THE Greens says the party’s results in rural seats will encourage its push into rural electorates, despite being unable to fully capitalise on a dissatisfaction with the major parties.
The swing against the Greens in NSW was 2.56 per cent, but the average swing against Greens in 14 country seats was almost 2pc less, at -0.64pc.
In NSW, the Greens achieved positive swings in five rural and regional seats: New England 0.72pc, Cowper 2.93pc, Lyne 1.55pc, Paterson 0.52pc, and Richmond 1.04pc.
Nine seats swung against the Greens but only the seat of Hunter, a stronghold for the minerals industry, exceeded the average swing with a shift away of 3.27pc.
In some electorates where coal seam gas (CSG) or mining was a prominent issue, such as Richmond, Cowper, Lyne and New England, the Greens received a mild swing.
NSW Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham said the House of Representatives results in regional areas were encouraging, in what was “a tough election for the Greens”.
“The Country Greens will continue to grow our presence, promote our policies and provide an alternative to the National party,” he said.
“(We) are in this for the long haul and will continue to challenge a National party that has grown lazy and too close to the Liberals and the big mining companies.”
Greens Senate candidate and Gurley farmer Penny Blatchford said 50 people manned polling booths for her campaign for the first time.
“That signals a big change and we can definitely build on that. There is growing acceptance in the bush that there is room for other parties,” Ms Blatchford said.
“I know on the booths where people represented me, and handed out my flyers, Green votes did make a difference. We can build on that experience.”
Ms Blatchford said one of her aims in standing for the Senate was to help foster dialogue between the city and the bush and to influence agricultural policy.
“There is some whingeing about city people not ‘getting’ country people.
“Because of this whole process any person that I have come across in the Greens party is very excited to meet a farmer.
“When I invite them to my property they always come. Me getting involved, just one person, is creating conversation and it is helping to reconnect city and country.
“If the Greens get to know farmers and what we do that will flow through to their agricultural policy.”