Candidate Barnaby Joyce urged voters to put a ‘1’ against his name in December 2’s by-election for the seat of New England, so he can win on the primary vote and be back on the job December 3 rather than waiting for preferences to be tallied.
He told supporters at the opening of his Tenterfield campaign office that the wide field of candidates was a ploy to draw preferences away from him, and again highlighted his ties to the electorate in contrast to those of candidates who don’t live in New England.
“If they believe in the electorate they should live in it,” Mr Joyce said.
“It’s nice. I like it.
“The reason that all these people are there is that they’re trying to get a heap of preferences to go away. They’re trying to get people to go shopping and not put the National Party and myself number one.
“If they can do that they can basically split us by attrition. It’s a trick by the other side to try and split the vote up.”
Tenterfield National Party president Terry O’Sullivan welcomed Mr Joyce back for another election campaign office opening, regretting only that “it was a bit of a bugger that you had to come back so soon.”
Mr Joyce assured supporters he takes the northern part of the electorate very seriously, to the extent of opening an electorate office to ensure there’s a direct connection between Tenterfield and Canberra. He rolled out what he termed a ‘shopping list’ of projects completed or underway, including close to home the Liston/Legume Rd upgrade, Bookookoorara Bridge, the Bolivia Hill realignment, the Tenterfield heavy vehicle bypass, and money for a feasibility study on Mole River Dam.
He said the relocation of the APVMA (Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority) to Armidale would bring in new jobs, and more again as chemical companies move to be closer to the regulating body.
“The Labor Party’s number one promise, if they win the electorate, is they’ll move it back out of Armidale,” Mr Joyce said.
“If we lose this, Bill Shorten’s the prime minister of Australia, and we don’t want that.
“Malcolm (Turnbull)’s rung me up. He asked me when I’m back.
“I think he’s as enthusiastic as most people to get me back to Canberra.
“We got to keep the nation on a strong footing, a nation that can defend itself and its borders, a nation that is proud of its agricultural exports and stands behind them.”
Mr Joyce said agriculture is now the economy’s fastest growing sector, “and it happened on our watch”.
“We know that if the lefties won, it would be a green agenda that would run our country and that would really hurt us. One of the first thing the Labor Party is going to bring in is more restrictive tree clearing laws, and then they want more restrictive animal control laws on how you can operate stock on your place.”
Mr Joyce said the opposition doesn’t support the inland rail project to open up a “corridor of commerce” though small towns between Melbourne and Brisbane.
“We really do have a vision for regional Australia,” he said.
Watch Mr Joyce’s full address below.