Greens candidate Sue Higginson made a foray into what is traditionally Nationals territory on Saturday, December 1, introducing herself and Greens policies to Tenterfield voters ahead of the state elections next March.
Ms Higginson said she had a wonderful time catching up with old friends and making new ones. As an Environmental Defender’s Office solicitor Ms Higginson was very involved in the protest against a high-voltage TransGrid line dissecting the region, with the project eventually shelved back in 2013.
On Saturday she said she had lots of conversations at a street stall in the morning and then door-knocking through the afternoon. Health services was a major topic, as was the future of agriculture particularly in the face of the ongoing drought.
She said the Greens’ well-known stance on climate change led to many heart-warming conversations, particularly as she expanded on what the party means by ‘taking action’.
“All the conversations were laced with the notion that politicians are failing people generally,” she said, “particularly in light of the federal circus we’ve been witness to.”
She took pleasure in explaining to people that the Greens do politics differently and don’t accept donations, allowing them to operate ‘frankly and fearlessly’ without fear of reprisals.
“People were overwhelmingly welcoming of that notion.”
She said media reports that the Greens are anti-farming are biased, and that she herself is a passionate farmer, is passionate about agriculture and passionately committed to a future of sustainable farming that incorporates food security.
In fact the rice farmer devoted an entire winter crop to stock fodder, to help those struggling to feed their stock during the drought.
She said beliefs that the party is urban-based are misguided, as it originally grew from a movement in rural Tasmania. Much of the Lismore electorate is rural anyway, but she said it’s very important to have a relationship with ‘city friends’.
“We need them. I don’t see it in a divisive way. We should be using our differences to our benefit.”
She said many would be of the view that our food and production systems are not in the healthiest form, and that the National Party ethos of massive global agricultural business is detrimental.
“Our vision is more about looking after the land.”
She said livestock still have their place, but even farmers may be harbouring concerns about the over-farming of marginal areas especially as we’re likely to experience a drier climate.
She feels that constituents haven’t had the kind of leadership that leverages the benefits that come from such as disparate electorate. Even from a climate perspective Northern Rivers dwellers could be offered some respite from the summer humidity and in return give highlanders an escape from the winter cold.
As a further example she said hemp farms in the Tenterfield district could benefit from collaboration with hemp farms nearer the coast, and vice versa.
“I’ll be working my damnedest to put those differences to use, so that we can share and come together.
“There’s enormous potential to share beneficially, and enormous scope for emerging industries.
“This is the most beautiful and fabulous electorate in the state.”
She hopes to extend her travels to Mingoola for a meet-and-greet at its hall in coming weeks, and intends to keep on coming up to Tenterfield for as long as people are happy to talk with her.