TENTERFIELD and New England will go to the polls on September 7 after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd set the date for the federal election.
With incumbent member Tony Windsor drawing the curtain on his political career, it is shaping up to be a three-horse race between outspoken Nationals stalwart Barnaby Joyce, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and political newcomer Jamie McIntyre and Greens candidate Pat Schultz.
Tony Windsor had held the seat since 2001 and was expected to battle it out with Senator Barnaby Joyce, but has opted to retire.
Leader of the newly formed 21st Century Australia Party Jamie McIntyre, who will arrive in Tenterfield today, brought further media focus to the region this week when he claimed the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) was conspiring against his party after he was informed they would not appear on the September 7 federal election ballot papers.
Mr McIntyre said he would look to take urgent legal action against the AEC and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd unless his party was included on the ballot.
Mr McIntyre, who will now look to run for the seat as an independent, said the “denial of democracy” by the AEC was a blatant attempt to undermine the newly formed party.
The party lodged their application with the AEC on May 2 and was listed as a registered party on July 15.
Ms Schultz who will stand as the Greens candidate, brings election experience with her, having previously run for the state seat of the Northern Tablelands and the federal seat of New England.
With Mr Windsor’s retirement, Ms Schultz said she hoped the Greens votes would increase and listed Gonski reforms and the end of coal seam gas extraction as key priorities.
Senator Barnaby Joyce was in the Tenterfield Shire recently and has been on the campaign trail for some time, having appeared at 35 town hall meetings in the last couple of months.
While in Urbenville on Friday, July 26 Senator Joyce made his priorities clear saying the Mt Lindesay road revival and Armidale intensive care unit were at the top of his wish list.
Senator Joyce moved his family into their new home in New England on Thursday, having listed his Queensland properties for sale.
Former PM John Howard will appear at a dinner at the West Tamworth Leagues Club on August 14 with Senator Joyce.
Jamie McIntyre will hold a question and answer forum at the Tenterfield RSL Pavilion tonight from 6.30pm.