While I still haven't had time to look properly at the detail of the regional development package agreed between the two independents and the Government, writing the post did at least give me an opportunity to start fleshing out some views.
The reaction to the decision to support the ALP expressed in comments by some in Mr Windsor's electorate has been quite savage. You can get a feel for this if you read the comments on the Northern Daily Leader editorial, Why Windsor is right. One of the milder comments and the editor's response captures the conflict:
I read with interest your article regarding why you believe Mr Windsor made the correct decision, please allow me to elucidate to you why he was wrong and indeed correct some of your unreasonable assumptions. Firstly, Mr Windsor was wrong because he represents an electorate that more closely aligns itself with the conservative side of politics. That is the primary reason. Windsors disingenuous blather regarding it not being about political ideology is trite in it's condescension. There are sides to politics for a reason, and generally that reason is because the "other" side is anathema to those who have opposite political ideals. Want more? The Coalition won the primary vote. Labor incidentally only attained an 8% primary in NE. The Coalition won more seats. The Coalition to this point has won the two party preferred. Cont.
Ed note: Mr Windsor is an independent - a political position with a long and distinguished history. Your argument would reduce him to a poll-driven robot (something akin to his view of the major parties).
Posted by windsors wrong, 9/09/2010 2:21:23 AM, on Northern Daily Leader
All of those years ago when I was active in the Country Party/National Country Party, one of the constant problems faced by those like me who wanted to bring about longer term change for the future of the Party, lay in the fact that some of our greatest supporters were anti-Labor first, Country Party second.
This created a constant tension: the Party was expected to deliver, but could only do so so long as it did not upset arrangements with the Liberals too badly. This gave a very narrow window in which to move.
Whether one agrees with the independents' actions or not, it's going to be interesting to watch events unfold. It remains my feeling that all this does give us an opportunity to get a greater focus on needs across the broader New England.
In a post today on Australian Observer, Regional development: a bit of history, Paul Barratt reminded me of the decision in 1998 to change the name of the Federal Department of Transport and Regional Development to the Department of Transport and Regional Services. Such a minor thing, just the substitution of the word Services for Development, yet quite significant.