Darren Chester’s epiphany?

By September 27, 2021Australian Politics

Victorian Nationals MP Darren Chester has announced that he will be taking a break from the National Party room because of its increasing “very hard right-wing agenda” and that its leadership was dysfunctional1.

As the leadership of the Nationals has been dysfunctional (as well as inarticulate) for quite a while (Barnaby Joyce was leader from February 2016 to February 2019), it would be interesting to know why Chester took so long to realise this and why the right-wing agenda he has been supporting in government since 2013 has suddenly become unpalatable for him.

Long considered a ‘moderate’ in the party, Chester said his attempts to raise issues about some of the comments made by other MPs fell on deaf ears. One comment was by Queensland LNP senator Matt Canavan about the withdrawal from Afghanistan, who tweeted “Does anyone know whether the Taliban will sign up to net zero”. Another was by Queensland MP George Christensen, who suggested Victoria Police officers should be arrested for using “excessive force” against protesters in Melbourne1. Other than these stupid Queensland LNP politicians, Chester has said another factor to blame for his decision was that he supports stronger action on climate change and that the internal divisions in the National Party make this unlikely. If this was the case, then why did he vote for fracking (unconventional gas mining; i.e. coal seam gas, tight gas and shale gas mining)?2  Why did he vote for politicians to be able to interfere with research funding, giving them the power to veto certain grant applications?3  Why did he vote against the federal government funding the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)?4.  Why did he vote against the federal government legislating to protect the Great Barrier Reef?5  Why did he vote to scrap the carbon pricing mechanism?6  Why did he vote against a fast transition away from fossil fuels to renewables?7.. Why did he vote against the government increasing investment in renewable energy?8  Why did he vote against the government treating action on climate change as a matter of urgency?9

Given his voting record, I hope you can excuse me for being cynical about Chester’s motives. The cynic in me suspects that internal polling in his Gippsland electorate makes it clear that he is in danger of losing his seat if still associated with the climate change denying, coal promoting National Party. After all, parts of his Gippsland electorate suffered badly in the Black Summer fires. Of course, it could simply be a warning to the National Party that he would pull the pin permanently if the Nationals don’t sign up to Morrison’s plan to develop a plan to give the appearance of pretending to sign up to zero emissions by 2050 prior to the Glasgow Climate Conference?

Whichever it is, it is all about appearances, and about retaining his seat, by forcing the idiotic Canavan and Christensen to shut up and making the Nationals appear to give a damn about climate change.


  1. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-27/nationals-mp-darren-chester-break-partyroom-right-wing-push/100493358
  2. https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/gippsland/darren_chester/policies/18
  3. https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/gippsland/darren_chester/policies/203
  4. https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/gippsland/darren_chester/policies/127
  5. https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/gippsland/darren_chester/policies/122
  6. https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/gippsland/darren_chester/policies/3
  7. https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/gippsland/darren_chester/policies/91
  8. https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/gippsland/darren_chester/policies/20
  9. https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/gippsland/darren_chester/policies/79


  • Arthur Baker says:

    I like all the questions about his voting record. Why don’t many journalists ask politicians such questions? Don’t worry, I know the answer already.

    • admin says:

      Yep, that is symptomatic of the malaise of our media. Too many journalists who have got too cosy with politicians, and numerous colorectal stenographers.

  • Glenn says:

    I have respect for Chester. He had the decency to vote against Joyce, which was why he got demoted. Anyone with half a brain knows that Joyce should not have been allowed to become deputy PM again.

    • admin says:

      While Chester did seem to be shocked by the severity of the fires and appeared genuine when dealing with people affected by them in late 2019 to early 2020, the fact that he consistently voted with the people who denied that they had anything to do with climate change, some of whom tried to maintain they were set by arsonists, were due to there being too great a fuel load, or even spontaneous combustion of horse manure, makes him just another coalition drone. While I realise that it is the system which constrains him, the fact that he would sell out the future of the planet and any children and grandchildren he may have, by voting against what is needed, all for $211,250 per annum, shows him to be just another spiv. ‘Taking a break’ from the party room is insipid.

  • Jon says:

    I see Dumb and Dumber – Joyce and Canavan – have been at it again with their simpleton’s views on the effects of climate action (ignoring, as their wont, the well-documented costs of not acting). Canavan, whose contribution to adult debate on climate action includes cerebral comments like – “does anyone know whether the Taliban will sign up to net zero?”, “net zero emissions is about as silly as zero COVID”, and posting pictures of snow during winter captioned with “climate change” has now attempted to link empty supermarket shelves and energy supply and soaring costs in post-Brexit UK with Bozo’s climate action policies.

    On The Conversation (see link) Prof of Energy Policy at Sheffield Hallam University Aimee Ambrose said:
    “It’s outrageous to suggest the current UK energy situation is the result of a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. It is primarily a gas crisis, fueled by the nation’s slow transition to lower carbon sources. The origins of the crisis are complex, and date back many years…..”
    Who to believe? An ideologist with the comprehension and EQ of a primary school child, or an expert with real knowledge and an open mind?

    Canavan is a compulsive liar. He lies by suggestion, omission and through voluntarily acquired ignorance. Apparently Liberal Jason Falinski wasn’t buying Canavan’s puerile ignorance. He said: “This has been a fundamental feature of the debate in Australia from day one – misappropriation of cause and effect. The mistake made in the past is that those kinds of claims have been allowed to go on unchecked. I think it’s important now that people actually stand up and say, ‘look, there is no relationship between this and the thing you’re arguing against’.”

    While it’s good to see conservatives actually calling out the lies and ignorance of their coalition partners we should ponder how much better politics in this country would be if Falinski applied the same standards to his own party – especially its designated “leader”.

    The Planck principle suggests that science (and by extension, human development) progresses as generations die off. With climate change the prospect of current and future generations of this planet having to wait for the Canavans and Morrisons of this world to shuffle off is insufferable.


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