FORMER One Nation candidate Stuart Bonds endorsed Shooters Fishers Farmers (SFF) candidate for the Upper Hunter by-election Sue Gilroy at Burdekin Park today partly due to her genuine commitment to improving standards and compensation for coal miners within the region.
The endorsement follows a falling out with One Nation over their support for the controversial federal industrial relations reforms.
Mr Bonds has tirelessly campaigned to improve the rights of casual mineworkers and he felt the SFF party most closely aligned with his values.
When asked how many votes he thinks would be redirected from him to Ms Gilroy as a result of the endorsement, he said he didn’t know.
“I have no idea but it would have to be worth a few percent,” Mr Bonds said.
Mr Bonds encouraged voters to take action during pre-polling. “We should put Sue as number one. Steve Reynolds is a very good man, I’d be putting him as number 2. I’d be putting the Greens last and Labor as second last,” he said.
Ms Gilroy who welcomed the endorsement also said health services in the Upper Hunter and in NSW generally should be overhauled.
“I’m planning to speak with nurses and doctors at Singleton Hospital to have a comprehensive understanding of the conditions at those hospitals and then going ‘well what do we need to do to make it better for them’ because if I end up being that representative, let’s do it. Hospital staff deserve better,” Ms Gilroy said.
The SFF also plans to introduce legislation into parliament that will require new mining projects to employ at least 75 percent of their workforce on a full-time basis.
“This commitment has extended more widely by the Shooters Fishers and Farmers party as they have agreed to move a Notice of Motion for a Bill in NSW parliament before the by-election to propose changes to mining worker’s compensation,” an SFF statement read.
The proposed bill would also result in changes to workers’ compensation for casual mineworkers by ensuring they are compensated on the same basis as full-time employees.
This isn’t the last we will see of Mr Bonds on a campaign trail. He said he would next focus his energy on running for the seat of Hunter in a future federal election, which he almost won previously.