Independent candidate Fiona Leviny has been disappointed by the actions of the major political parties.
Independent candidate Fiona Leviny has been disappointed by the actions of the major political parties. Tim Jarrett

ELECTION: Win at all costs culture called out

FIONA Leviny has called out the "disgraceful" antics of politicians across the political spectrum.

On the eve of the election, the Page independent candidate pointed the finger squarely at the major parties, saying they were sending the wrong message to the community.

"I think it is disgraceful how the two leaders slam each other - where are our young voters learning about truth and respect and where has the graciousness in our politics gone?" she said.

"The negativity and lack of respect is evident."

Ms Leviny said people wanted to see politicians "leading by example", not levelling accusations at each other and added "we need to unify this nation, not divide it".

The call for unity at a time when the public is asked to choose sides may seem strange, but perhaps there is something in it. The type of unity the public might like to see is not necessarily a unity of ideas but a unity of approach.

There is a clear policy difference between the parties at this election, but that difference has been overshadowed by the negative aspects of the campaign.

Whena candidate threatens legal action and full-page advertisements urge the public to "tell Shifty he's dreaming" you know you are in dark territory.

The campaign was likened to a football game by Greens candidate Dan Reid, who said while the players had been respectful there were a few supporters who "got a little rowdy".

However, Mr Reid and other candidates who spoke to The Daily Examiner on election eve reported a positive atmosphere at a local level and Animal Justice Party candidate Alison Waters even remarked she had made a few friends across the political divide.

And there is no doubt there is even an air of collegiality among a vast majority of volunteers who hand out how-to-vote papers at every polling booth, each recognising the role they are playing in the democratic process.

It remains to be seen whether or not the respect shown at a grassroots level can be achieved at a higher level but with independents challenging the status quo across the country, perhaps the negativity is wearing thin.

Aside from the tone of the campaign, without knowing the election result there is one major piece of infrastructure the Clarence Valley can bank on - the Grafton riverfront precinct.

The announcement by both major parties to commit $6.5million to its development cannot be overstated. This has the potential to really change the atmosphere of the Grafton CBD.

It is an act of bipartisanship that council must be thinking is well overdue, but nevertheless could breathe new life into the area.


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