THE SHOOTERS, Fishers and Farmers are so confident that the embattled Barnaby Joyce will step down, and Northern Tablelands Nationals MP Adam Marshall will step up to contest the vacant seat, they've announced their Northern Tablelands candidate 14 months ahead of the NSW election.
Shooter’s MLC Robert Borsak, says he’s heard rumblings from within the Nationals that steps are already being taken to field a strong Nationals’ candidate in a potential New England by-election, in the form of the popular state MP.
“The reason we are launching now is because we believe Mr Joyce will have to resign, and if he does resign, we have it on good authority that Adam Marshall will stand for Mr Joyce's seat,” Mr Borsak said.
However, Mr Marshall refused to fuel the rumours.
“I’m not going to entertain this speculation and political crystal ball gazing,” he said.
“I’ve got a job that I am absolutely in love with, I love representing the people of this area.
“I’ve got a stack of projects and issues I'm trying to get more funding for to help the community.”
Uralla-based police office, David Good will be the party's Northern Tableland candidate. He said regardless of what happens to Mr Joyce, he's prepared for a tough campaign.
“The decision to run in the seat formulated some time ago,” Mr Good said.
“Regardless of the outcome, if there is a New England by-election or not, I'm sticking it out, even if its for the 14 months until March 2019.”
Mr Good acknowledge the Nationals, through Mr Marshall, enjoyed a large margin in the Northern Tablelands, however pointed to the campaign his party ran in Orange, where the Fishers, Farmers and Shooters successful took the long-held Nationals seat.
“That result confirms there are no safe seats in regional NSW,” Mr Good said.
“Regional NSW, and the Northern Tablelands in particular, deserve better than what the Nationals are currently providing.
“They failed to stop forced Council mergers; they’re failing to stop the sell-off of our railway line for rail trails; and they failed farmers when they scrapped drought relief funding.”
“Out here people see billion dollar projects announced in Sydney when we struggle to maintain our roads, especially the New England Highway and the Newell Highway.”
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Mr Good was particularly critical of the Nationals' relationship with the Liberal Party.
“When there is conflict between the Liberals and what is best for regional NSW, the Liberal Party concept is the one that always wins,” he said.
“The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers suffer no obligation to the Liberal Party.
“I don't see being a member of a minor party as a hindrance. As a party we owe nothing to the city-centric party, and we can do much more for regional NSW.”