, 25 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
1: It's time to say it: Despite Twitter's outrage about #Watergate Barnaby Joyce is still likely to win #NewEnglandVotes. A thread for pragmatists ⬇️
2: I live in the electorate of #NewEnglandVotes. I was born on Kamilaroi Country into a family that settled in the region 150 years ago. Shop owners and graziers, my mob aren't special. If I were to analyse the family tree I'd find plenty of rusted-on Nat voters.
3: I am a hybrid. My mother's family were English settlers who arrived in 1905 and settled in the outer northern suburbs of Sydney. They were blue-ribbon Liberal voters.
4: The story of how I became a progressive voter is partly told here. Like a lot of my political writing, it appeared first on @NoFibs: nofibs.com.au/the-man-who-di…
5: To save you from reading it (I know many read only these threads now... this is my first), it's about how when shit happened and my family got ripped apart, the legacy of Gough Whitlam provided a safety net. I never forgot it.
6: 18 months ago I moved back to New England after living in three continents and two states, and settled on Ngarabal Country after almost four decades away. Sometimes it feels slightly crazy to have returned, but I love this place. Always have, probably always will.
7: It was a visit to the Myall Creek Memorial in 2015 that started the process of returning. Sentiment in this part of the world had changed slowly and now this annual event is becoming one of our greatest rural Reconciliation projects. Read about it here: nofibs.com.au/a-myall-in-my-…
8: As the second son of the second son of a grazier, I had always known about this critical part of the Frontier Wars. All the locals did, because the site was at the back of the place we celebrated Christmas at a local hall, and our parents played tennis. There were whispers.
9: I was also heavily involved in campaigning for marriage equality in Queensland, and part of my role was to canvas for support in rural regions. I called plenty of people in New England and realised that there wasn't as much opposition to equality here as I'd have guessed.
10: My husband Richard and I had just moved to the region when the results of the survey were announced. Despite shocking leadership here from Barnaby Joyce and John 'Wacka' Williams, a clear majority of New Englanders said YES. I wrote about that here: nofibs.com.au/barnabyjoyce-d…
11: But that's not all. We started to notice the wind turbines on the ridges and across the upland valleys. New England had undergone a renewables revolution and the National Party was having an identity crisis about it. I wrote about that here: nofibs.com.au/climate-heresy…
12: Which brings us to the current election. When Independent candidate Adam Blakester announced his intention to run it seemed too good to be true. But despite this region having Independent representation by Tony Windsor for over a decade, plenty of locals remain unforgiving.
13: They still feel let down because Windsor gave Julia Gillard the PM's job, even though Windsor says until he's blue in the face that even the LNP realised Abbott was the wrong man just two years later.
14: At the 2017 by-election, Barney romped in. He had no competition, and yes, everyone knew about his marriage collapse before the election. The Bush Telegraph is more powerful than Rupert Murdoch and Twitter out here.
15: Here's some other things you need to come to terms with about New England...
16: At the 2017 by-election, almost 40,000 people voted for someone other than Barnaby Joyce. It'll be more this time, but please let that sink in if he wins the election on May 18.
17: The closest political precedent to Barnaby Joyce is Joh Bjelke-Petersen. The beloved Queensland politician was as teflon-coated as Barnaby Joyce. Please let that sink in.
18: Here's a video to help you let it sink in...
19: Despite all the corruption, the political volatility, and the brazen, foolish demeanour, Joh lasted four decades in politics without ever being voted out by his constituents. Please let that sink in.
20: He didn't even get done by a Royal Commission. The Fitzgerald Inquiry made things a bit hard for him, and he didn't get to achieve all his life goals, but the man retired from politics and escaped the legal system entirely. Please let that sink in.
21: Many diverse communities suffered, protested, and were left to endure Joh's authoritarian regime. Towards the end of my years living in Queensland, I got a glimpse of those times meeting a room full of LGBTIQA+ who'd survived Sir Joh.
22: I wrote about that palpable pain here: nofibs.com.au/i-am-my-first-…
23: When I was a child at Delungra Public School we made up songs about Joh and Flo Bjelke-Petersen. I had no idea who the NSW state premier was at the time. None. Despite an expensive education, the first time I did was the year I was first able to vote. Please let that sink in.
24: I'll vote for Independent Adam Blakester. I've met him, he has great credentials and policies. I talk about him in an easy, light-hearted manner everywhere I go in New England. That works better than any amount of outrage on Twitter about Barnaby. Please let that sink in.
25: It's possible that Barnaby will survive #Watergate. It's likely that he has the kind of connections Sir Joh had to avoid all accountability. In that respect, it's not simply up to the voters of New England to get rid of him. Please let that sink in.
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