OUR SAY: Disenchanted Orange voters turn to the Shooters … again

IN PLAIN SIGHT: The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers posters were prominent outside Orange Public School on Saturday. Photo: JUDE KEOGH
IN PLAIN SIGHT: The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers posters were prominent outside Orange Public School on Saturday. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

Preference flows continue to be allocated for the more than 45 councils that took more than one-third of NSW voters to the polls on Saturday.

But they are progressively revealing voters are moving away from the Coalition, especially in key parts of its heartland.

Orange is one example of this.

Historically, The Greens have been the only party to run an endorsed ticket for Orange City Council.

Labor and Nationals members have run, of course, but the branches have rarely endorsed tickets.

Several incumbents shared their views on the matter and the consensus, it seemed, was that local government was no place for party politics.

Enter the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.

Buoyed by their victory with Phil Donato in the state byelection, the party ran a ticket in Saturday’s poll and the dividends followed.

Ticket leader Sam Romano believes the party could get three candidates onto the council, but at least two seems highly likely.

Why was the ticket received so well? For the same reason voters turned to Mr Donato in November, Mr Romano says – they were fed up with the status quo.

Mr Romano acknowledges drawing first position on the ballot paper may have carried a 2-3 per cent advantage, but is adamant voters sought the party out. 

The question remains about the impact having two, possibly three, Shooters and Fishers could have for the council. 

Councils determine where farming land should be, but industry regulation comes from higher levels of government, as does gun control, as does fishing. 

Mr Romano says candidates will be progressive, pursuing jobs and development, with the added bonus of quick access to the state member for funding opportunities. 

The high informal vote rate of 13 per cent in Orange (10 per cent in Cabonne) could be voter confusion, or it could be apathy. 

We saw examples of it on social media on Sunday where people admitted either voting informally or donkey voting. 

The Shooters and Fishers will not be the only fresh additions, with Joanne McRae, Stephen Nugent and Tony Mileto likely to join them.  

What happens to the incumbents who did not perform as strongly on the primary vote will not be known for a couple of days. When it is we’ll know just how much change we’re in for.