- Why are you forming a new party?
- Why don’t you think the Nats are doing the job?
- What do you mean by rural?
- Aren’t you just a farmer’s party?
- Won’t you just dilute the rural vote?
- Why are you against mining?
- Are you for protection of the environment and biodiversity?
- Are you for protection of industry against free trade agreements or the TPP?
- I’m not in farming but I live in the country, why should I vote for you?
- I live in Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne or another urban conurbation, why should I vote for you?
- Aren’t you just the same as the Nationals?
- Aren’t you just the same as the Katter Party?
- Where are your policies and who has made them?
- How much money and how many members do you have behind you?
- How can you say you’ll get more government money spent in rural Australia if you are outside the Liberal/National or Labour party governments?
- If you get balance of power will you form government with Labour or the Liberal/National Party?
- Won’t you split our vote and get the Labor Party elected?
Rural representation in Australia (at both state and federal levels) has been failing rural communities which provide approximately eighty-five percent of our nation’s wealth. In spite of our contribution to the nation’s wealth our communities have slipped to some of the lowest socioeconomic demographics in the nation.
It is in the national interest that we reinvigorate rural and regional economies by increasing the viability of these industries and ensuring more of the wealth generated remains in these rural communities. We need a Party and politicians with some mongrel commitment to specifically reverse the decline in rural communities and deliver a wider diversity of secondary and tertiary industries in rural areas.
The Nationals (by being so closely aligned with the Liberal majorities through Coalition agreements in both government and opposition) have become politically subservient and no longer effectively represent rural people as specifically and deliberately as they once did.
CountryMinded was formed as a result of this clear need for targeted rural representation, and better rural policies and committed politicians in State and Federal Governments in the broader national interest.
Why does anyone think they are?
Find an example in recent years where the Liberal Party has been forced to give painful ground on issues dear to their heart for the sake of maintaining the Coalition. Find an example in recent years where the Nationals have railed against and reversed the stripping of resources from rural and regional communities.
The Nationals wrongly claim they are, or their brand is, responsible for ongoing investment in the regions. The thirty year decline in our circumstances demonstrates otherwise. We get little more than the bare minimum of political support and it is highly questionable that the Nationals can prove any net benefit of their presence at all.
We are sick of trusting a brand that makes endless promises and espouses popular policy, but lacks either the will, ability or both to deliver on them. Today’s Nationals lack the mongrel that underpinned the reputation that they currently live off.
We are few in number and so we must act with purpose and resolve to serve our people and not a Coalition. The Coalition was only ever a tool for serving our constituents and it has been corrupted by National’s who have capitulated to the expedient notion that rural and regional Australians are less important than standing in Coalition.
CountryMinded is committed to rural and regional communities, including coastal communities. CountryMinded is differentiated this way to counter the political population bias towards major metro areas that fails to adequately represent the economic significance of country communities.
CountryMinded is founded on the principle that all sectors of our rural, regional and coastal communities are interdependent meaning the Party is committed to people and commerce in and out of our towns.
We are a Party focussed on building sustainable and vibrant rural communities for all, on farms and in rural towns. Ultimately rural communities will increasingly rely on primary production as the most sustainable industry to underpin diverse regional economies and attract further non-farm investment.
We recognize that vibrant rural communities need to include a diversity of service, manufacturing and retail industries and that policies need to be in place that encourage these industries in rural regions. This creates a more resilient economy
We recognize the fact that the fortune of rural businesses is closely tied to the health of local industries and that rural towns rely significantly on agricultural economic activity. However we are expressly concerned that the centralisation of services and government decision making is impairing local industries, and that by improving these we can ensure that there is an increasing diversity of businesses and jobs in rural towns.
The rural vote is diluted by being given unconditionally to the Coalition without being politically leveraged to ensure a sustainable future for our communities and for our children.
In today’s Party dominated political landscape, seats held by large margins also lose influence because they are taken for granted by the side of politics that holds them and disregarded by the side that does not.
Marginal seats are generally subject to greater levels of political interest from both sides of politics. Challenging safe rural seats makes them more marginal and therefore more influential. The result of a credible challenge in safe rural seats serves to enhance the political leverage of the rural vote which is the exact opposite of dilution.
We are not.
We are for sustainable industries as the primary long term economic driver of rural communities. We do not believe extractive industries should be given planning priority over agriculture and similarly should be subject to the same standards of environmental compliance as other industries.
We are against the destabilising ‘boom and bust’ cycle that poorly planned and monitored large corporate mining and petroleum investments can cause, and the massive potential environmental impacts of such activities. We are especially against threats to sustainable rural industries such as agriculture and tourism which will be around for decades and centuries after short term extracted resources are depleted.
If mining or petroleum extractive industries can demonstrate no lasting threat or impacts on local environments and productive land and water resources we will naturally support it. If mining can be a source of income for locals (not FIFO or similar arrangements) and if it can foster regional value adding industries and further employment then we will naturally support it.
Many politically conservative rural people are conservative about the environment too, recognizing that as stewards of the land they can play the most direct role in conservation of biodiversity.
We want to ensure that landholders and rural communities have a high level of support in stewardship activities, whether it be through funding of new conservation areas, recognition of current environmental services, or other general economic programs such as carbon abatement incentive schemes.
We are opposed to draconian legislation that impacts heavily on producer’s viability and ultimately incentivises poorer environmental outcomes.
Liberalisation of trade and industry has provided limited advantages for rural businesses where greater market access has afforded better opportunities for export industries as a whole. However there have been winners and losers in the rural communities impacted by this liberalisation.
There have been costs, some market failures, excessive consolidation and concentration of supply chains, limitations on employment opportunities as industries have been forced into greater efficiency.
We will aim to maximise the profitability of rural industries and especially agriculture by working within existing trade agreements and subjecting new ones to a higher level of public scrutiny, attempting to block any which do not favour rural interests.
All rural communities rely significantly on a vibrant agricultural economy. By improving the economy of rural regions through better policies we will improve the viability of all rural industries and improve the economic future for all residents of rural communities.
We especially aim to improve the career and job opportunities for young people, women and indigenous people by helping to shift relevant economic activities out of city areas and into rural ones
If you don’t really care about sustainability and environmental outcomes and just want to live in the city and buy the cheapest food regardless of quality then you really shouldn’t vote for us!
If you are concerned about food quality and security, sustainability, net balance of trade, conservation or vibrant rural towns then you should vote for us.
Australia now imports $1.5 billion of fresh and processed foods. Only with more competitive and vibrant agricultural industries will consumers be able to choose cost effective Australian produce alternatives. We will ensure that retail shelf labelling allows all consumers to be informed of relevant produce characteristics and especially country of origin.
The Nationals have abandoned their roots, neglected their core constituents and adopted an autocratic culture that is no longer accountable or relevant to the rural communities they purport to represent. The Nationals unconditional commitment to the Coalition sees rural interests subservient to the agenda of the Liberal Party.
The Nationals accept large donations and policy influence from large corporate and multinational mining interests that skew policy towards unsustainable industries.
This evolution of the Nationals has resulted in 30 years of decline in rural population, viability, influence, opportunity and environmental assets.
CountryMinded is purposefully a grass roots ground up structure with a cultural commitment and necessary mongrel to enforce the social contract between Parliamentarians and their constituents.
KAP espoused similar objections to the National Party culture and also some similar commitments to rural and regional people and communities. However the structure of KAP adopted the same party first culture which undermined its credibility and essential accountability to the broader electorate and ultimately limited its success.
The founders of the CountryMinded have watched and learned from this and other attempts to revive rural and regional political advocacy. Ultimately, KAP and other political groups including the Nationals, helped shape the culture and structure of CountryMinded to deliver the best political alternative for rural and regional Australia.
CountryMinded is founded on a Country before Party culture and grass roots accountability. It is committed to credible, balanced and rigorous policy development and an uncompromised political agenda.
In founding CountryMinded, the Interim Management Committee made up of founding members developed Party Principles to guide policy development and sentiment. In the context of these central principles, the Committee has provided an overall Policy Rationale and from this policy positioning statements have been generated.
However in our aim to provide better rural representation we know that a strong and ongoing dialogue with concerned citizens, rural communities and industries is needed to get government policies back on track. Our policies will evolve as our membership and level of community engagement grows.
If you want to influence our policies, please join!
The CountryMinded movement was founded formally on the 22nd of December 2014. The membership base is growing daily and hundreds more people are expressing support for us through less formal mechanisms. However, the Party is still in its infancy.
We have a ridiculously small amount of funds given the urgency of the issues we face, the dire results for rural communities if government policies do not urgently change, and the billions of dollars of economic activities which takes place in rural communities.
If you would like to join the growing ranks of members please do so. If you would like to donate please do so, though (unlike other parties) donations don’t buy influence. Either or both actions will be aiding the long term growth and sustainability of rural Australia.
How can you say you’ll get more government money spent in rural Australia if you are outside the Liberal/National or Labour party governments?
Modern politics has become dominated by Parties seeking the opportunity to form Government. In this environment it is the marginal seats that receive a disproportionate level of political interest. Having seats held safely by one side of Government means they are either taken for granted or written off in the political manoeuvring to secure enough seats to form Government. This has resulted a much shorter political planning horizon. CountryMinded aims to promote a greater emphasis on beneficial intergenerational policy outcomes.
Introducing a credible conservative political alternative will ensure rural seats cannot be taken for granted or written off delivering better leverage regardless of who forms Government.
Unlike independents CountryMinded aims to achieve a collective influence to bring benefit to the whole of rural Australia and extend the benefits of marginalising a single electorate.
Rural seats that remain outside of formal Coalitions will enable and empower better policies for rural Australia in a manner which does not see rural votes sidelined or watered down by political expediency.
While most rural voters are conservatively minded, the decision must be based on delivering the best outcome possible in line with the Objects and Principles of the Party Constitution as the ultimate guiding document.
Ultimately CountryMinded Members would be consulted and a decision would be made in the best interests of the entire electorate.
CountryMinded is unlikely to enter into any formal Coalition, but may conditionally support a minority Government based on its commitment to empowering rural and regional communities.
In the current NSW Election, the rural seats we are specifically targeting enjoy massive margins which is part of the problem. CountryMinded endorsed candidates are a safe place for people to store their vote if they share our concern about the performance of the Nationals.
The Labor Party’s primary vote is so low that if Labor out polled CountryMinded endorsed candidates and all our preferences went to Labor, Labor would still not win. However, if the CountryMinded endorsed candidate out polls Labor preferences flow to the CountryMinded candidate, the CountryMinded endorsed candidate may win.
The ultimate goal is to improve rural and regional political advocacy and a serious challenge that erodes the margin by which these seats is held helps regardless of who wins.