Meet the political candidates' Guyra supporters

PARTY VOLUNTEERS: Sandra Hutton (United Australia Party), Dr Methuen Morgan (Independent), Kerry Myers (Labor), Jane Parkes (Independent), Jenni Jackson, Tom Skipper, Richard Post, and Alan St Clair (all Nationals). Kneeling: Robert Collins (Christian Democratic Party). Photo: Nicholas Fuller.
PARTY VOLUNTEERS: Sandra Hutton (United Australia Party), Dr Methuen Morgan (Independent), Kerry Myers (Labor), Jane Parkes (Independent), Jenni Jackson, Tom Skipper, Richard Post, and Alan St Clair (all Nationals). Kneeling: Robert Collins (Christian Democratic Party). Photo: Nicholas Fuller.

They may be politically divided - but, in true Guyra spirit, there was plenty of camaraderie among party volunteers outside the Guyra Central School polling station on Saturday.

Barney's Army were there in force, supporting the incumbent federal member for New England, Barnaby Joyce.

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Alan St Clair, the party's local electorate council chair, said: "The Nationals support regional Australia; that's their main focus. Barnaby, as our local member, speaks his mind, and he's not afraid to get into a fight to get things done for us."

Mr St Clair expects Mr Joyce to win.

"Will the government win? Who knows? That's the big question!"

Richard Post, president of the Guyra Show Society, said Mr Joyce helped secure $20,000 to upgrade the showground's barbecue area to include a kitchen.

"For that, I'm really grateful," he said. "Barnaby's been a great supporter of our local community, and that's why I'm very happy to volunteer my time and support him today."

Mr Post also thought Joyce would win - but believed the Coalition would face a much tougher contest nationally.

Some political commentators believe, however, that Independent candidate Adam Blakester could topple Mr Joyce from his seat.

Jane Parkes - great-great-great niece of Sir Henry, father of federation - was one of his local supporters.

"He has beliefs and ideas that support the common wealth - not the Commonwealth - of the people; the social capital," she said. "He's going to deal with climate catastrophe, and he's concerned with social justice and social welfare."

Dr Methuen Morgan, solar farmer and environmental psychologist at UNE, believed Mr Blakester would help to preserve the environment - and with it, the economy.

"Adam is a believer in renewable energy," Dr Morgan said. "He's a man of integrity and honesty, and he's inclusive. He has a strength and a character that bring people into the fold for the discussion, and I think he's a good bloke."

Dr Morgan doubted, though, whether Mr Blakester would win.

"The tribalism that exists within politics today, and the lack of critical thinking that permeates throughout that tribalism, is mind-numbing, to be quite honest," he said.

Tribalism, Dr Morgan explained, insists that we vote for the group we have selected (our in-group)

"We don't act objectively; we don't stand back and view their performance in real terms and in real time, or are prepared to accept new information."

The denialism of climate change within conservative parties was particularly bewildering, Dr Morgan thought.

"The Tablelands is a conservative area, and sadly, I don't think that we give enough critical thought to our representatives. We don't insist that our behaviour and their standards are maintained. We seem to be happy enough to let that pass by, if only for the sake of maintaining our political position and our political power. It's a tragedy."

Kerry Myers handed out leaflets for Labor candidate Yvonne Langenberg.

"It's time for a change," he said. "Labor is offering the opportunity to turnaround what we've been putting up with for the last six years, in the way of cuts to services. Labor represents a return to looking after people, instead of looking after the high end of town."

He was fairly sure Labor would come home tonight in the federal election, but thought it would be harder locally.

"Yvonne faces a great challenge, as do all challengers to the sitting member," Mr Myers said. "The electorate's pretty welded onto tradition here - but you can never tell; you can never rely on it. So we live in hope."

Robert Collins promoted the Christian Democratic Party.

"I think we need to get back to Christian values," he said.

He liked the party's opposition to abortion, euthanasia, child pornography and domestic abuse.

"It's all about life," he said. "There's nothing more precious than life."