Nationals need to be more independent

Sep 8th, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

Ross Fitzgerald: Rob Oakeshott’s thumping win on Saturday in the NSW north coast federal seat of Lyne may have wide repercussions. The loss of the seat held by retiring Nationals leader Mark Vaile since 1993, and by the Country-National Party since 1949 when the seat was created, spells trouble federally for the Nationals.

Despite a strong performance in the June by-election for Gippsland (which is the Nationals heartland), Oakeshott’s crushing victory in Lyne is a clear example of how, if they are offered the choice of an independent candidate with a strong track record, electors in regional and rural areas who feel their local interests aren’t being addressed or are being sacrificed to other interests, will vote based on the performance of individual candidates, and not because of party allegiances.

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