Nicholls: One Nation’s rural focus

One Nation candidate running on water policy in Nicholls


One Nation candidate Rikkie-Lee Tyrell

Rikkie-Lee Tyrrell has vowed to return local water ownership to her drought-weary community and secure prosperity for future generations if elected to the federal seat of Nicholls.

She is the only female and First Nations candidate running for National Party-held Nicholls, Victoria’s safest federal seat. She is descended from the Wiradjuri people of central New South Wales.

After buying a dairy farm in 2018, Tyrrell, her husband, and their two young children moved from Wagga Wagga to Invergordon in Victoria’s north east.

However, 12 months after the family moved to Victoria, they were severely impacted by drought and escalating water prices.

“Many families in the farming community were forced to pull the plug and call it quits … it broke my heart.”

Community in crisis

She singled out her community’s suffering as the factor responsible for fuelling her interest in and entry into politics.

After speaking to retiring dairy farmers, she learned inadequate legislation was to blame for the water crisis.

“The only way it could be fixed was through government,” she said. According to Tyrell, One Nation is the only party prioritising the return of water to the land.

After Mrs Tyrrell contacted One Nation about who she could assist in her electorate, the party decided she had the potential to run for Nicholls in the May 2019 federal election.

“Nobody else seemed to be trying and if I had to be the one to leap into it, then so be it,” she said.

“I didn’t join the party because it was Pauline Hanson’s One Nation … I joined because I knew their policies will improve our country,” she said.

Throughout the most recent federal term, Tyrrell campaigned for One Nation’s policies on water, climate, immigration, energy, and vaccine mandates to be a part of the federal political conversation.

She said “inhumane vaccine mandates and coercion” inflicted negative impacts on some education sectors and businesses in her community.

However, One Nation’s water policy is “number one” on her list of pressing needs for the country.

“One Nation will work to see water allocation returned to our irrigators, the establishment of hydro-power water infrastructure projects, and the abolition of foreign ownership of Australian water,” she said.

Climate action is “economic suicide”

Tyrrell has also campaigned for the party’s climate policy.

One Nation argued the carbon emission cuts proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) rely on “insufficient data” and risk “economic suicide” for Australia.

Tyrrell maintains climate change is a “political” rather than scientific concept and is “not caused by human intervention.

“Sustainability measures are anti-human and increase the living costs of Australians,” she said.

Zebedee Nicholls is a research fellow at the University of Melbourne. His work focuses on reduced-complexity climate model development, specifically determining the consequences of global emissions on global warming.

He led this research under Working Group 3 for the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) released on April 4 this year.

The AR6 unequivocally concluded that “human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land” and caused “widespread adverse damages to nature and people beyond natural climate variability”.

Mr Nicholls highlighted the rarity of the IPCC making an unequivocal statement and that this demonstrated “how strong the supporting literature is”.

He said human emissions of greenhouse gasses were undeniably to blame for the climate crisis.

“CO2 concentrations haven’t been this high in the last two million years, well before humans walked the planet … why people choose to ignore the results of science is unclear to me,” he added.

He also disputed Mrs Tyrrell’s claims that “anti-human sustainability measures” contribute to onerous costs of living.

“Given that solar and wind are now the cheapest forms of energy, we are seeing a synergy between environment and economic goals – the cheapest form of electricity is also the greenest,” he said.

Arguing about science was “beneficial to no one”, he added, and only created disunity at a time when cooperation was needed to address the climate crisis.

“By sowing division, we reduce our ability to engage because we’re fighting amongst ourselves,” he said.

Tyrrell said most politicians regard Australians as mere “statistics on a piece of paper,” and sympathises with what she sees as voter disillusionment towards out-of-touch politicians.

But if elected, she stressed One Nation would forge “strong grass-roots ties” to Australians.

“If I can be a part of a generation of politicians who communicate with voters and hand over a better Australia, I will be fulfilled,” she said.