If there is one stand out politician in this Parliament, it has to be Tony Windsor.
A David in a Goliath’s game, Windsor has put his backside on the line and if he loses his seat, it will be a crying shame.
He’s a maverick. A farmer prepared to “die on the political altar” for climate change. A conservative who sided with Labor. A negotiator who talked former Liberal speaker Peter Slipper into resigning for the sake of the Parliament.
Like the late Peter Andren (and fellow independent Rob Oakeshott), he is proof that an effective independent can rise above the dark arts of party politics and achieve reform.
And yet common political wisdom says he will be banished at the next election for daring to side with Labor, against what commentators assume is the conservative wishes of his New England electorate.
Certainly, like most rural electorates, the people of New England are inherently conservative. But they are also independent enough to have wanted to secede from the state of NSW for most of 20th century. That dream was over, as Neil Finn would say, only when it was defeated in the 1967 referendum after two royal commissions.
So it is perhaps fitting that they would throw up an independent with a certain amount of good old-fashioned country bloody-mindedness like Windsor.
To read more, visit The Hoopla.