Wednesday, 18 September 2013

As the Abbott Government is sworn in today - a look at the National Party of Australia post-election September 2013

Starting at 10.20am on 18 September 2013 the Abbott Federal Government was sworn in.

As of 9.22am on the same day......

Across the entire continent of Australia the National Party only received 535,121 first preference votes out of the 12.96 million votes cast in the 2013 Federal Election or 4.39 per cent of the total vote pool.

In their own right the Nationals hold a mere 9 of the Coalition’s 90 House of Representatives seats in the 44th Australian Parliament.

While the Liberal National Party of Queensland (which absorbed the Queensland Nationals into its Liberal dominated ranks) only received 1,103,311 first preference votes or 9.04 per cent of the total vote pool and only holds 22 of the Coalition’s 90 seats.

Or to put it in perspective – the Nationals hold only two more federal seats now than they did after the 2010 election, the Liberal National Party holds only one more seat and, even the Nationals and Liberal National Party combined only hold 31 seats in the Lower House of this parliament.

Whichever way one looks at it, the Nationals are no longer the solid rump of the Coalition but rather a small, increasingly irrelevant appendage to the dominant Liberal Party Of Australia which in its own right holds 58 seats in the House of Representatives. Even Labor at 55 seats still holds more electorates than the Nationals.

In a 20 person Federal Cabinet announced on 16 September the Nationals hold just two ministries and have 2 assistant ministers in the Outer Ministry, one of which is in the Senate.

So how effective are these 9 lonely House of Representatives Nationals going to be in Canberra?

More importantly – just how effective will be those two Nationals MPs representing the NSW Northern Rivers region?

Will our region only get scraps from the Liberal Party table when it comes to vital federal funding?

Luke Hartsuyker failed to deliver much in the way of funding across the Northern Rivers the last time he was in government, while Kevin Hogan has never held any form of public office before and his funding promises during the recent election campaign amounted to peanuts with one exception.

How seriously the Northern Rivers currently takes Kevin Hogan might be indicated by the fact that the day after the first post-election joint Coalition party room meeting in Canberra at which he was introduced to his colleagues, the lead online story in The Northern Star was about a giant pumpkin for sale in Kyogle.

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