This past year has been dominated by the Federal Election, and the consequences that has had for Country NSW. Country Labor has been growing in membership, getting active and leading the charge over the last 12 months.
2016 kicked off with State Conference, which saw a remarkable debate on the Country Labor report, as well as a rules change that finally mandates at least one winnable Country Labor spot in the NSW Legislative Council.
Country Labor’s success in the Federal election has been well-documented – Eden-Monaro broke the bellwether, with a huge swing towards Labor in smaller country towns like Tumut and Tumbarumba. Meryl Swanson had a 10% swing in Paterson, and we came incredibly close in Gilmore. Even in tiger-country seats like Parkes and Riverina, towns like Gundagai and Broken Hill recorded double-digit swings.
Beyond the Federal Election, we were able to elect candidates on the Country Labor ticket in National strongholds, like Peter Alley in Port Macquarie-Hastings, Dan Hayes and Vanessa Keegan in Wagga Wagga, and Joshua Brown in the Upper Hunter.
And to cap off the year, strong Country Labor opposition to forced council amalgamations and the greyhound ban led to a historic upset for the Nationals, as their voters abandoned them in droves during the Orange By-election.