National Party preselection candidates for the seat of Cowper must immediately declare where they stand on key issues like tax cuts, penalty rates, schools funding, new coal fired power stations, unemployment, the NBN and the banking industry.

The electorate needs to understand whether the Nationals are about to serve up more of the same or have candidates that understand the electorate, our needs and the future of the country.

We need to know whether they’re going along for the ride or will challenge their party on their chronic failure in Cowper. My hopes for whomever the National Party selects are not high. National Party nominations for Cowper close this Friday, 21 September 2018.

The issue at the upcoming election is not just the person. The issue is policy and what each of the major parties can offer the people of Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey and Mid-North Coast.

Sadly, we are at the bottom of many lists thanks to the Nationals. Our problems with unemployment, government services, pensions, housing affordability, fairness and equality are many, chronic and complex.

The new National Party candidate can have the best of intentions. But the reality is that their party, their policies and their coalition partner, the Liberals, will dictate how Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey and Mid-North Coast fares. And that’s not well.

We have had 55 years of continuous National Party representation in Cowper and that’s resulted in us under achieving and being left behind.

Ten yes/no questions which will tell you much about the new National party candidate are:

1. Are you like most Nationals and opposed to the Banking Industry Royal Commission?

2. Do you like most Nationals support the temporarily abandoned $80 billion in tax cuts for big business, including $17 billion for the banks?

3. Do you support The National’s removal of weekend penalty rates for potentially one-in-four workers in Cowper?

4. Do you think it is acceptable that general unemployment in many parts of Cowper under The Nationals is twice that of Sydney?

5. Do you think it is acceptable that youth unemployment in many parts of Cowper under The Nationals is now impacting 20 per cent of youth?

6. Do you support The Nationals’ plans for the construction of new coal fired powered stations and their push for nuclear power?

7. Do you support The Nationals’ war against clean renewable energy and real action on climate change?

8. Do you support the The Nationals’ decision to provide $22 million less for schools in Cowper in 2018 and 2019 than Labor?

9. Do you support The Nationals’ sub-standard roll out of the NBN in Cowper – or do you prefer Labor’s plan for fibre-to-the-curb?

10. Do you support The Nationals’ cuts across vital public services, like the ABC, TAFE, veterans entitlements, CSIRO, Medicare and apprenticeships.

On the morning after the election we are going to wake up with either Scott Morrison as the Coalition Prime Minister or Bill Shorten as the Labor Prime Minister. We can have either Coalition policies implemented or Labor polices implemented. We’ll be better off under Labor.

We won’t have an independent Prime Minister or a fringe party Prime Minister. People are sick of the chaos of the Liberal and National Parties and the circus brought about by the independents and fringe parties. We need good policy and stability and you will only get that with a majority Labor Government.

After years of under achievement and lost opportunity under the National Party, we need a strong voice inside the incoming Labor Government and we will only get that by electing a Labor member for Cowper.


Do you support Labor’s plan for a National Integrity Commission (a bigger and better ‘federal ICAC’)?

Why after 55 years of continuous National Party representation does Cowper have the fifth highest level of disadvantage in the country?

Why after 55 years of continuous National Party representation does Cowper have the highest percentage of people living below the poverty line in the country?

Why under the Nationals does Port Macquarie have a forecast employment growth rate twice that of Coffs Harbour?

Why is the number of jobs in primary industry (Agriculture, fisheries and forestry) forecast to fall by the federal government by 2.6 percent in Cowper between 2017 and 2018, when overall employment at the same time is expected to grow by eight per cent (over five years)?

Why are there 2,000 applicants on the public housing waiting list in Cowper?

Why are there 3,200 people on the public hospital waiting list in Cowper?

Do you support the government’s personal tax cuts which are half that of Labor’s for the average worker in Cowper?

Do you support the Federal Government’s cut for subsidised child care to one in five families on the North Coast?

Do you support the government’s cutting the pension to 750 people in Cowper and reducing the pension by an average of $132 a fortnight for another 2,000 pensioners?

Are you opposed to Labor’s changes to negative gearing to help young families and others into home ownership where many average house princes in Cowper is now over $500,000.

Do you support the Federal Government and Kempsey Shire Council giving $4m to a private developer to build a movie complex in Kempsey?


Had you had a vote, who would you have supported for PM? Turnbull, Abbott, Dutton, Morrison or Bishop?

Who do you support as National Party leader? Michael McCormack or Barnaby Joyce?

How did you vote in the Marriage Equality Plebiscite?

Do you support Australia having an Australian citizen as Head-of-State or do you want to keep The Queen of England as our Head-of-State?

Do you think Luke Hartsuyker did a good job for Cowper?


Updated: 16 September 2018