Make every vote count, say lobby groups

Rueben HaleThe West Australian
Minnivale farmer Andrew Todd.
Camera IconMinnivale farmer Andrew Todd. Credit: Countryman

WA's producer lobby groups say farmers should avoid the minor parties and vote carefully in this week's elections to ensure their interests are represented well.

Electors can choose to vote from five parties above the line on the ballot ticket, or vote for 77 individual candidates in order of preference below the line.

Pastoralists and Graziers Association president Tony Seabrook said the last thing needed was another "mish-mash" in the Senate.

He said when there was a mix of parties all with their own agenda, it ended up being an "obstructive" situation.

"It's so easy to turn good legislation to bad legislation, because of compromises that have to be made to appease the minor parties," he said. "Look at the last six years of Labor."

Mr Seabrook said the PGA supported the Liberal Party in the upcoming Senate election because it had the power to run effective government.

"You need to have a boss to make good decisions, which are uncompromised by poor decisions," he said.

"And it is not so essential that our politicians are necessarily from a farming background, but instead have a good business sense."

Mr Seabrook said if the rural electorate voted for the minor parties, it made it hard to form an effective government.

"When you vote for an independent, it results in the ruling party having to deal with the independent's agenda, which are not usually policies mandated by the electorate," he said.

WAFarmers president Dale Park said it looked like it would be a close contest between the Liberal and Labor parties.

"If you listen to what Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce is saying, it will be two Libs and two Labor getting in, so (WA Labor senator) Louise Pratt will be happy with that," he said.

Mr Park said he urged farmers to consider which party represented their interests more strongly when deciding their vote.

"Both the Libs and Nats have supported live shipping, so we're all in favour of that," he said.

"Farmers were not happy about Labor cutting pastoral legal representation, which still has not been reinstated to our satisfaction."

Mr Park said he found it interesting that The Nationals were campaigning against the Liberals in the lead-up.

"Barnaby is trying to establish a point of difference between the Nats and the Libs," he said.

"The Senate election seems to be a good showcase to highlight their differences."

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