Above: Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party candidate Roy Butler casts his vote in Broken Hill on Saturday. Photo supplied.
Barwon electorate has changed political hands for the first time in 69 years.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party candidate Roy Butler outpolled Nationals candidate Andrew Schier, with a massive swing to the SFF.
Mr Schier, who had stepped up as Nationals candidate following the resignation of former Barwon Member Kevin Humphries, faced a difficult task – a perfect storm of disgruntled voters, drought and its attendant economic hardships across the community, fish kills, damaging water issues, and a multiplicty of opposing candidates and their attendant preference flows.
SFF candidate Roy Butler, also a new candidate, polled strongly in many booths, recording a substantial overall swing away from the Nationals.
“I’m very humbled by the support.
“The gravity of the task ahead is not lost on me,” Mr Butler told The Courier.
Mr Butler said Barwon constituents felt “ignored and abandoned” by the Nationals who didn’t understand how “angry and frustrated” people were.
Mr Butler’s victory is a historic shift that sees the state’s largest electorate change political hands for the first time since 1950, when Nationals’ member Geoffrey Crawford won Barwon for the then Country Party.
Former National Party Leader Wal Murray represented the seat from 1976-1995, Ian Slack-Smith, Wee Waa, was the next Nationals’ Member from 1995 to 2007 and Kevin Humphries from 2007 until 2019.
The electorate boundaries were changed in 2007, removing Moree and extending to include including Broken Hill.
The current drought made water policy a number one issue at the election and exposed divisions that ran deep through the electorate as constituents around
Broken Hill blamed upstream irrigators for mass fish kills.
The divisions can be seen in polling booth results from Barwon’s diverse towns.
In Wee Waa and Narrabri, it looks like the Nationals held support despite their loss.