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19 Jul 2024 20:29
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  •   Home > News > Politics

    Moree solicitor Brendan Moylan wins Northern Tablelands by-election for NSW Nationals

    Moree solicitor Brendan Moylan is New South Wales' newest MP, in a week where two senior Coalition members announced their resignations from politics.

    Moree solicitor Brendan Moylan is New South Wales' newest MP, in a week where two senior Coalition members announced their resignations from politics.

    Mr Moylan stood for the NSW Nationals in the Northern Tablelands seat, which held a by-election on Saturday after the resignation of Adam Marshall in April.

    Mr Moylan was declared the winner by the party on Saturday night, with 66.4 per cent of the primary vote.

    The Nationals were expected to easily retain the seat, which was the safest in NSW at last year's state election.

    The Nationals also retained the electorate's confidence in the two-party vote with 85.4 per cent of the vote – up from 83.3 per cent in last year's state election.

    The victory steadies a tumultuous week for the state opposition, with senior figures Matt Kean and Bronnie Taylor announcing their resignation from politics.

    Liberal MP Matt Kean's decision will mean another by-election for the seat of Hornsby in Sydney's north-west. 

    On Thursday, the Nationals appointed Gurmesh Singh as their deputy leader replacing Ms Taylor.

    Moree solicitor turned MP

    Originally from Gunnedah before settling in Moree, Mr Moylan said he was aware of the issues that face the Northern Tablelands electorate.

    He said it was humbling to learn of his election following a campaign that's seen him travel over 13,000 kilometres in seven weeks.

    "The first reaction is probably relief, that all the hard work as paid off," Mr Moylan said.

    "It's incredibly humbling, not coming from a background in politics to get to the point where the leader of the state party [Dugald Saunders said] that the seat was ours, it's great."

    Crime in the electorate was put under the spotlight by the Minns government following the introduction of new youth bail laws, coupled with a new $8.75 million bail accommodation and support service to be built in Moree.

    Between 2022 to 2023, data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research shows break-and-enter offences in Moree were 840 per cent higher than the state's average.

    However, Mr Moylan said it wasn't just Moree residents that were grappling with crime.

    "Regional crime has been spoken about by absolutely everyone I have chatted to," he said.

    'It's not just a Moree issue, people are no longer feeling safe in their homes. It's an issue for population retention and attracting people to the region."

    Mr Marshall, the former Minister for Agriculture, announced his resignation after 11 years in the seat, instead choosing to pursue a career in the energy sector.

    He said he has no doubt Mr Moylan would be able handle the job.

    "It will be great to hand over the baton," Mr Marshall said.

    "[Brendan Moylan] has worked really hard during the campaign, he has driven more than 2,000 kilometres a week visiting all the communities, large and small, and that's what the job is."

    Health top of mind for voters

    Natasha Ledger and Duncan Fischer ran as independents in the by-election.

    Ben Smith contested the seat for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, while Dr Dorothy Robinson stood for the Greens.

    Labor chose not the nominate a candidate.

    Siri Gamage lives in Armidale and said health services in the electorate were a concern.

    "Even to get an appointment … for their existing patients, takes about a week or more," Mr Gamage said.

    Mr Gamage, a member of the pro-rail group, Trains North, voted for independent candidate Duncan Fischer, citing his stance on public transport.

    GP Mandana Arshi has been in Australia for 20 years.

    After gaining Australian citizenship in Armidale Town Hall in May, she voted for the first time in the same venue on Saturday.

    Dr Arshi said health services and other resources for regional communities were high priorities when she placed her vote.

    "I was looking forward to it. I was so excited to be able to do that."

    She supported Mr Moylan after being pleased with his approach to representing his electorate.

    Louise Vaughan said health and other services in regional communities were also a concern for her and she felt "city centric attitudes" were an issue that "really needed to be overcome".

    "I think we're actually really a poor second cousin to the cities and it's getting worse and worse," Ms Vaughan said.

    "Hopefully we see some change."


    © 2024 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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