THEY can bake scones like Flo Bjelke-Petersen and knitscarvesfaster than you can say “climate change”.
But don’t let their grandmotherly charm disarm you.
The Country Women’s Association (CWA) is a formidable political force.
Over the decades, the group has advocated for everything from compulsory seatbelts to medical marijuana.
They are often the beating heart of small towns and play a critical role in supporting communities in crisis.
It might be an organisation largely made up on conservative, white, older women –and it might not sit well in the modern feminist narrative –but dismiss the CWA at your peril.
Decision makers in Macquarie Street and Canberra have learned that lesson the hard way.
And so now when the CWA takes a stand, politicians pay attention.
Next month, executive members from the Riverina group of CWA will table an urgent motion at the CWA state conference, calling on the state government to reject a proposal to dramatically cut back railway staff at stations in the bush.
Under the plan, seven full-timers at Wagga station would have their hours slashed and Griffith station would become a completely unmanned “ghost station”.
At first blush, the government mounts a reasonable argument supporting the cuts.
The digital age means travellers are increasingly buying rail tickets behind a computer screen, rather than from behind a counter.
And while that might be true, it ignores the reality for many older travellers.
It might surprise the bureaucratic bean-counters in Sydney, but there is a whole generation of Australians that would rather do business face-to-face than online.
Many of them fall within the CWA’s core demographic.
There is another compelling reason we should oppose these cuts.
They are symptomatic of a government that is becoming more Sydney-centric by the day.
The Premier is happy to spruik billion dollar upgrades of city sporting stadiums but at the same time cuts jobs –and future income –from the bush.
These cuts are the thin edge of the wedge.
As such, they should be opposed on principle alone.
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