The most talked about feature of the US presidential election was the demographic and spatial divides long suspected but suddenly very clearly in view.

No bull, these fellas matters to our national dialogue. Pic: Warren Clarke

David Taylor in his article Republican White Guys Don’t Jump highlights that only 690 of more than 3000 counties on the US went the Obama’s way on election night, meaning essentially that the cities - younger, more ethnically diverse and more educated - chose Mr Obama. The rural areas - older, whiter, less educated - went for Mr Romney.

A glance at Australia suggests that we have the same issues in play. The heavily divided and often bitter political debate is a reality. Our sparsely populated rural areas continue to favour the conservative side of politics while the inner city votes progressive. Regional areas are also less culturally diverse, less educated and ageing faster than our metropolitan areas.

All the ingredients are there for the urban-rural divide to grow and prosper in Australia. A sense of this sometimes enters national discussion, particularly in the recent policy debates over water and climate change which have been characterised by some as the urban pushing an agenda on the regional.

However I would argue that despite these ingredients for a US problem, Australia doesn’t have it yet.

Firstly, our politics is much more complicated. Despite being more urbanised than the US, Australia has rural representatives deeply involved in the current government and also fiercely putting alternative views as members of the opposition or cross benches. Our national debate is taking place as much or more often between people from the regions as it is between the bush and the city.

The Greens’ current priority of developing support in rural areas is also an interesting feature of the Australian political landscape. Successful or not, this is evidence that the political and ideological divisions between rural and urban areas in the US are not currently as clear cut in Australia.

The central role that regional Australia plays in our economy and society despite our urbanisation is also crucial. Regional industries such as mining and agriculture remain as driving forces for our economy and can grow to meet Asian opportunities. These industries are drawing some city people to regional areas (even if only on a fly-in, fly-out basis) and also providing a valuable source of city based employment and business while other sections of the economy adjust and find pathways for renewed growth.

But this does not change the inherent dangers of the situation or mean we can rest on our laurels.

To avoid the fate of the US we must have an inclusive national debate on policy that draws the regions in to the national narrative rather than pushing regional issues and perspectives further to the sidelines.

Urban areas also need to recognise that mining developments and other economic changes which we expect will benefit the country as a whole can be traumatic and difficult for small regional communities. This doesn’t mean that regions need to be paid off or seen as victims. Rather, we need policy settings and a public capable of responding to differences in the needs and experience of communities, and where appropriate devolving power and resources so that regions can have greater control of their own destiny.

Regions also need to take responsibility for their future. This means developing the confidence to step up and demonstrate that the easy stereotypes of ‘backwards’ and resistant to change are not true. Regional areas can change and adapt just as fast and successfully as many urban areas but they may not naturally do so. Dynamism occurs in pockets within regional Australia right now, but this is not sufficient. This change must come from regions themselves – the city cannot help us if we do not act to help ourselves.

I would argue strongly that there is no need for rural and urban Australia to be pitted against one another as they are in the US. Ultimately both sides will lose when we can least afford to. Australia has avoided this trap so far and we need to make sure that we continue to do so.

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    • Coxy says:

      05:26am | 06/02/13

      ‘Australia has rural representatives deeply involved in the current government’
      Who are they? I can’t think of anyone. I can think of plenty on the coalition side though including nearly half of the shadow ministry as Tony Abbott pointed out at the press club last week.

    • Richard says:

      09:18am | 06/02/13

      I can think of 2 rural representatives involved in Govt. Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshott. Sorry , I forgot they were “independent” but at times it is hard to tell because they appear to the enemy of the “Bush”.

    • Stan says:

      11:04am | 06/02/13

      Who are they?
      What Australia has in the current and future government is a bunch of mafiosis ready to screw the hard working battlers.

      Of course If we had a direct democracy a la Switzerland with a well educated population we would have true servants of the people unfortunately when democracy is not taught in our schools the mafiosis will always move forward and we stay what we are second hand citizen.

    • educated vs corruption says:

      05:38am | 06/02/13

      That’s a long bow…so everyone in the country/outside the city are “less educated”, but everyone in the city is “educated”. A bit more respect for people living on the land is needed. How many years have you lived in a non-urban environment? I am guessing less than 1 year for sure, if not any years.

      If voting for Labor is what inner-city “educated” “progressives” do, how do you stand on the issue of corruption? Anyone who votes for Labor at the next election is basically endorsing endemic corruption. “That is ok, we still like you guys”...which I find amazing. Once corruption is exposed in either party it is a no-brainer- you don’t vote for them.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      07:04am | 06/02/13

      Don’t worry @educatedvscorruption. There are masses of Non-Labor/Independent etc; basically LNP voters in the city. Virtually all in my very large circle of contacts, for example. Or at least waiting to vote Liberal. And the corruption issue is just the icing on the cake. Would have voted that way without the conga line of ALP criminals!

    • Christian Real says:

      07:18am | 06/02/13

      Tell it like it is
      You like others of your kind and calibre are using this article soley to attack the ALP when there is also corruption and criminal activities with the Liberal and National parties as well.
      It is not all a one way street as you believe it is sunshine ,it happens on all sides of political parties.

    • Chris L says:

      08:36am | 06/02/13

      @Christian - It’s only bad if Labor does it. Them’s the rules here on The Punch.

    • Modern Primtive says:

      09:04am | 06/02/13

      @ tell it, you must move in older circles, virtually everyone in their 20s seems to be a labor lovie. But I suppose 13 years of touchy feely education will do that to a generation.

    • corruption is not ok says:

      09:12am | 06/02/13

      In reply to Christian Real - name ONE Liberal politician in POWER right now who is corrupt. Can you do it. I don’t know if you realise this - but the Labor Party are the ones that ruled NSW for basically the last 20 years (give or take a couple of years grace) and they are also in power federally. You generally need to be in power to be corrupt. You are basically endorsing corruption it seems by saying “oh everyone does it”- does that make it ok by you? deflection is the best defence?

    • Atheist Realist says:

      09:14am | 06/02/13

      @ Christian Real - There may well be corruption in the coalition side of the parliament but I doubt that is either as endemic or institutionalised as it appears to be on the red benches of the ALP. Nor is it as high profile. Obeid, Thomson, doubts about Gillard’s ethics in relation to union corruption as well. Pretty strong stench of corruption wafting around that lot. BTW: @Christian Real - again you forgot to mention your aboriginality in attempt to give yourself some semblance of credibility. You are slipping laddie

    • Chris L says:

      09:57am | 06/02/13

      @corruption is not ok - Indeed the Coalition seem to do a better job of removing corruption from their midst and it is a point they have in their favour. Which makes it surprising they kept Slipper on their side until he ended up just leaving them of his own accord.

      That said, the accusations against Slipper remain allegations only. For all I know they could be mistaken.

    • acotrel says:

      05:55am | 06/02/13

      ‘Our sparsely populated rural areas continue to favour the conservative side of politics while the inner city votes progressive.Regions also need to take responsibility for their future. This means developing the confidence to step up and demonstrate that the easy stereotypes of ‘backwards’ and resistant to change are not true.’

      The feudal system still exists in rural Australia, and some of the attitudes between the haves and have-nots are simply arroggant and counterproductive.  Local councils are sometimes led by inward looking, self-serving dead heads , and the politicians tend to do little to make things better for young people,so that they stay in the towns, instead of migrating to the city.  The attitude of the LNP to the NBN is an indication of a total lack of foresight.. It has the ability to dramatically change the bush by facilitating business, education and medical services, and removing the total boredom of rural commercial TV. The simple fact seems t o be thast be cause the ALP introduced the initiative, it is opposed, however the Nationals in the LNP are too ignorant to see the importance of the NBN, and permit the moronic obstruction for obstruction’s sake to continue

    • PJ says:

      07:27am | 06/02/13

      Telstra informed us that the Coalition’s NBN solution was less expensive to the taxpayers struggling under Gillard Government taxes and quicker to deploy.

      The Gillard Governments version of the NBN is
      - $4.6 Billion over Budget already
      - in excess of 15 months behind on an astonishing schedule that sees it taking 10 years to deliver to Australian homes. Some of us will be dead before we see it.

      Do people realise that the Gillard Governments NBN Project does not even have a ‘Cost Benefit Analysis?’. That means they do not even know the justification for spending $30 billion dollars.

      Do Australians know that the Gillard Government took the NBN off the Budget? Yes, like it does not have to be paid for? The true cost of the Project will be hidden with the other dirty secrets.

      Do you also know that the Gillard Government removed the NBN and other planned policies from the typical Audit procedures that are conducted on proposed Government policies? They do not want any transparency on their actions. This is the party associated with the AWU, HSU, Thomson and Slipper affairs. You’d think they would advocate full transparency.

      Imagine if we put the NBN back on Budget what that would do to our record Debt of $300 Billion and Budget Deficit Black holes of $120 Billion plus. It would certainly add to the 131 year Debt pay back scheme the Gillard Government has signed us up too.

    • Christian Real says:

      07:56am | 06/02/13

      PJ
      Liberal Headquarters have rostered you on early and given you the daily spin sheet to regurgitate in the blogs.
      I got this of the Liberal website:
      “Australians need fast,reliable and affordable broadband services - delivered over an affordable high - speed broadband network using the best mix of optical fibre, wireless, DSL and Satellite technologies.”
      PJ
      Because I cannot get broadband where I live, I have had Satellite on here and it was bloody useless, it became unusable during storms and fell out.
      I am using wireless at the moment and it isn’t the best of options either in this current day and modern times of advancing technologies .
      I still have a reminder of the Satellite service a Disc in the back yard and cables into the house but going nowhere.
      PJ, I don’t know about you, but I would like a broadband service that is reliable ,fast and dependable.

    • acotrel says:

      08:36am | 06/02/13

      @PJ
      So the NBN is no longer ‘a white elephant’ ?
      ‘The system runs on bullshit’ !

    • Chris L says:

      08:41am | 06/02/13

      Hang on PJ. Is the NBN not being budgeted for, or is it over budget? How can it be both?

      “Some of us will be dead before we see it.” - Is that your reason for opposing it? You don’t want nation building infrastructure if you might not personally benefit from it?

    • marley says:

      08:51am | 06/02/13

      @Christian Real - we’d all like reliable broadband, but in my neck of the woods, only folks actually living in the larger villages and towns are going to get it.  Folks living just outside the towns, on farms, etc, are going to get fixed wireless or satellite.  It will allegedly be an improvement on current services, but given problems with coverage up to now, I’ve got my doubts.  That’s not to say the NBN is a bad idea;  it isn’t.  I’m just not convinced it’s going to do as much for the bush as the hype would suggest.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      09:07am | 06/02/13

      For once, Acotrel is right and PJ is way off the mark. Abbott is monumentally stupid with his policy of changing from FTTH to FTTN, as FTTN speeds are still constrained by copper cable, and will have to be dug up again eventually and finished off with FTTH. Abbotts plan costs less in the short term, but more in the long term.

    • SAm says:

      06:00am | 06/02/13

      its mutual misunderstanding, city vs bush. City folk cant have a clue what its like to live on the land, likewise farmers tend to place their needs above all else.

    • acotrel says:

      07:25am | 06/02/13

      How would we have been with a peanut farmer running our country?
      ‘Don’t you worry about that, now’ ! Yet people voted for him !

    • jg says:

      07:40am | 06/02/13

      What would it be like to have a Welsh coal miner’s daughter running the country?

      Oh wait…

    • marley says:

      07:49am | 06/02/13

      @acotrel - I recall a peanut farmer running the US for a while.  He didn’t get a second term, but he wasn’t a bad President.

    • gof says:

      07:50am | 06/02/13

      #,acotrel
      “Yet people voted for him”
      Who was the treasurer at the time again?
      It took Hawke and Keating to fix up all of the mess created by said farmer.

    • Christian Real says:

      08:16am | 06/02/13

      Acotrel
      Agreed on your comment, I believe that even though his most famous saying was “don’t you worry about that” that corruption and criminal activiity was prevalent in his National Party government.it hasn’t just been limited to the ALP as some of the bloggers would like people to believe.

    • Tator says:

      09:18am | 06/02/13

      Gof,
      Acotrel was referring to Joh, not Fraser who was a grazier not a peanut farmer.  BTW Keating (17.6% of GDP)  left a bigger debt behind than Fraser did (4.9% of GDP).  The cash rate in March 1983 was 16% but that was a spike as the two months before and after were all around 12.5% which is well below the average 14% that Hawke had between 1983 and 1991.  Using the RBA stats on the Cash rate, Fraser (10.99%) had an average cash rate lower than the following Hawke/Keating government (11.31%).  Fraser also had the misforturne to be hit with the second Arab oil embargo which caused global stagflation which was compounded by a national drought in 1982.  Considering that Hawke’s first three budgets from 1983/84 had a larger deficits than Frasers in 82/83 (83/84’s deficit was double in size in both monetary and as a percentage of GDP)

    • Anubis says:

      09:34am | 06/02/13

      You really are deluded @ gof - Joh BP may have got some votes but never got into federal parliament. So tell me, how was it that Hawke & Keating “fixed up the mess”? I seem to remember that it took many, many years for Howard & Costello to fix up the mess left behind by your two messiahs (including paying off the, at the time, record debt they accrued. Seems that history repeats - Labor again chalking up record debt. Who is it again that will have to pay that back???? Swanee certainly doesn’t have a plan to as he continues to borrow $100 million dollars a day. I doubt he could balance the budget of a school kids chocolate drive.

    • gof says:

      10:04am | 06/02/13

      #Anubis,
      My point was about another farmer/grazier (who cares) who became Prime Minister. My point stands, your dribble doesn’t.

    • Zack says:

      06:09am | 06/02/13

      Rural development needs to be part pf any government’s game plan, there is potential for great gains and we need to get into action!

    • NESLIHAN KUROSAWA says:

      06:23am | 06/02/13

      Hi Jack,

      Living in the rural areas could be seen as one of the toughest jobs in the world!  Because we couldn’t imagine our lives without the essential basics and our hard working farmers.  I totally disagree with you when you say that it has anything to do with color or being uneducated. Yes most definitely our socio economic and ethnic backgrounds play a major role in how we vote.  It isn’t so much about university degrees or our education levels but more about our living standards, buying power and providing well for our families.

      Most people living in the cities couldn’t understand the amount of pride and sheer hard work it may take to survive as well as make a decent living off this great land.  So is this about class wars or more about Australia being a diverse society? In my family we will always have the greatest respect for the very people who work so tirelessly so that we can have all those favorite things on our breakfast table.  It is not about being white, conservative or religious at all.  It is a choice made generations ago with a total dedication.

      Education most certainly may open doors to a whole new generation in our society.  But there is so much more we can learn about the value of a good day’s work and so much more from the experiences from the people on the land.  And by the way, one more thing “what we do for a living doesn’t determine who we truly are”.  We all happen to be an integral part of a nation like Australia and we all make it happen in our own special ways every singe day.  Kind regards.

    • Mik says:

      07:44am | 06/02/13

      Well said. Rural people are educated in the tough, basic realities of food production and the harsh realities of nature so they will vote for those who may slightly better undertand them and those conditions. Be as sophisticated and “inner city” as you like but turning one’s nose up at them just shows ignorance and a strange inferioriy complex. We all count.

    • Pudel says:

      11:38am | 06/02/13

      I live in the safest National seat in both Australia and Victoria.  20 years ago the city I live in also happened to have the highest number of people (on a per capita basis) with phds for any city in Australia.

    • PJ says:

      06:42am | 06/02/13

      Politics can be about undeclared freebees at Obeids $1200 dollar a night Ski Lodge for the Federal Labor faithful. According to the Daily Telegraph. More dirty secrets, more dodgy dealings.

      The list of the Federal Labor faithful whom went to the exclusive rich class lodge and didnt declare the freebee is impressive.

      So boiled grass and scratchy grey uniforms for these Socislist Lefties I tell ya!

      First class all the way thank you. So much for their fictitious Class War.

    • PJ says:

      07:12am | 06/02/13

      That is ‘no boiled grass and scratchy grey uniforms for these Socialist Lefties.’

      I am sure you are all familiar with the classical literature that warns us of the cruelty and hypocrisy of the Socislist Left in full swing?

      I refer to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’ s “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.” And George Orwells “Animal Farm” and “1984”.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      09:17am | 06/02/13

      And hasn’t Mr Putin done well out of things!!!!  And he is just one of many.

    • kaff says:

      10:45am | 06/02/13

      Um most of the people on the list aren’t , and have never claimed to be socialist lefties.

      The labor party isn’t a socialist party.  If it ever was, it has not been in a long time.

      If you choose to call anyone left of centre as socialist, fine; but don’t apply the labels yourself and then use it as ammunition about a class war that really hasn’t existed in the form you describe for 50 odd years.

    • Christian Real says:

      07:33am | 06/02/13

      PJ
      Tony Abbott failed to declare a $100,00 slush fund that was to be used to destroy Pauline Hanson and One Nation on the pecuniary register in Parliament, he also forgot to declare a 710,000 mortgage that he had taken out on the pecuniary list for almost two years.
      The point is PJ you are eager to attack the ALP over a similiar thing that Tony Abbott has done, and that is not list things on the pecuniary register in parliament.
      PJ , instead of making defamatory innuendo’s how about you backing up your mouth with proof right now sunshine.

    • jg says:

      07:38am | 06/02/13

      Craig Thomson has been charged with 150, soory, what was that? Oh, 150 charges.

      Your point?

      Oh that’s right. As usual you don’t actually have one.

      But keep it up fanboy, your side is toast for a decade or more all because of useful idiots like you.

      Sunshine…

    • Christine says:

      09:01am | 06/02/13

      A vast number of Australian have mortgages, are you suggesting there is something wrong with people who have a mortgage. So Abbott at one time forgot to update his housing mortgage, something many fellow Australian have for varying amounts.  Big deal!  Nothing strange in that and the situation was corrected, so grow up.  I recall Keating as Treasurer failed to lodge his tax return on time. He rectified the problem. Labour is in enough trouble without you compounding it with silly remarks.

      Funds were raised for a political campaign against Hanson - so what!.  All Political parties including the ALP,  survive on political campaigns that require political funding. Do you really want to go down that path? Are you yourself not a paid employee who spends valuable time trying to discredit a decent Australian family.  How much of ALP fund raising campaigns is used to fight political competitors.  Why do you have this desperate need to distort issues.
      II would think with all that is going on with the ALP in NSW it would be wiser for you to do your best to avoid raising a subject that could lead to a even bigger backlash against Labour.  I yunderstand the AWU slush fund is a different matter and is being investigated as monies were used for the personal benefit of the two organizers not AWU members in general. A misleading name was used on the establishment of the fund.

    • Atheist Realist says:

      09:47am | 06/02/13

      Ranting again @Christian Real?  The slush fund you refer to was made up of voluntary donations by people with the same interest in removing Pauline from politics. The other well known slush fund (AWU/Gillard style) was made up with monies stolen and extorted from employers and unaware union members. Mr Thomson (150 charges pending) is alleged to have gained his slush fund spending from the money contributed to union by some of the lowest paid workers in Australia.

      All three examples display abominable ethics but tell me which is worse, the one voluntarily and knowingly donated to or the one made up through extortion and lies or the one made up through plain and simple embezzlement and abuse of position?

    • Christian Real says:

      08:33am | 06/02/13

      JG
      Craig Thompson may have had 150 odd charges made against him but as yet he has not been found guilty of any one of those charges in a court of law.
      Sure he has had trial by media, trial by Tony Abbott and the Liberal/National party Opposition., trial by the Liberal aligned Radio Shock Jocks, trial by the imbecile Liberal cheer squad.

    • NigelC says:

      09:57am | 06/02/13

      You forgot trial by thye ALP who saw fit to suspend his membership because he had ‘crossed a line’ in the words of the PM.

    • jg says:

      09:57am | 06/02/13

      Name one lib MP with 10 charges laid against them? 9 maybe? 8 anyone? Okay, you got me bro, MJ Fisher. But she’s gone, fell on her sword, as she should have.

      You can’t really believe that Thomson is squeaky clean?

      If so then you’re a bigger idiot than I could have ever imagined.

      You probably think Obeid is completely innocent as well. And Williamson.

      You really are a complete stooge. And as I have long said, it’s pig headed numpties like you that have contributed to the downfall of the ALP through your complete denial of anything rotten in the party. For god’s sake man, even their own party members believe they are rotten to the core.

      Enjoy the decades in the wilderness, that is, if the ALP actually exists after September. Now there’s something to contemplate…

    • jg says:

      11:28am | 06/02/13

      Oops, just been updated to 154 charges.

      Your man is doing well. You must be so proud.

    • Christian Real says:

      01:27pm | 06/02/13

      Craig Thompson is an Independent and no longer an ALP MP.
      It is the same as Peter Slipper being a good friend of Tony Abbott and a loyal Lberal/National party MP for around 18 years before he became an Independent.
      It is only fair that Slipper is associated with the Liberal/National party after being an MP in their organization for such a lengthy period in the same way that Liberal supporters and others are attempting to associate Craig Thompson with the ALP when he is now an Independent.
      The Liberal party sucks,they and their die-hard supporters make up the rules and change the goal posts to suit themselves.

    • jg says:

      02:02pm | 06/02/13

      I’m not actually sure how many charges Slipper is facing?

      Remind me again?

      Is it 154?

      Or less?

    • marley says:

      02:05pm | 06/02/13

      @Christian Real - let me put it this way.  If Slipper committed any criminal offenses while he was a member of the Coalition, that’s on the Coalition.  If Thomson committed any while a member of the ALP, that’s on the ALP.  But the fact that the ALP chose to promote a person of known slipperiness when it came to matters financial to the Speakership is utterly and entirely on the ALP.  It’s not the criminality issues with Slipper that matter so much as Gillard’s judgement in putting into high office - and that can’t be laid at any door but hers.

    • jg says:

      02:37pm | 06/02/13

      Of course, Gillard had ‘complete confidence’ in Thomson. And then promoted him.

      Abbott sacked Slipper.

      But then again, what’s a few facts between friends hey?

    • Dermot says:

      03:35pm | 06/02/13

      “Abbott sacked Slipper”

      BuhBong! 

      Nup.  Not so. Poor quizzing there by JG, letting down the Blue Team.

      Slipper only resigned from the Liberal National Party on taking the Speaker’s seat.

    • John says:

      08:34am | 06/02/13

      Another article on the country by someone who probably thinks that Campbelltown is rural. I have lived in Forbes, NSW my entire life (besides going to uni to gain a degree with honors in Ag Science) and this attitude people have of lack of education in rural areas is a shame. Anyone who is only a passable farmer, let alone a successful one has to have a vast array of skills mastered. They are engineers, labourers (probably all Mr Archer thinks a farmer is), chemists, mechanics, meteorologists, vets and many more all rolled into one. Anyone who thinks a barista in Surry Hills with a degree in Media Studies is more educated than a farmer is delusional.

      Also, in Forbes we have several out and proud homosexuals, ranging from farmers to OTT medical professionals whose demeanour is similar to that of a gay character from Sex in the City or Will and Grace. None of them have had any major problems here in the country, certainly no more than they would get in the city.
      Whilst there are some good points in the article the ingnorant and biased assumptions made by people about the country are lazy and wrong.

    • Jim says:

      08:39am | 06/02/13

      Why don’t we just get in Chinese farmers to do our farming. They work hard, learn fast and don’t whinge anywhere near as much as our lot. Plus they would be happy with about 20% of the earnings our lot get. Those RM Williams clothes cost a fortune!

    • John says:

      09:37am | 06/02/13

      Most farmers do not earn a lot Jim, and they work damn hard to earn what they do get. Most of their money goes back into the farm. What do you do for a living?

    • Nev says:

      04:17pm | 06/02/13

      Give us a break JIm we’re selling it to them as quick as we can. In fact any foreigner, doesn’t have to be the PRC come on down to the Farms are us store and grab a bargain while it lasts!

    • Jay2 says:

      08:52am | 06/02/13

      No, there isn’t any need for country vs cities, but having lived in both, I would say the bush gets shafted a fair bit.
      Over a not to long period of time, country towns have had government infrastructure stripped away, followed by private enterprise (banks etc).
      My hometown has had it’s once working hospital reduced to no more than a first aid station.  Anything beyond a patch job and you have to travel 120 miles.
      Dentists, Doctors well you have rotational visits every six weeks, there’s a three week waiting list on top of that, so it’s another 120 miles. You can imagine how the locals felt when a lot of the equipment furnished through local fundraising was relocated to a large hospital, salt into the wound!

      The feeling is that you have those who sit in city ivory towers who dictate policies for the bush, an area in which they have no interest or a clue about.

      The Greens are largely loathed by many bush people although their stance about Coal Seam Gas has been a welcome relief, when both major parties have no interest in disallowing multi national companies pretty much entering anybody’s private property and drilling anywhere they wan’t.
      They might say that they work hand in hand with farmers, but then why have it legislated they have the right to do that regardless of being told no.
      I guess if by some miracle CSG starts to impact upon city dwellers backyards, you might hear about it.In the meantime, nobody is holding their breath that any Government will actually restore any real rights to landowners.
      I’ve heard it bandied about the the stock routes (which according to some govt sources don’t get used-INCORRECT) are under scrutiny for reduction/closing. If it is true, I guess they will be sold off, hopefully NOT to OVERSEAS interests.

      I think the disconnect between city and country has never been greater. When I lived in Sydney, it was easy to forget about the droughts; the other country only problems etc.  It is just taken for granted that the produce will roll up to the supermarkets and how government policies has hurt people in the bush, that will only be felt when more and more leave the land because it has just become too difficult.
      I suspect the key players in the election aren’t too bothered, because the masses they need to cater too generally aren’t in regional areas.

    • porloc says:

      02:46pm | 06/02/13

      Travel through the richest farming districts at dusk and see how few of the homes light up and how many remain dark clusters. Visiting a wheatbelt town I once knew as bustling and prosperous, I was impressed by the closed hotel, the shell of the once modern Holden dealership and the single car parked in the main street. All over Australia people have been leaving rural areas after years of poor prices. The real prices farmers receive fall each year but input prices rise. The Labor Party has a worse reputation than the Liberals in listening to farmers (back to the famous “you’ve never had it so good’ speech by Whitlam) but no party has been able to come up with real programs to suppport the rural community. Nobody disputes the fact that Joe Ludwig is a nice guy but he’s an ineffective ag minister, Emmerson doesn’t seem to know there is an agricultural trade and Gillard shot up the beef trade to Indonesia all on her own. The NBN is a cruel con on farmers (farms and small communities will never get fibre optic cable but will lose the copper network even though there is poor mobile coverage). The carbon tax is hitting farmers hard. So rural ares see no alternative to the Coalition but will they have any real answers to long term decline? I suspect the Coalition worries about Bob Katter’s Australian Party making inroads into their constituency.

    • Nev says:

      04:50pm | 06/02/13

      I agree Porloc, in that the disconnect is huge between city/urban and regional australia, I don’t know whether its just out of mind out of sight or really could care less, I think its true to say australia doesn’t value primary industries, which is kind of strange since they depend on us every day for their sustenance. I think they are largely led astray by the multitude of Engo’s who’s vested interest seem to be somewhat anti-human, certainly anti-farmer, anti-business, its interesting to note that their is at least one engo out there that actively oppose every type of primary production there is. I think it’s fair to say the Lib’s aren’t interested in ag, labor likewise, in fact Tony Burke just seems to exist to implement engo policy, the greens make platitudes but their actions on the ground are always the opposite of their platitudes. I think the state of the dairy industry speaks volumes.
      There won’t be any change till people start going hungry, then listen to the screaming.

 

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