SA Nationals' state tilt socially distances from Maywald
South Australia's National Party leader is aiming to be elected in the south east seat of Mackillop in March, but took aim further north at the former party leader, Karlene Maywald. In a minority government election result, however, Jonathan Pietszch could not be categorical on whether he would back a Marshall Liberal or Malinauskas Labor government.
Speaking on Flow, Jonathan Pietzsch, who holds the presidency of the National Party in the state, said the member for Chaffey's 2004 decision to take a cabinet position in the Rann Labor ministry did not align with the Nationals’ values:
“Karlene (Maywald) made her decision back when she did ... while it was probably in the best interests of her electorate at the time it was certainly not in the National Party’s interests from a brand point-of-view.”
Listen to the full interview on the FlowNews24 podcast player:
Pietzsch also maintained that within the National Party, he had taken up the fight for South Australia's interests in the presence of national leader Barnaby Joyce and other presidents, particularly on the Murray-Darling Basin:
“We see the National Party as being primarily focussed on real advocacy and I’d say some of our federal and interstate counterparts have a different perspective that is at odds with what South Australia needs.”
“We need to be strong in telling them that and they’re not right, they’re wrong on certain issues.”
“The water policy is one that we’ve taken a fight to a number of times at our federal council meetings where it can be quite a heated discussion at times as those different perspectives are put across.”
“We’ve certainly put across our views and indeed our displeasure at times with some of the Murray Darling issues...but it would certainly be a much better thing for South Australia if we had somebody at that table all the time.”
When pressed on Flow which way he might go if he held the balance of power in a hung parliament after the March 2022 election, Pietzsch was firm in stating that the party would be best served in South Australia by adopting a conservative mantra.
“I’ll be quite clear that we are on the centre-right of politics, a conservative party and that would be the government that we seek to support, but that support be contingent on seeing outcomes for the electorates that we’re trying to champion.”
In October, National Party candidate for Chaffey, Damian Buijs, told Flow that the Nationals Party's South Australian branch did not see eye-to-eye with the party at a federal level when it came to water policy:
“Something that has concerned us about the Federal Nationals is their position on water.”
“We believe that that’s why Chaffey needs some strong representation by the Nationals because of our concerns with our federal members and their position on water, which is quite favourable to sort of upstream communities.”
“I think Chaffey needs to be represented well and what the river communities down here need so that we can keep the Murray as a reliable water source for generations to come.”