Federal leaders carefully consider the results of by-elections in coal-rich mining areas

Australia’s Federal Finance Minister Simon Birmingham is cautious about the national impact of the weekend New South Wales (NSW) by-elections in the coal-rich mining area of ​​Upper Hunter, just north of Sydney.

By-elections are in general support for the incumbent New South Wales (NSW) state government, especially given the treatment of COVID-19 and recent allegations of sexual assault against several MPs, including retired members of the Upper. Was enthusiastically watching how was being tracked. Hunter Michael Johnson.

Similarly, the Australian Labor Party (ALP), which was under-voted in the 2019 federal elections in the region, is trying to refocus its policy agenda towards traditional mining and blue-collar foundations. I wanted to know how voters would respond to recent attempts. community.

Eventually, the Nationals, which had held seats for more than 90 years, remained in control (although the number of votes dropped slightly), but the ALP suffered significant fluctuations, accounting for 7% of the primary. I lost it. 2019.

“It’s a state by-election, and I’ll treat it that way,” said Senator Birmingham.

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Senator Simon Birmingham, Australia, Canberra, May 14, 2020. (Sam Mooy / Getty Images)

“It played a variety of factors, and certainly many of them were very local, very state politics,” he told ABC Radio on Monday.

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Labor Deputy Leader Richard Marles downplayed the defeat, saying he wouldn’t overreact to the results. “In the end, the incumbent won,” he told Sky News Australia on Sunday.

In Australia, incumbent governments usually have insufficient votes or lose by-elections.

Loss causes internal friction of ALP

Despite Mars’ comments, the loss raised concerns about the ALP with Labor Party member Joel Fitzgibbon in the region and threatened to leave the party.

“I will run for Labor in the next federal election,” he told Canberra reporters on Monday. “But I say this. If the Labor Party doesn’t wake up, I won’t get stuck.”

In recent years, ALP has struggled to balance the interests of traditional working-class voters, who have been widely featured by hunters, with the interests of new urban left-wing bases interested in tackling climate change.

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Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon’s Labor Party members will walk through the press gallery of the Parliament Building in Canberra, Australia, on May 24, 2021. (AAP Image / Mick Tsikas)

In 2019, Fitzgibbon almost lost its seat when voters reacted negatively to the federal ALP’s green energy and tax agenda.

Fitzgibbon has since raised a voice about the need for ALP to strengthen support for blue-collar workers and is at odds with ALP leaders on this issue.

In November 2020, Parliamentarians resigned from the Shadow Cabinet Go to the back bench After disagreements about the party’s support for climate change policy.

Voters are still skeptical about whether ALP is still supporting the industry, Fitzgibbon said.

“We’ve been whispering at best. We tried to walk on both sides of the fence about issues such as work and the environment on the other side. They’re suspicious and skeptical,” he said on Monday. Told on the radio.

Coal business at Newcastle Port, Australia, November 18, 2015. Australia plans to dramatically increase coal exports, the country's second most valuable export, to boost economic growth over the next decade.  (William West / AFP / Getty Images)
Coal operations at Newcastle Port, Australia, November 18, 2015. (William West / AFP / Getty Images)

The New South Wales Labor Party sought to strengthen voter support by appointing former coal miner Jeff Drayton as a candidate. However, one in three voters ignored the incumbent Liberal National Government and ALP and instead stood on the side of independents and minor parties.

A country was the main winner with 12.5% ​​of the votes, and the independent Kirsty O’Connell got 8.6% of the votes. However, in past elections, minority and independent parties have failed to maintain power.

For example, in the 2019 elections, the Shooters, Fischers and Farmers (SFF) parties won 22.4% of the votes, but this time the SFF voted 10% against.

Birmingham was not drawn to the chance of a Free State Union in the next federal election.

“It’s a long way to start such predictions, but we’re going to have a strong fight in those areas,” he said.

“They are clearly an area with many working families in Australia who want to know that they have a government that is with them and supports them.”