Barnaby Joyce 'helping his neighbours' less than a week out from federal election

HEADING OFF: New England Nationals candidate Barnaby Joyce was campaigning in Nambucca Heads on Monday, less than a week out from the federal election. Photo: Gareth Gardner 230419GGB04
HEADING OFF: New England Nationals candidate Barnaby Joyce was campaigning in Nambucca Heads on Monday, less than a week out from the federal election. Photo: Gareth Gardner 230419GGB04

BARNABY Joyce has denied he is taking the New England electorate for granted as he hits the hustings on the coast less than a week out from the federal election.

Independent candidate for Cowper Rob Oakeshott took to Twitter to call out Mr Joyce on Monday, who was a "long way from his own seat, hanging around pre-poll in Nambucca Heads."

"A very confident candidate, or taking Tamworth for granted," Mr Oakshott said.

"Either way, welcome to the coast."

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A spokesperson for Mr Joyce told the Express the incumbent New England MP was "campaigning 90 minutes from the New England" for a Nationals candidate on a visit which was "organised well in advance of the election campaign".

The spokesperson denied Mr Joyce was taking New England voters for granted campaigning in other electorates less than a week out from the federal election, but suggested the former Nats' leader had "obligations".

"However, as a former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and having held numerous ministerial portfolios, Mr Joyce has an obligation to his party and the Coalition to ensure they secure as many seats as possible in the coming election," the spokesperson said.

"It is Mr Joyce's belief that it's better for the New England if the Coalition wins, and if he can help his neighbours in some way, he will."

It comes after a television interview which aired on Sunday did little to quell leadership rumblings within the Nationals and Mr Joyce's perceived aspiration to return as leader of the party.

He refused to rule out an attempt to regain leadership and said: "that is not a discussion for an election."

Independent candidate for New England Adam Blakester said it was "perplexing" to learn his electoral adversary was campaigning on the coast.

"This last week, for me, is about trying to have much contact across the electorate as I can," Mr Blakester said.

"I thought he would have been here."

Mr Blakester was manning the pre-polling booth in Tenterfield on Monday and planned to be in Bingara tomorrow.

"Our sense is that a lot of people, the National Party included, feel like they're in an unbeatable position, but we're going to work hard until 6pm on Saturday night on a very sound policy platform and a capable team in the electorate," he said.

The Leader understands Mr Joyce will be New England tomorrow.

This story Joyce campaigns outside his electorate a week out from election first appeared on The Armidale Express.

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