Thursday, June 03, 2010

New England delegation meets then NSW Opposition Leader Askin

I wasn't feeling like a detailed post today. Instead, I decided just to run a photo with brief comments. I ended up spending far more time than I had available with limited reNew State relegation meets NSW Opposition leader Askinsults.

All I really wanted was a photo that would show some aspect of past New England life. For the life of me, I couldn't find what I wanted.

This photo from the State Library of NSW shows a New England New State Movement delegation meeting then NSW Opposition Leader Robert Askin. This is the only New England New State Movement Photo in the entire Picture Australia collection.

No date is given, nor are are any names identified. There are two faces that I know but cannot for the life of me attach names too. However, I can tell you this much.

Since Mr Askin is opposition leader, this was prior to the 1965 State election at which Mr Askin became premier. The grant of a referendum on New England self-government was an election commitment. This, a commitment to a new referendum, is something that some of us want to work for at the 2010 election.

Immediately to the left of Mr Askin is Peter Wright (poet Judith Wright's brother) who was chair of the Movement's Executive Committee. Peter's personal contribution to New England causes was quite remarkable. To the right is Davis (Bill) Hughes who was member for Armidale.


Greg said...

Jim - don't know if you are aware, but a stoush is brewing in Newcastle today.

The Fix Our City mob are holding a rally later this afternoon in the hope of forcing Macquarie Street to make a definitive decision on the HDC CBD renewal report. That report, among other things, recommends removal of the rail line into Newcastle Station with a new terminus to be built some 2.5km west at Wickham.

The Save Our Rail Mob are planning an alternative rally in opposition. As their name suggests - they want the rail line to Newcastle retained.

For some reason there seems to be no room for compromise between the two groups despite the fact that they both believe that they have the best interests of the city at heart.

I mention this because it is typical of the emotions bubbling over in Newcastle. I suspect that Macquarie Street will be able to turn away and do nothing because the city is divided. Not that I necessarily believe that it is the job of NSW to "fix" Newcastle, but it is certainly not helping.

This is likely to lead to more resentment towards Macquarie St because nobody is gets what they want. FOC aren't getting the rail line cut and SOR aren't getting a commitment to keeping it open. There is just ongoing uncertainty which is good for nobody.

I will raise my hand and confess that I believe that the rail line should not only be retained, but that light rail should again run in the CBD and suburbs of Newcastle. I certainly do not believe that the issues facing Newcastle have their roots in a couple of km of rail track and I don't believe that closing it will fix anything. It may just make matters worse.

Public transport may be the hook in Newcastle. Macquarie Street just isn't interested.

Mark said...

I listened to 2NC this morning and the comments were interesting. Divide and conquer is alive and well in the Lower Hunter! I was going to ring up but the context was completely wrong. Better left for when FOC get a knock back from Macquarie Street. The time then will be very ripe for seed planting.

I found plenty of historical newspaper articles today on the pre and post war New State Movement. The Movement was certainly much bigger than what I first thought. Annual conferences and over 250 delegates! Meetings with Prime Ministers and Premiers too. Very much a non political build up of people although generally supported by the Country Party(Your point is now firmly embedded into my mind Jim!). Many were primary producers, business, local councils. Who would fill these shoes in today's context?

Many of the articles were written when New England had a larger population than WA, SA and Tasmania and only just smaller than Queensland.

There is so many similiarities between the pre and post war Movement grievances, goals and basic statistics to those today. Decentralisation and greater representation are the big words for today as they were then. With annual conventions to fine tune ideas across a broad spectrum, this can at least reach and touch mainstream voters for a future vote on the issue.

Jim Belshaw said...

Greg, I will follow Newcastle developments with interest.

Mark, I am glad that you are digging into the history. It was a much bigger movement than is often realised.