By Tanya Ginns, Murrami, NSW
John Barilaro (NSW Deputy Premier) is right when he says Michael McCormack has failed in his leadership.
The Deputy Prime Minister has not stood up for farmers in his backyard across the Murray and Riverina regions of NSW, so if he won’t support those so close to home what hope do we have with the National Party under his leadership?
It’s amazing how politicians can change their position when doing so can be beneficial to their career.
We all need reminding that when the Murray-Darling Basin Plan was being debated in 2012, Mr McCormack said it was an assault on regional Australia that had generated fear and uncertainty.
He said it would cost good, hardworking country people “a wealth of money”.
And how right he was!
Mr McCormack back then, in Opposition, could see the damage this plan was going to cause in the Riverina and Murray, so he crossed the floor to oppose it.
Now let’s fast forward to a time when all of Mr McCormack’s predictions have come true, and then some, but instead of being in Opposition he is the Deputy Prime Minister in a position of considerable power.
What has he done to protect these “good, hardworking country people” who have lost “a wealth of money”?
What has he done to protect the suffering communities that used to be National Party heartland but have deserted his party in droves?
That’s what he’s done.
Like others in the National Party he was not prepared to stand up to former PM Malcolm Turnbull and demand change, and now he’s not prepared to stand up to Scott Morrison.
He’s not prepared to demand the Murray-Darling Basin Authority gets split up (it should, in fact, be abandoned) as per the Productivity Commission report.
He is not prepared to insist that action be taken to fix what a whole host of reports tell us is a failing basin plan that is costing our nation billions of dollars.
Mr Barilaro is correct.
Michael McCormack is a failed leader whose key attribute, in my opinion, appears to be protecting his privileged position.
He could see what the basin plan was going to deliver his communities, and he was right.
He is now in a position to fix it, but he won’t because that would take more political courage than he appears to have.