Back in April 2012 I reported the possibility that Richard Torbay might run for New England as a National Party candidate. Then Richard said in part:
Asked how strongly he was considering a move to federal politics, Mr Torbay said: “Well, I have made no secret of my disappointment about the trashing of the independent brand.
“There’s no doubt it’s been damaged by a hung Parliament, and that’s been very disappointing from my perspective.
“We’ve seen that reflected in a number of State polls, where Victoria now doesn’t have any more independents in their Parliament; there were three lost at the last NSW election; and at the recent Queensland election we saw three independents go.
“So, there’s no doubt there’s been massive brand damage, and that’s what I think has caused these approaches to occur.”
Richard was endorsed as National Party candidate for New England, but was then forced to withdraw, something I reported on in Thank you Richard Torbay. Richard's decision to run, the reasons he gave, marked the end of the rise of the New England independents movement. As Richard noted, the rise of the independent had come to an end. But it was only in New England that there was anything approaching an independent political movement.
Given events that had occurred, I thought that I might tell a little of the story of the New England independents. This had begun with a post on my history blog, Introducing the story of the New England Independents.
My story on Richard's resignation attracted a few tart local comments. In this series, I simply want to place the independents in an historical context.