• Rikki Lambert

Murray MP quits Shooters Fishers & Farmers Party


Helen Dalton has parted ways with the party that elected her to parliament and will sit as an independent in the New South Wales lower house.


The move comes as little surprise after Dalton openly discussed with Flow listeners in recent months that she was considering running as an independent in the federal election of Farrer at the next national poll. Mrs Dalton subsequently hit out at her Shooters Fishers and Farmers colleagues on Flow for failing to support another floodplain regulation disallowance motion.


Dalton had also taken a different position to her SFF colleagues, the latter supporting increasing the capacity of the Wyangala Dam and the former opposed.


The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party hit back on Thursday night, claiming Mrs Dalton was too close to a Greens MP and too strongly supported environmental water delivery to South Australia.


The writing was on the wall on Friday, when Mrs Dalton told Flow:

"It was very disappointing. They (SFF upper house MLCs) abstained from voting, they didn't bother to tell me what they were doing. Basically I was incredibly disappointed, I thought it was cowardly not for them to even speak with me on that. I was gobsmacked that Mark Banasiak MLC, who was on the upper house inquiry, heard all the evidence from people impacted by floodplain harvesting, and really in a sense voted against it, by abstaining he did vote against that disallowance.
"I'll certainly advocate strongly for my electorate and won't toe the party line if its to the detriment of my electorate.
"That upper house inquiry heard from all parties, independents, One Nation, Coalition sitting around the table, listening to the stories of the people impacted by floodplain harvesting, and yet SFF decided to abstain from that vote!"

Hear the full interview with Helen Dalton on Friday 24 March on the Flow podcast here:


References to the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party had fallen away from recent public commentary from Mrs Dalton.


In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, Mrs Dalton said:

On Thursday I resigned from the SFF party. I will now represent Murray as an independent in NSW Parliament.
Last week, Upper House SFF Party MPs did not show up for a crucial vote on floodplain harvesting.
They refused to vote down dodgy National Party law changes that allowed for excessive water take in the Northern Basin.
These law changes really disadvantaged Lower Darling communities and Murray River irrigators.
I’ve always said I’d put my electorate ahead of my party.
As an Independent, I’ll be able to always vote in the interests of my community.
Earlier today, I spoke to my party colleagues to let them know my intention to leave. I also informed NSW Parliament that I will remain on the crossbench as an independent.
I won’t be joining or aligning with any other parties or MPs.
Just before I resigned, the Shooters removed me as an administrator of my own Facebook page, then deleted it. I will need to create a new page to communicate with constituents.
Over the next year, my focus will be on improving hospital and mental health services in rural NSW; achieving fairer water sharing arrangements across the state and addressing the rural teacher shortage and housing crisis.

The SFF shared their position on social media on Thursday: