dam, Fig Tree Hill south of Inverell, Kingstown and Baldersleigh.
LIVE EXPORTS FACTS
The Meat Industry Employees Union claim live exports are causing the lack of cattle for domestic processing and therefore attributes to job losses. These claims are false – processors will tell you there was a huge turn-off of numbers during the drought, and now conditions have improved producers are rebuilding their herds. In fact red meat processor JBS said in March there should be no cap on live export numbers and government should not intervene. The company said it is up to the industry to be more competitive and there has to be live exports and processing so the producer gets the best return. JBS said processors are being hurt by operating costs and government red tape.
OPENING OF ABINGTON BRIDGE
The Federal and State governments combined with Uralla Shire Council to provide the new Abington Creek Bridge between Bundarra and Uralla. The old single-lane timber bridge has been replaced by a dual-lane concrete bridge which was constructed by Uralla Shire Council. The Federal and State governments each contributed $705,000 and Uralla Shire Council contributed $43,000 as well as managing the project. I joined with NSW Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay, Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall and Mayor of Uralla Shire Michael Pearce to open the bridge on the 28th of June. It follows the opening earlier this year of the new Emu Creek Bridge just south of Bundarra to replace an old and dangerous structure. Federal funding has already been announced to replace Munsies Bridge which is the last timber bridge in Uralla Shire.
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