Keith Wheeler’s Wheeler’s Wisdom | OPINION, November 28, 2016

NSW does not need a Labor government like we are seeing in Victoria, Queensland and SA, where crazy electricity plans will soon see all Australian industry in those states close, or move to NSW.

Baird’s Liberal/National government built the Wagga hospital we had been promised for a generation, the Wagga Police Station, the courthouse, the Kapooka Bridge, all projects without a hope if Luke Foley had been premier. And let’s not forget that Mr Foley and Labor still have to deal with Obeid-era cronies like Wal Secord, who increasingly is the spokesman for NSW Labor.

However, the Orange by-election loss should be telling the Baird Liberal/National government to revise a number of policy decisions, and quickly. Council amalgamations top the list. The National Party needs to tell Baird that a country community’s identity is wrapped up in having its own council. I have regular contact with people in Gundagai and Tumbarumba. With confidence I’d suggest that Katrina Hodgkinson will struggle to retain Cootamundra if Gundagai council is not restored. Then there’s the fallout from the Hilltops’ merger.

Tumbarumba’s 30 per cent swing at the last Federal Election must surely have Albury Liberal member Ian Glachan thinking. Abolished councils Urana and Jerilderie are in his electorate also.

Labor’s Anti-Discrimination Board in NSW should have been instantly abolished by Baird’s lightweight Attorney General, Gabrielle Upton. Free speech should rate number one with a Liberal government. The NSW Anti-Discrimination Board could effectively gag debate if ever we get to the plebiscite on Gay Marriage. 

“Safe Schools” and “Respectful Relationships” are same-sex indoctrination programs with “gender fluidity” and sex-change discussions, and should not be in NSW schools. Nationals’ Education Minister Adrian Piccoli is out of his depth. How many Liberal/National supporters would vote to have their children subjected to this type of “lesson”?

Mr Piccoli probably thinks he is doing a great thing insisting on higher entry levels to university courses. He is actually excluding many fine country students from a professional career. Only The Riverina Anglican College received an honourable mention in the recent top schools lists. City private schools, selective schools, and wealthier suburban government schools in Sydney attract experienced staff who are marking HSC exams. I know from years as a Central school principal, that we have many talented young teachers in country schools, but limited staff and facilities in smaller schools means that HSC candidates do not have the same advantages, or course choices.

Then there’s the distasteful brumby cull. Gillard’s Murray-Darling Basin Plan has been so economically and socially damaging, that population loss in the Riverina and Farrer federal electorates meant they would have been amalgamated if there had been an early federal election! What has the NSW Government done to reverse the decimation of Riverina communities?

Where is the plan for jobs and population growth in country NSW? Perhaps I should mention, too, that in Orange, voters elected Shooters’ Phil Donato, an Orange family man. The Nationals candidate was a staffer, parachuted in from head office. A lesson there? NSW would be worse off with a Labor/Greens Government, but if the NSW Liberal/National covernment doesn’t rethink directions, they could lose more than Orange!