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5 May, 2022

OPINION: Why I hate every federal election

Editor Matt Nicholls speaks out why federal elections give him grief every three years.

By Matt Nicholls

SINCE the federal election was called a few weeks ago, I have been accused of being a Labor lover, an LNP spokesperson and a few other things that shouldn’t be put in print, let alone sent anonymously from an iPhone.

Part of me thinks I should take it as a compliment – if the readers think you are capable of being both left and right, then perhaps you are just simply independent.

But I don’t take it as a compliment.

This is one of the reasons I hate federal elections.

In the 15 years that I have been in charge of newspapers, I have never written an editorial about who people should vote for.

It’s bloody hard work being independent.

Since I arrived in the Cape eight years ago I have developed a strict policy when it comes to election campaigns.

If you are a candidate, you need to visit the Cape if you want to make the paper.

So far in this election campaign, just three candidates have bothered to visit the Cape – the incumbent Warren Entsch for the LNP, Labor candidate Elida Faith and Katter’s Australian Party hopeful Rod Jensen.

There are 11 candidates and just three of them have bothered to visit our region.

As far as I am concerned, the other eight are not worthy of your attention or vote.

What I can say about the three candidates who have bothered to show up is that they are all fundamentally decent people.

Now I don’t agree with all of their policies and opinions, but they are running for the right reasons.

While the bulk of the votes in Leichhardt are in Cairns, the people of the Cape need a federal MP who understands their issues.

Running an election campaign in Leichhardt is expensive and travel is hard, but if you think you deserve to represent the whole region, then you put in those hard yards.

Ideally, we would have fixed federal election dates in the middle of the year as the wet season has created difficulties in travelling to the Cape by road.

It’s also important to note that the incumbent MP always has the upper hand. They have a full-time staff at their disposal, more money to spend and more access to travel.

They also have experience and more nous in running a campaign.

Last week’s paper was a perfect example of Entsch’s team knowing when to drop the story on the same publishing date of the only newspaper that services the region.

That’s Politics 101.

My second Cape York Weekly policy is don’t come here empty-handed.

It’s one thing to visit and listen, it’s another thing to deliver a policy or promise that will genuinely change lives.

So far the Cape has been short-changed.

The only way for our political landscape to improve in the Far North is to speak up.

Cape York residents are not all that savvy when it comes to getting political capital for the issues that impact them most.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Just 16 days to go and, yes, I’m counting.

Matt Nicholls is the editor and publisher of Cape York Weekly


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