Roy Butler, a vegetarian cattle farmer from Mendooran, is set to take on the politicians in Sydney after winning the seat of Barwon in the NSW State Election on Saturday.
From the completed initial count, it was the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (SFF) candidate that Cobar voters put their faith in with Mr Butler receiving 993 votes and outpolling his nearest rivals, Nationals’ Andrew Schier (446) and Labor’s Darriea Turley (339).
Speaking with The Cobar Weekly on Monday, Mr Butler said he was still cautious about declaring a win and said he preferred to use the title of ‘Member Elect’ until the final count had been completed.
“It’s an amazing result and I’m really humbled by the support that we’ve had,” Mr Butler said.
“Some of the people who voted for us were not traditional SFF voters and even the people who volunteered for us were not SFF people.
“We’re still trying to work out how that happened.
“I think it all comes back to the people you meet along the way and then they introduce you to the right people who can influence other people in the community, that’s what it comes down to.
“Relationships and people is what it’s about.”
He said the best part of being a candidate had been getting to meet people right across the electorate.
Mr Butler declared his intent to run as the SFF candidate for Barwon in March last year and started travelling around the 356,291km² Barwon electorate on the campaign trail.
At the beginning of November he took leave from his job as a Region Business Manager for a State Government Law Enforcement agency to concentrate full time on his campaign.
“Since then I’ve only had about seven nights in my own bed,” Mr Butler said.
“I totally believe I couldn’t have done much more in terms of hours in the day or breaking the speed limit.”
Mr Butler’s election to the seat of Barwon
rewrites the history books with the National Party having had a stronghold on the seat since 1976.
Mr Butler said water had been a big issue throughout his campaign.
“Drought is a huge factor, but management has also been a factor,” he said.
“The Murray Darling Basin Plan has failed farmers, the environment and regional communities.
“We believe by properly measuring all water use, eliminating corruption and shifting decision making to local communities, we can both restore river health and enhance the vital role irrigations plays in our economy.”
Mr Butler said he wasn’t sure when he would officially start work as our State Member, but in the mean time will be catching up on lots of jobs at home on the farm.
He’s also looking forward to spending time at home with his family.
He is however very much ready to go into Parliament and fight for the west.
“We have been ignored and subjected to city-centric decision making for too long.
“Barwon is very much now on the government’s radar,” Mr Butler said.
“It’s clear we have a voice and we will use it.
Mr Butler is considering basing his three electorate offices in Cobar, Broken Hill and Narrabri.