Featured / News / 15th December 2022
Butler breaks away from Shooters Party
Growing unrest within the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party has led to Roy Butler resigning from the organisation on Monday, 12 December.
The NSW member for Barwon said it was not an easy decision.
The spill comes following comments made by party leader, Robert Borsak, in regards to a former colleague, Helen Dalton.
According to Mr Butler’s recounts, Mr Borsak risked bringing the party into disrepute when he made a physically threatening comment in parliament regarding Ms Dalton saying “he (LC presiding president) should have got up and clocked her.”
In a statement that was released on Monday, Mr Butler said the comment from the party leader was the latest incident “in a long list of grievances.”
Both Mr Butler and Member for Orange, Phil Donato, met with Mr Borsak and offered him the choice of stepping down and making a dignified exit from politics, otherwise they would seek to deal with the issue at the party’s annual general meeting.
“Both Phil and I are men of integrity. We could not let Robert’s remarks stand without some acknowledgement that he was wrong, nor could we allow him to continue to damage the electoral chances of the party. We tried to fix the problems within the party, but unfortunately that has not been possible,” Mr Butler said.
“Mr Borsak has not only refused to step down, he has dug in his heels and made it impossible for us to speak out against him at the annual general meeting in Singleton last Saturday.
“We said that our positions had become untenable unless there was change, but there was no change.
“The executive, which includes Robert’s son and two of his friends, chose to throw their support behind the leader, leaving us no option but to resign from the party, which is sad; I like the party and it had always been my intention to run with them at the next election.”
Mr Butler said he will continue to serve the Barwon region, but now as an Independent, and will contest the upcoming March election as an Independent. He said he had “always operated a bit like an Independent in Parliament, so not much will change in that respect”, and said he will continue to work hard for his electorate and to advocate for the people of Barwon.
“I’m announcing my resignation from the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party, but I will continue to represent the people of Barwon as an Independent in a very real sense, with my allegiance only to Barwon, to regional communities and to the people of NSW,” Mr Butler said.
Mr Butler was first elected under the Shooters’ flag in the 2019 state election. He was elected during the worst drought in the European history of Australia.
From the moment he took office he lobbied hard for the drought relief that had, so far, been denied to many hard-working people in his electorate.
At the time he was elected he was one of three members of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFF) in the Legislative Assembly, along with Helen Dalton, Member for Murray, and Phil Donato, Member for Orange.
Together with Mark Banasiak and Robert Borsak, it made the SFF a formidable presence in Parliament. In his time in NSW Parliament Mr Butler has worked hard to get a better deal for the people of Barwon. In 2016, before his term, the electorate specific funding for Barwon was $132 million, in 2022 that had risen to over $907 million.
This result has been thanks to the good relationships with ministers Mr Butler has been able to establish and maintain during his time in Parliament.