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No hope for Nationals in native title poll.

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Media Release


Senator Meg Lees

Australian Democrats

Parliamentary Leader


June 17, 1998



No hope for Nationals in native title poll


The National Party will be destroyed if it goes to an early election on native title, according to the Australian Democrats.


Analysis of the Queensland Election results shows some of the biggest swings from the Nationals to Labor occurred in the western and northern seats most affected by native title claims.


Democrats Leader, Senator Meg Lees, says there was average swing of 5.8 per cent against the National Party in the five mining and pastoral seats that comprise 80 per cent of the area of Queensland.


“The Labor Party is within a few hundred votes of picking up Bob Katter’s old seat of Charters Towers with a 7.5 per cent swing. The biggest swing was in the seat of Gregory, which includes Longreach where the Prime Minister defended his native title package,” Senator Lees says.


“Native title failed to deliver extra votes for One Nation in the west, with the party’s vote in the native title affected seats averaging 13 per cent less than in coastal strip rural seats.”


Senator Lees says native title was not biting in the bush and that the bush was reacting more strongly against the harsh, ‘flat earth’ economic polices of the Coalition which have gutted many country towns.


“The native title fear campaign failed to stop a big swing against the Nationals in the bush. It also contributed to the big swing against the Liberals in Brisbane,” Senator Lees says.


“Based on Saturday’s results, the Coalition would lose three senate seats to One Nation and the lower house seats of Capricornia, Leichardt and possibly Kennedy to Labor and Blair, Wide Bay, Hinkler and Dawson also to One Nation.


“The National Party has picked the wrong bus back to political relevance by its aggressive and dishonest stand on native title. It needs to review its support of policies like the sale of Telstra, competition policy and service cutbacks if it is to win back the bush.


“A growing number of people across rural Australia are beginning to realise that certainty on native title can only be delivered by a bill which is fair to all stakeholders.


“The Wik ten point plan fails all tests of fairness, and the Queensland election shows it will cost the Coalition key city and country support in any early Federal poll,” Senator Lees concludes.


For comment, contact: John Schumann 0419 867 876