September 2018 Branch meeting resolutions by @bellingenlabor #Bellingen


Motion – Landcare

The Bellinger River Branch of the ALP moves that a future Labor Government both State and Federal reinstate Federal funding to Landcare, reduce privatisation of the Landcare funding model and reinstate local Landcare coordinators to stop fragmentation.

Motion – Matter for the National Integrity Commission

The Bellinger River Branch of the ALP is greatly concerned with recent developments of the 2004 East Timor’s cabinet bugging during negotiations about the oil and gas treaty between Timor Leste and Australia.

The branch calls on an incoming Labor Government to refer this matter to its yet to be established National Integrity Commission as a matter of urgency.

Updated: 27 September 2018

August 2018 Branch meeting resolutions by @bellingenlabor #Bellingen #bellingenlabor

170508 Branch meeting resolutions report

Motion No 1: Forestry in Bellingen Shire

The Bellingen River Branch of Labor calls on the NSW Government to commit to four inquiries related to forestry in Bellingen Shire, specifically:

(1) Calls on the NSW Government to urgently commission an expert independent inquiry into the fire threat to Bellingen Shire from NSW Forestry Corporation operations and in general, given the changing climate, most notably hotter and drier conditions, which are now a permanent feature and will only worsen.

(2) Calls on the NSW Government to immediately suspend all logging operations in Bellingen Shire pending an expert independent inquiry into the ongoing suitability of the shire for the harvesting of timber in current locations. This inquiry should include in the terms of reference the impacts of forestry operations on flora and fauna species, air quality, water quality, soil quality, locale amenity, erosion, employment, tourism, economic development, real estate values and local infrastructure, including roads. 

(3) Calls on the NSW Government commission an expert independent inquiry into the conduct of the NSW Forestry Corporation and its compliance with legislation and regulation; its contract management with contractors; its compliance with environmental standards; its engagement with community stakeholders and its adherence to best practise corporate behaviour. 

(4) Calls on the NSW Government commission an independent expert inquiry into the economic impact of forestry in the shire and to examine options for alternative sites within the Shire for plantation timber and for new industries, such as nature-based tourism, bush regeneration and habitat restoration. 

(5) For all parties to recognise that timber is a renewable resource and, done right, forestry can be a sustainable industry which has an important place in addressing the climate crisis and Australia meeting its obligations under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. All parties should also consider that the potential exists to increase employment in forestry providing (a) suitable areas can be found for plantations; (b) there’s consensus between the community, government and business on locations and operations and, (c) NSW Forestry Corporation reforms its practices and is subject to frequent independent oversight.

(6) For all parties to recognise there are some businesses and individuals in the shire dependent on forestry for their livelihood and any proposed changes should include programs, developed in consultation with the union movement, to assist those impacted to transition to a new future.

(7) All parties note that under Federal and State National Party governments, Federal Government forecasts indicate employment in primary industry (agriculture, forestry and fisheries) on the upper Mid-North Coast (Coffs/Grafton) is forecast to fall from 4,400 in 2017 to 4,200 in 2022 and remain steady in the lower Mid-North Coast (Macleay/Port/Taree). Source: 

(8) For NSW Labor to adopt the principles of this motion into policy, for advocacy in Opposition and implementation in Government.


  • NSW Premier
  • NSW Minister for Primary Industry
  • NSW Minister for the Environment
  • NSW Leader of the Opposition 
  • NSW Shadow Minister for Primary Industry
  • NSW Shadow Minister for the Environment
  • Federal Shadow Minister for Forestry
  • NSW Federal Labor Candidates – Page, Cowper, Lyne
  • NSW State Labor Candidates – Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Oxley, Port Macquarie, Myall Lakes
  • Mayor, Bellingen Shire
  • General Manager, Bellingen Shire

Motion #2: Preferences at the Federal Election

The Bellingen River Branch calls on the Australian Labor Party to preference One Nation, Liberal Democrats and Katter Australia Party after Liberal Party, National Party, Liberal National  Party (QLD), Country Liberal Party (NT) candidates at the next federal election.


  • National Secretary, Australian Labor Party.

Updated: 17 August 2018



News Release: National Party once again rejects Luke Hartsuyker

BRL News Release

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National Party once again rejects Luke Hartsuyker

Statement by Andrew Woodward, President, Bellinger River Branch, 7 November 2017

Since Malcolm Turnbull sacked Luke Hartsuyker from the Ministry in February 2016, he’s had three opportunities to restore his career. He has failed. Today he’s been passed over once again, effectively ending his political career. 

After the 2016 election, he was passed over for readmission to the Ministry. When Barnaby Joyce was thrown out of Parliament, the Prime Minister himself decided to be the Acting Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources rather than risk it in the hands of Assistant Minister Luke Hartsuyker. Today, the Nationals elected Bridget McKenzie as its new Deputy.

On 30 October 2017, Mr Hartsuyker in the Coffs Harbour Advocate under the headline of “Hartsuyker keeps mum on possible leadership bid” and didn’t rule out running for the Deputy Leadership (which was contested today 7/12/2017). He didn’t contest it. He saw it was futile. He knows his political career is over.

We hope Mr Hartsuyker focusses on delivering for his electorate in the twilight of his career rather than sulking around flower shows, fetes and fairs posting selfies of himself on social media.


Text from Coffs Harbour Advocate, 31 October 2017

COWPER MP Luke Hartsuyker is keeping his cards close to his chest in regards to a possible tilt at a leadership position within the Nationals party room.

“The Nationals made a decision that they would not elect a deputy leader in the interim period and I’ll be reserving my judgement with regards to that until such time as we know the outcome of the by-election to be held on December 2,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

When pressed on the fact that there must be an election for the deputy leader of the Nationals in Canberra since former deputy, Senator Fiona Nash, was deemed ineligible to have held office by the High Court of Australia, Mr Hartsuyker continued to let that line of questioning go through to the ‘keepr (sic).

“That’s something that I will give consideration to at the time,” he said.

When an election for the Nationals leadership was last held in February 2016, Mr Hartsuyker nominated himself for the position of deputy leader but was beaten in a secret ballot by Mrs Nash.


Updated: 7 December 2017

News Release: NSW Labor slams Nationals for supporting Sydney stadiums over north coast schools and hospitals


Schools and hospitals

NSW Labor slams Nationals for supporting Sydney Stadiums over north coast schools and hospitals

NSW Labor has slammed the National Party for supporting an “obscene” misdirection of priorities, saying it is spending $2.5 billion on rebuilding Sydney stadiums when North Coast hospitals and schools desperately need the financial support.

NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley and Shadow Minister for the North Coast Walt Secord made the comments this week.

Mr Foley and Mr Secord said the Nationals were completely out of step with the needs of the community, preferring to spending billions in Sydney while rural and regional communities receive second class health and education services.

Mr Foley said the North Coast schools and hospitals are going begging after the Liberal- National State Government committed an obscene $2.5 billion on knocking down and rebuilding Sydney stadiums.

The out of touch Berejiklian-Barilaro Government’s stadium strategy will rob the region of money that should have been spent on North Coast schools and hospitals.

The decision will directly affect North Coast school children who face years of being taught in demountables or in classrooms with leaky roofs and broken toilets.

It will also do nothing to help the almost 5,000 patients on the North Coast who have been waiting months for elective surgery.

Mr Secord added that the old National Party of Wal Murray and Doug Anthony would have never supported such a slap in the face to rural and regional families.


  • The median waiting time for non-urgent elective surgery is 285 days – with some patients waiting nearly a year (356 days).;
  • There are 4,996 patients waiting for elective surgery (as at 30 June 2017);
  • At Lismore Base Hospital, the median waiting time for non-urgent elective surgery is 328 days. The waiting time for a total knee replacement is 329 days;
  • At Lismore Base Hospital, there are 1,783 patients waiting for elective surgery (as at 30 June 2017).


  • Across the region the maintenance backlog for schools is $2.5 million;
  • There are 40 schools in the region that are at 100 per cent capacity;
  • There are 137 demountables in the region’s schools. 


  • Four regional hospitals; or
  • 139 primary schools; or
  • 62.5 high schools.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

I will not allow this obscene amount of money to be spent on a couple of Sydney stadiums.

“This is money that should go to schools and hospitals; they come first and will always do so under a Labor government.

“When thousands of children in the region are being taught in demountables and thousands of people are waiting months for elective surgery it is a crime that this out of touch Government has committed such a huge amount of money on a couple of Sydney stadiums.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for the North Coast – Walt Secord

“This is simply ridiculous. We have thousands of elderly patients waiting in pain for knee and hip replacements while the State Government spends more than $2.5 billion on stadiums.”

“Billions of taxpayers’ dollars are being poured into Sydney stadiums – the playthings of the Liberal Party; this is just wrong.”

Source: News Release

Updated: 6 December 2017


News Release: @Luke_Hartsuyker citizenship status – he stuffed up his parliamentary submission #cowper #changecowper #auspol


Statement by Andrew Woodward, President, Bellinger River Branch, Labor. 5 November 2017

Luke Hartsuyker owes the people of his electorate of an apology. He has finally done what he should have done back in August and that is seek and table official documents with the Parliament confirming his citizenship status. What has occurred today should have been done back in August. Instead he ducked, weaved or hid on the issue for four months. And then when he had to, he stuffed it up. 

Luke Hartsuyker should apologise to the electorate for the four month delay, which again showed his disrespect of the electorate and his contempt for the principles of accountability.

He also needs to pay more attention to what he submits to the parliamentary register of citizenship. In short, he stuffed it up. On page one of the parliamentary submission it asks “Citizenship held at birth” and Mr Hartsuyker replied “AUSTRALIAN”.  But the letter he included from the Netherlands Government says “You were born on their 28th of April 1959… and therefore obtained Dutch nationality under….”. His answer to section two therefore should have read “AUSTRALIAN AND DUTCH”. It defies belief that he could answer this question incorrectly as it was at the heart of the matter. The Dutch Government gave him a letter which stated this in black and white. When it comes to administrative sloppiness, the Nationals just keep on giving.

Amateurism aside, It took nearly four months to get something official from him. And he had to be made to do it. The Nationals just don’t get it. The Leader and Deputy leader lost their positions in parliament because of the issue. Wouldn’t any professional and responsible person want to clear up any doubt as quickly as possible, given that his two bosses just got done? Not, our Luke! He had to be dragged kicking and screaming to tell the truth. And he only got the letter from the Dutch Government in late November. The whole thing is laughable.

On behalf of the people of Cowper, Labor first called on Mr Hartsukyer to release documents about his citizenship on 12 August 2017. He never responded to our request in writing. Mr Hartsuyker then spent a few months making conflicting statements about his citizenship status. We examined these and on 4 November 2017 again called on him to make a statement and release documents. He ignored us, again.

He has now tabled documents in parliament supporting his view that he is eligible to continue to hold his seat in parliament on the basis that he doesn’t hold citizenship or dual citizenship of or with another country.

Luke Hartsuyker has done this week what he should have done four months ago voluntarily. We hope Mr Hartsuyker learns from this experience and puts the electorate first and his ego second in future matters of public importance. A good starting point would be an apology to the people of the electorate followed by a course on how to fill in forms.


  • 12 August 2017 Post
  • 4 November 2017 Post


Submission to parliamentary register


Updated: 5 December 2017

Talking Points: Breaking News – Government celebrates stunning victory in one horse race

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Talking Points: Breaking News – Government celebrates stunning victory in one horse race

By Andrew Woodward, President, Bellinger River Branch, 3 December 2017

Malcolm Turnbull is getting the band back together and welcoming Barnaby Joyce back on stage.

It is a band that can’t sing as one; has old instruments; they’re way out of tune and they’ll put out albums on vinyl that go straight to the clearance bin. They’re like one of those one hit wonder bands from the 1970’s that makes a living off the country RSL tour circuit forty years later.

Let’s be clear, the result in New England wasn’t a surprise. Right wing parties have held the seat for over a century. Labor’s vote peaked in New England in 1983. As someone who was on a booth for ten hours in Armidale yesterday, the message I got from voters that came through was they were miffed at having to be there and wanted to get in-and-out of there as quickly as possible. It wasn’t a day for politics. It was like going to RMS and renewing your Drivers’ Licence.

The issue in New England has always been who gets the conservative vote. So, in essence, the Nationals had a stunning victory in a one horse race. There’s was no strong former National (like Tony Windsor) running as an independent; there was no One Nation candidate and there was no Shooters, Farmers and Fishers Party candidate . The vote for these types of candidates are the normal measure of the strength of the Nationals performance in an electorate like this. A performance measure of the Nationals in this seat is not Labor’s vote. It hasn’t been since the Hawke years. In the 2017 by-election, there was one known conservative voice and people voted for him – as you would expect.

Barrie Cassidy got it right on Insiders today – this was a correction.  Joyce’s TPP yesterday didn’t beat Tony Windsor’s TPP in 2007. Let’s look at the two-party-preferred vote going back eight elections:

  • 2017 TPP National 73.63 v Labor 26.37 (by-election count to date)
  • 2016 TPP National 66.42 v Labor 33.58
  • 2013 TPP National 70.71 v Labor 29.29
  • 2010 TPP former National 71.52 v National 28.48
  • 2007 TPP former National 74.33 v National 25.67
  • 2004 TPP former National 71.00 v National 29.00
  • 2001 TPP former National 58.3 v National 41.70
  • 1998 TPP National 62.93 v Labor 37.07

Yesterday’s result was on par for an electorate like this, as it is for Farrer and Riverina in NSW and Mallee and Gippsland in Victoria. Further, I expect Mr Joyce’s TPP to reduce in the days ahead – closer to 70 per cent than 75 per cent. It could even go below 70 per cent.

In delivering for the Nationals yesterday, it must also be remembered that this came at a cost of $2 million. The by-election happened and taxpayer funds were spent because Barnaby Joyce broke the law and was ineligible to sit in parliament. And the fact that the Prime Minister and Mr Joyce celebrate this victory and ‘party like it is 1999’ reaffirms just how deluded and desperate they are. In their speeches last night, did either apologise for the cost and inconvenience of yesterday? No. They just don’t get it. They’re arrogant, out-of-touch and bumbling along.

So the band put out a record yesterday; they listened to it themselves a few times and, declared it a hit! They’ll hit the road serenading their adoring fans in the next two weeks. It will be short-lived. Kristina Keneally will deliver a gold record on 16 December. The tune of the nation will change then.

And one more thing: Labor’s primary vote went up over four percent in New England yesterday. If that happened nationally in a general election, Labor would take government in a landslide – and deservedly so.

Updated: 3 December 2017

News Release: NSW Nationals say Turnbull must resign. Does Luke Hartsuyker agree?

BRL News Release


Statement by Andrew Woodward, Bellinger River Branch, Australian Labor Party, 1 December 2017

In an astonishing move, the NSW Leader of the National Party and Deputy Premier of New South Wales, John Barilaro, this morning called on Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull to resign (ABC 1/12/2017).

This is unprecedented in living memory in Australian politics – the state leader of a political party calling on the federal leader of its coalition partner in government to resign. The coalition is over – it is there in name only. The Nationals have a decision to make – to push for the the Liberals to sack Mr Turnbull or withdraw from the Coalition.

The Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, must let the electorate know where he stands. He has previously described Tony Abbott as his “close friend” and was later sacked as a Minister by Malcolm Turnbull in February 2016.  In more recent times, Mr Hartsuyker has indicated he may contest the leadership of the Federal Parliamentary National Party. (CCA, 31/10/2017). As a potential leadership aspirant, he is duty bound to disclose where he stands.

In particular, Mr Hartsuyker needs to answer:

  • Does he agree with Mr Barilaro that Mr Turnbull is “completely out of touch”.
  • Does he share Mr Barilaro’s view that he has “lost all hope” on Mr Turnbull’s leadership?
  • Does he agree with Mr Barilaro: “Turnbull is the problem, the Prime Minister is the problem”.
  • Does he agree with Mr Barilaro that Mr Turnbull should “… should step down, allow for a clean out of what the leadership looks like federally.”
  • Does he agree with Mr Barilaro that “You’ve got a party in disarray, a Coalition Government in disarray and a community not unified and that is all at the feet of the Prime Minister of Australia.”
  • Does he agree with Mr Barilaro that “Turnbull should give Australians a Christmas gift and go before Christmas.”

If Mr Hartsuyker remains silent on these matters, he is not worthy of being an Assistant Minister and should not recontest Cowper at the next election. The Liberals and Nationals at all levels are a rabble.Mr Hartsuyker is a part of the problem and not a part of the answer.

If he was fair dinkum about leadership, he would take a stand. Instead I bet he is “unavailable”, “declined to comment” or “did not respond” or he’s too busy – off taking selfies for his expensive glossy brochures and facebook – as usual.


Updated: 1 December 2017