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29 Nov 2018

Editorial | The Border Watch

Editorial | The Border Watch

THIS week’s backbench revolt against the State Government’s mining bill will see South East MP Nick McBride’s name lodged in the state’s modern political history books.

The rare move to vote against party lines is even more impressive given the number of MPs who have not even seen a year in the job, but had the courage to stand by their views.

The move should have been expected when the mining minister presented the mining act amendments in the Liberal party room without consulting key constituents or his colleagues, as claimed by Mr McBride.

Internal anger over the mining act has intensified after the bill was introduced to parliament earlier this year despite pre-election pledges of an extensive consultation process.

Mr McBride has argued the policy would mostly affect the Liberals’ traditional voting base – that of rural communities – and is likely to drive voters to minor parties and independents.

Constituents in the MacKillop, Kavel, Davenport and Narungga electorates are unlikely to forget their representatives who backed them against the odds.

When it is next up for debate in the new year, the bill will pass in parliament with the easy support of the Liberals and Labor Party, which have both indicated they do not support a right to veto.

The defiance by the conservative bloc is therefore largely symbolic and can be interpreted not only as backing their communities, but refusing to be subservient to their leaders.

Although the mining minister has sought to play down ructions, Mr McBride’s comments suggest there is disunity within the party.

The Liberal Party was formed on a basis of liberal thought and individualism and acts such as this should be the norm.

The reality is it is not and these acts of defiance often result in internal repercussions.

Just last year, then Liberal backbencher Andrew McLachlan voted against his own party to reject anti-bikie laws in the state’s upper house.

Mr McLachlan now serves as president of the Legislative Council.

He is also an exception.

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