Letters to the Editor || Jack Arnold – The time has come

I refer to the article "New England: A History of Political Titans and Heavyweights" (NDL 25/11/2017) superficially reporting the recent history of political representation and correctly identifying that the National Party are responsible for the long term economic decline within the electorate.

I have been involved in New England politics for over 40 years and suggest that this puff piece is political propaganda in favour of an outdated political ideology.

Ian "Sinkers" Sinclair ruled New England for 35 years during which time his major achievement was upgrading the Moonbi Hill to four divided lanes.  This necessary renovation in 1969 followed a series of fatal accidents that even Sydney Roads Department desk jockeys could not ignore.  However, little if anything else was achieved, as Sinclair acknowledged during his 1998 farewell tour of the electorate.

During this reign the Country Party changed its name to National Party at the 1976 Annual Convention in Armidale and 300/600 delegates resigned from the Party as they departed.  Since this time the Liberal Party has paid their imported supporters to staff the National Party polling booths across the electorate and attend the Election Returning Office for scrutineering purposes.

His successor, what's his name, was known locally as "The Invisible Man" because he lived in Guyra but was rarely seen in any other part of the electorate, especially Armidale.  His personal impact on the Guyra economy is better told by others.

The election of Tony Windsor (Independent) heralded a new era where electors were not required to contribute to National Party funds to deal with their politician representatives.  By holding the balance of power, Tony was able to extract finance for community projects like upgrading the killer Bolivia Hill down to Tenterfield, the Lower Hunter traffic decongestion project to give Scone and other towns highway by-passes.

This funding was cut by Tony Abbott BEFORE the 2013 election as pay back for the electors preferring a local Independent candidate with a track record of funding projects that would benefit the whole community. 

Since the 2013 Federal election, political game playing and economic stagnation have re-appeared in New England. The metropolitan based unelected political hacks who control pre-selection in the National Party delayed the necessary upgrades to Tamworth and Armidale Hospitals in a puerile attempt to usurp the efforts of Windsor and Peter Draper formerly Independent Member for Tamworth.

Now we have an unemployed "former" Kiwi seeking to once again represent the best interests of the foreign owned multinational mining corporations.  How Tamworth business persons can believe that paying any person over $1,000 PER DAY to represent contrary interests makes little business sense.

Tamworth has grown from about the size of Armidale in 1965 to the self- supporting city of about 50,000 persons today because of the civic leadership by concerned business people like Warwick Bennett, David John, Bruce Treloar, Max Ellis and their contemporary Councillors.  Their insistence upon Council being an efficient organisation that supported the growth of businesses by "making things happen" has been a proven success.

The Tamworth community owes nothing to any political party based in a metropolitan city because history shows that Tamworth made it happen for themselves.

Perhaps it is now time for Tamworth to lead the charge for a Seventh State between the Hunter and the Queensland border so that our kids can have local jobs, live locally and raise their kids with all the benefits of living in country Australia.

Jack Arnold



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