Cowper stuck on Nationals island
COWPER is the island of National Party solidarity in a sea of Independent and Labor Federal electorates.
Does this make the Mid North Coast a secure fort-ress against a rising tide of dangerous change or a shrinking sandbar whose palm trees are about to find their feet in the surf?
To the north is Page and Richmond, held by Janelle Saffin and Justine Elliott for the ALP; to the west is New England, held by Independent Tony Windsor and to the south is Lyne, held by Independent Rob Oakeshott.
Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker, who was swept back into office on Saturday with a solid margin, says he has not spoken to his Independent neighbour Rob Oakeshott since the election.
Support from Mr Oake- shott is likely to be the best hope Cowper has of securing Federal programs and funding in this term of government, but Mr Hartsuyker says he is leaving negotiations with his Federal neighbour, ‘who seems a reasonable person’, to Coalition leader Tony Abbott, who was speaking to the Independents yesterday.
Mr Hartsuyker said he was busy representing the electorate of Cowper; it was confusing if tens of people conducted the negotiations and it made little difference who conducted them.
He said it was too early to be speaking about what he wanted for Cowper out of those negotiations, because he was yet to see the makeup of the new parliament.
“I will await the final verdict of the people before I take things further,” he said.
Asked about his attitude to the National Broadband Network, Mr Hartsuyker maintained the official Coalition line of opposition to the NBN and support for an alternative and much cheaper broadband upgrade program.
A number of eminent IT academics have said the NBN, with bandwidths of 100MB/sec or more is needed for telemedicine, telecommuting, and other rich interactive experiences and that its establishment will put Australia into a competitive position in the world marketplace.