Barnaby's back in

BARNABY Joyce has been re-elected as the Member for New England for the third time in four years, with an emphatic victory.

Electorate-wide the incumbent Nationals MP had attracted 55 per cent of first preferences, well ahead of the second-placed independent Adam Blakester with 14.82 per cent. Labor candidate Yvonne Langenberg came in at third with 12.52 per cent of the vote.

They were followed by United Australia Party's Cindy Duncan (4.5), the Greens' Tony Lonergan (4.18), Independents Rob Taber (3.73) and Natasha Ledger (3.03), and the Christian Democratic Party's Julie Collins (2.21).


In Tenterfield Shire support for Joyce was even stronger, attracting 59.61 per cent of the primary vote. The lesser-known Blakester got just over seven per cent and Langenberg instead took runner-up position with 15.54 per cent. The Drake community as usual demonstrated its support for the Labor Party giving it a third of its votes, ahead of the Nationals, but Joyce polled above 57 per cent (up to 72 per cent at Legume) at all the other polling centres.

Thirty-nine per cent of voters opted to vote early before election day at Tenterfield Memorial Hall.

Mr Joyce, who is set for a third term as the local member, thanked his supporters and his volunteers.

"We had a serious campaign against us, but so many people dug in fought hard," he said. "I am really humbled I was given the opportunity to represent them again.

Mr Joyce is no stranger to controversy, from his personal life to the recent 'Watergate' scandal, however it appears to have made little difference in the polls.

"There is a lot of raa-raa at a national level, but to the New England itself, it's about service," Mr Joyce said.

"People think a lot of it is over egged. It's not a New England issue.

"I think people are really forgiving, they say "Are you working hard? Are you doing the job?". Those little things matter.

"That's what we do and it's a credit to my office. No individual has ever won an election, a team wins an election."

CHEERS: Barnaby Joyce takes out another election. Photo: Gareth Gardner

CHEERS: Barnaby Joyce takes out another election. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Mr Joyce said he'd take a few days off before "getting back to work".

"I'll go do some fencing, go through my sheep and get in to a head space where I just switch off, and get rid of the hoopla," he said.

"Then I'm fresh. Close that chapter and I'm ready to get in to it again."

From a standing start, Mr Blakester announced his intention to run for the seat on a platform addressing climate change and "integrity in governance". Looking back in the immediate wash-up of his first foray into federal politics, Mr Blakester ran his race with pride, but its ending was "befuddling".

"I congratulate Barnaby Joyce and thank him for running a very respectful campaign, it's something I, and all of us in my camp, have appreciated," he said.

"The part I'm most proud of is I believe we created a respectful and meaningful set of conversations around the electorate."

But Mr Blakester said the result raised a number of questions about the electorate's priorities, because his platform was very distinct from Mr Joyce's.

What does it mean for addressing climate change? What does it mean for integrity in governance?

"I think Barnaby Joyce, in history, will have one of the worst rapt sheets of member of parliament," he said.

"And to get such a strong primary vote, that is befuddling for me."