Bathurst state election: SFF hopes buoyed by Wagga Wagga by-election

BUOYED: Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party candidate for Bathurst Brenden May with Orange MP Phil Donato.
BUOYED: Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party candidate for Bathurst Brenden May with Orange MP Phil Donato.

SHOOTERS, Fishers and Farmers candidate for Bathurst Brenden May has been heartened by a stunning result in the weekend’s Wagga Wagga by-election, saying voters right across the state have been let down by the major parties.

Independent Dr Joe McGirr has taken the seat following a 29 per cent swing against the Liberals in a by-election that followed the resignation of disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire.

Federal politics also had an impact on the election with the Liberals changing their national leader - and prime minister – midway through the Wagga Wagga campaign.

The loss for the Liberals follows the Nationals’ loss in an Orange by-election in 2016 and leaves the government needing to lose just six more seats at the state election next March to lose its overall majority.

Mr May, who was announced two weeks ago as the SFF candidate for Bathurst, said more and more voters were looking outside of the major parties.

“I followed the Wagga result and I think it shows fairly clearly that people have lost confidence in the major parties to represent them,” he said.

“People feel they’re being taken for granted and places like Bathurst deserve better.”

But Bathurst MP Paul Toole said the circumstances surrounding Mr Maguire’s departure was the key factor in the Wagga result.

He said voters would still support a hard-working and accessible MP who was “delivering for the electorate”.

“The circumstances in Wagga were quite different where you have a community that is upset with the actions of that individual,” he said.

“At the end of the day people want to see that you are one of them and that you’re working to represent their needs and concerns.

“I would like to think that as a former councillor and mayor and now as a local member I am someone who is known as being accessible and working hard for the community.”

The next state election is on March 23, 2019.

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