Since Nick’s first election success, I have been a great supporter, Nick was first elected with a small primary vote, and it was the minor players, the minor parties and Independents preferences that got Nick across the line.

Nick quickly became a shining light with plenty of help from the mediocrity of his opposition in government. The people of South Australia finally had a voice in parliament, where once laid a barren, self-serving two and a half party system.

Nick knew how to play the media, and the people needed an alternate choice, so his success was guaranteed. I had so much in common with Nick, where he was criticizing the big duopoly, Woolies and Coles, I was taking the grass roots approach, holding rallies, protests and eventually setting up Farm Direct markets to offer our most affected farmers and growers an alternate place to sell their produce.

Nick had the voice and the media, I had to work with what I had, ideas and social media, and over the past 7 or 8 years, we regularly spoke at the same rallies and forums, on a variety of topics from farmers and water to investment and services.

I had hoped Nick’s success would open the door for more alternate voices, people who could back him up, heading to a time when mediocrity was wiped out and common-sense could again govern.

This is where the penny dropped, Nick then started preferencing the major parties, and he turned his back on the minor parties and the Independents that had helped him to success.

Was it because he had become a part of the system, or was it the self interest in ensuring he had no competition as an Independent, that I will leave to the reader to decide, in any case, no doors were opened, and he now stands alone.

Having a good voice and knowing what is wrong in this nation is one thing, but the power to bring change is reliant on a united approach, because it was self-interest that drove us to where we are now in the first place.

Nick would know all too well, that most if not all of the minor players and Independents are campaigning for change, like Nick we all want to restore common-sense and to ensure our nations self-reliance.  That is why we invest our time and hard earned money, and if Nick sincerely wants to see change, he needs to work with us, not against us.

When the minor players got together to see how much we could work together, to ensure the upper house had some independent checks and balances, to ensure it did not become a rubber stamp for the chosen government, Nick was nowhere to be seen.

When he finally sent in his campaign manager the arrogance shown to us all was astounding, this broke the Camel’s back from my point of view, and after they left, the consensus was that none of us wanted to prefer him, if this was his attitude.

During the federal election he had preferenced the major parties, and his brief representation at the meeting, all but confirmed he was going to do that again, begging the question; did he not want support in the upper house for the change he keeps telling us he wants to see?

Back during his first run for the senate, when he was already a sitting member in our states upper house, I was alerted to the fact that Labor had paid for his posters, when questioned on this matter, he became very angry, but it was never confirmed.

Just a couple of weeks ago, our Riverland grape growers were in desperate need of support, after all their calls going unanswered, they contacted me to see if I could help them at a grass roots level, and of course I agreed, and headed up to the Riverland to see how I could help.

I listened to their concerns, offered my advice, and when they wanted to hold a rally, I helped them set it up, driving in from the Riverland for the protest with them; it was here that Nick phoned and wanted to work with me, offering a variety of excuses why he could not get up there.

I spoke to the growers to see what they wanted to do, they wanted to back me for all my help over the years, but in their best interests, I thought it best to work with Nick, because he had the federal experience.

To keep the story short, Nick grabbed all the media, as he had in the past and several other protests I had been involved in, never mentioned me once, told the growers to try and arrange emergency one of funding, and then disappeared.

I had already told Nick they did not just want handouts, they need to see change, because next year do they tend to their vines, will they have a buyer, and how much will they be paid for their produce? Many are selling assets to survive, and need more than handouts, working together entail’s more than a media voice, it requires powerful change that only unity will bring.

In short, Nick Xenophon has a powerful voice in the media, and he knows what is wrong and understands what we the people want, but he can’t bring the change we all want on his own, he needs support, and that will not bear fruit, without a united approach.

I am sure he may fear backing others in case they make mistakes, but I for one would love to work with the man and learn how to best approach the varied problems we face as a nation, and so would many other patriotic Australians, but to shut us out of the political system, is self-serving and a very expensive decision to make for our nation.

Mark Aldridge

Independent MLC candidate


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