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Barbs slung in the backblocks

As the Sydney Morning Herald this week was headlining its front page with an updated story on the battle for New England between incumbent and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce and once long-time holder of the seat Tony Windsor, it was also signalling the rancour in a fight plumbing new depths.
Nanjing Night Net

On exactly the same day, on another national front page, there was theastonishing story of Tony Windsor being accused of student bullying at his old school, Farrer, more than 50 years ago.

This is how low you can go in a battle for survival for one ambitious politician who now regards it as his and theresurrection of one who believes he has to reclaim it for his electorate’s better future.

The viciousness and brutality of this battle for even hardened campaign onlookers is appalling.

When Mr Windsor announced he was going to re-contest the seat, there was a dread among veterans about thebattlelines and the engagement rules.

Metro media types salivated at the prospect of some colourful campaign stuff and the interesting days ahead.

They spoke at length with local media about the highlights to come, in what was an election landscape looking decidedly banal, grey and soexceedingly long that it trailed off into the distance.

But now, the battle for New England has become ugly and repugnant in places, more bitterly engaged and waged than even the most crusted-on old media watchers might haveimagined.

The forays by metro media into the New England backyard has been like watching missiles being thrown in the night.

Metropolitan barbs slung into the country backblocks like terrorist raids.

Some have assaulted residents,electors and reporters as they strivefor the ever-personal remarks and colourful country quotes.

Some have been particularlyaggressive, demanding contactnumbers, old stories and paperprintouts and some of the localknowledge that will put them in place with the battling warriors.

And certain campaign types have muddied the waters too, integrity and honesty taking a backseat toelectioneering and wedge politics, as well as high-handed arrogance.

There was a certain schadenfreude or delicious irony in one anecdote then relayed back to this newsroom.

It involved the hapless bogging of a news team chasing after one campaign culprit and being led, like a goose chase of sorts, into the countryside, where the blacksoil plains were like a chocolate mud cake.

It was a lighter moment to savour in a campaign that’s been so tough it’s become grubby.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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