‘They seem to have gone coal mad’: major parties sing as one, but Upper Hunter voters are not so sure

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Hotly contested NSW byelection comes amid growing doubts about the economic viability of the industry and the future of the region

Standing on a hill overlooking the sprawling maze of paddocks he’s worked all his 71 years, Ian Moore rattles off the names of Nationals MPs he’s supported in the Upper Hunter during his 50 years as a member of the party.

Col Fisher, the local MP for 18 years from 1970, lived just over the hill from Moore’s farm in Jerrys Plains, a tiny village west of Singleton. Fisher was “an honourable” man, he remembers. So too George Souris, who held the seat from 1988 until his retirement in 2015. “A gentleman,” Moore says.

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