The New South Wales National Party takes a dim view of those who leave the fold.
Former Member for Port Macquarie Rob Oakeshott was branded a "turncoat" when he left the party to become an Independent in 2002, while current Liberal MP Leslie Williams was labelled a "defector" when she resigned from the Nationals in 2020 over its koala protection policy.
And yet, despite this history of public name calling (something all too common in all major parties), it was still a surprise to hear State Chairman Andrew Fraser ratchet up the rhetoric at the National's annual conference, currently underway in Port Macquarie.
In what was a blunt and thinly-veiled dig at Mrs Williams, he flagged what is shaping up to be a bitter battle for this electorate at the March 2023 state election.
"The Liberal Party have been and always will be coalition colleagues," he told delegates on Friday (June 17), "but they are also our enemy."
As the Nationals actively canvas pre-selection contenders, it is clear Mrs Williams won't be engaging in smack talk.
In response to Andrew Fraser's battle cry, she was customarily diplomatic. She told the Port Macquarie News: "Every community... deserve[s] to be represented in Parliament by members that are focused on their needs, their priorities and their aspirations. They also rightly expect to always have policy overshadowing politics."
In The Macleay Valley, the bitterness is directed at our political processes, rather than any one individual.
The Macleay Argus has started hearing from potential contenders for "Take 2" of the Kempsey Shire Council elections. We've also heard from those in the community angry at how much it will cost (estimates are around $500k).
The by-election for all eight councillor positions is the result of a failure in the New South Wales Electoral Commission's iVote system which saw 34 approved users unable to vote in last December's poll.
In his column this week, Mayor Leo Hauville, whose position is not being re-cast, wrote that the Supreme Court's decision to void the original result "has left a sour taste in all our mouths". He noted the toll it would take on those who thought they were successfully elected.
"Like many people, I have found the whole process frustrating and anger inducing," he said. But he also conceded that laws must be followed no matter how "distasteful".
The by-election will be held on July 30.
Editor, North Coast (ACM)
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.