It seems incomprehensible that a political party – one that claims grassroots origins – should say in its ‘About Us’ webpage that it believes in ‘decentralisation of power to our local communities’ when its practice is quite the opposite.
Parties often profess ideals at odds with their actual policies, but let’s take a step back first. It’s a party with Western Australian rural conservative roots that expanded after a few name changes to include all states in the 1920s. Its constituents were graziers and farmers who wanted – for obvious reasons – to limit union and workers’ rights while also pushing for protectionism (that’s government intervention to protect industry from overseas competition).
And sometime after inception, they aligned themselves with the Liberals at both a state and federal level and generally the pair have been known as ‘the coalition’ ever since.
Like a sucker fish to a shark, they are associated with hard-right policies (that’s free trade, not protectionism).
So fast track to now. Last week the federal Nats were reported by Fairfax as having their political donations rise ‘tenfold in four years’ from coal seam gas companies.
It reflects nicely in their future energy blueprint, which proudly boasts: ‘The coalition will introduce an Exploration Development Incentive that will allow investors to deduct the expense of mining exploration against their taxable income.’
At the state level, last week the NSW National Party faced internal squabbles with the dear Libs after a redistribution of NSW electoral boundaries. Turf wars aside, a freedom of information inquiry last week into communications between Metgasco and NSW Nationals Tweed MP Geoff Provest now no longer exist for public scrutiny. And having local Nationals MP Don Page in power should be beneficial to this community. But those 10,000 people seeking his support to make the region CSG free, or those wanting the return of the Bruns parks to Council could fairly claim he is the minister for Sydney, not his actual portfolio of the north coast.