Scott Morrison vs Bill Shorten - Australia News Headlines

A conservative stronghold for a century, Australia’s hinterland is now cracking like the drought-parched earth, voters say, with once-safe districts in jeopardy ahead of Saturday’s election. Driven by anger on issues from climate change to water allocation, the splintering presents a problem for the governing conservative coalition that normally considers itself secure in rural areas but is trailing in national opinion polls. In Mildura, a city of 30,000 people on the edge of the outback and part of the safest of 16 electorates held by the coalition’s junior partner, the farmer-based National Party, nobody can recall it ever needing to campaign so hard. “If you just look at the distribution of posters, they’re up everywhere,” Stefano de Pieri, a politician-turned-chef who has run a restaurant there for almost 30 years, told Reuters from his kitchen by a bend in the Murray River. Mildura was one of five constituencies to spurn the Nationals at state polls in November and March, its disillusionment stoked by a deepening drought and a feeling the 99-year-old party of “the bush” was taking voters for granted. “There is a sense of Mildura wanting to go through a political renewal,” de Pieri added, a contrast from previous years, when the Nationals were seen as sure-fire winners. In the agricultural heartland beyond, the mood is similar. “Everyone I’ve talked to is not going to vote National Party,” said Leonard Vallance, the livestock president of the Victorian Farmers’ Federation. “They need a good shake and I think they’ll get…




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