Local, Politics

Allegations of local National Party ‘branch stacking’.

The Coffs Coast Advocate yesterday broke a story about alleged branch stacking in the Orara Valley branch of the National Party.

The story, by Janine Watson, discusses how two long term branch members, former Coffs Harbour Deputy Mayor, Bob Burton, and Barry Lee, believe that a sudden influx of eleven new members attended the branch AGM on July 27, 2019 when prior to that the active member base had been around fifteen people.

Apparently angered by the influx established members complained and the meeting was suspended after it quickly tuneed into being unmanagable and the Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan, acting as returning officer, closed the meeting.

The full Coffs Coast Advocate story can be found behind the paywall here; https://www.coffscoastadvocate.com.au/news/branch-stacking-allegations-rock-national-party-fa/4046785/

Bob Burton, left, and Barry Lee – Photo The Coffs Coast Advocate 29 June 2020 via Google Images.

Mr Burton and Mr Lee, pictured above, discuss how among the new members present at the July 2019 AGM were former Coffs Harbour Nationals MP Andrew Fraser, his wife Kerrie and Director of the NSW Farmers Association, and high profile party member, Paul Shoker.

Contacted by Ms Watson of the Advocate for comment Mr Fraser said he was entiled to join a new branch as the Orara Branch is closer to his Bucca residence than is the Coffs Harbour branch.

Mr Burton subsequently wrote to the NSW State Office of the National Party asking for a membership list because, as branch secretary, he had not seen any applications at all from intending members.

Current Coffs Harbour Nationals MP Gurmesh Singh, previous Nationals Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser and Deputy Premier John Barilaro visited Paul Shoker’s banana farm prior to the March State Election. Photo; Coffs Coast Advocate. 29 June 2020 via Google Images.

Mr Lee stated he believed the influx of new members may have been an attempt to silence members who had expressed concerns about the rapid expansion of the blueberry industry in the region.

The story comes ‘hot on the heels’ of branch stacking allegations in the ALP in Victoria which has led to ministerial resignations and party expulsions.

Local ALP spokesperson and announced CHCC candidate Tony Judge on his Facebook site, ‘Tony Judge – Labor for City Council’, is quoted as saying that “he is ‘incredibly disturbed’ to hear the allegations. There is no place in politics for the sort of behaviour that has been alleged”.

“However, I am even more concerned that the Nationals are unwilling to come clean about why they chose to intervene in a small local branch,” Mr Judge said.” See; https://www.facebook.com/LaborForCoffsHarbour

4 Comments

  1. As long as we are afflicted by party politics, rather than experiencing independent politics, we will have branch stacking and similar corrupt, undemocratic activities taking place. All parties are to blame. Even if all of our politicians were independent, we would still see cadres forming, but at least the practice of pre-selection could be eliminated.

  2. John Cleese

    I always thought the National Party were beyond reproach to even consider branch stacking .I am shocked and dismayed .New members are given an extensive questionnaire to “weed out” troublemakers .It is a thorough process with Agree strongly or Disagree strongly questionnaire .
    1/DO YOU OWN AN AKUBRA HAT,SLIGHTLY DOG EARED ?
    2/DO YOU LIKE THE STATUS QUO AND RESIST CHANGE?
    3/DO YOU AGREE WITH EVERYTHING BARNABY JOYCE SAYS?
    4/ IS LAND CLEARING GOOD OR BAD ?
    5/ DO YOU HAVE ANY FRIENDS WHO ARE “GREENS” OR VEGETARIAN?
    6/ARE YOU WILLING TO JOIN COMMUNITY GROUPS TO STEER DECISIONS?
    Most new members score very highly which is testimony to our democratic process

  3. Corrupt behaviour in the Nationals? Surely you jest. Isn’t Bridget McKenzie is a member of the National Party? 😉

  4. John Cleese

    Just as an after thought ,if anybody needs help with that tricky National Party questionnaire, please feel to contact us at our local LNP offices .We always help the new members with the difficult path in becoming countryminded.We assist with all aspects of govt funding ,specialising in gun clubs, local swimming pools and local NP halls funding ,land clearing and sub division issues and dealing with recalcitrant local councils.We are always available to open any new projects with the gold shovel, please bring Akubra hat , if attending Cheers JC

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*