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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Barnaby Joyce wants Tony Windsor's Seat

Tony Windsor was a farmer at Werris Creek before entering politics and considers himself a conservative. In May 1991 he was first elected to the NSW State parliament as the member for Tamworth. He was originally a National Party candidate but allegations regarding a drink-driving incident arose on the day of his pre-selection and the National Party endorsed another candidate so he ran as an Independent. And the voters didn't care, they voted for him anyway and he won and held the seat for ten years before resigning in September 2001 to contest the federal seat of New England.

There were some unhappy campers in the National Party when Windsor won the seat of New England - the Nationals and its predecessor, the Country Party had held it since 1922. The division between Windsor and the National only worsened when he said that they had offered him a bribe - a diplomatic post if he would retire from politics. In November 2004 under parliamentary privilege he said that National Party leader John Anderson and Senator Sandy Macdonald were behind the offer.

My guess would be that Barnaby is going to run because he's pretty sure he'll win. Why? Because the conservative voters of New England are furious with Windsor for siding with Labor and putting them into government. "That does not align with their views of the world - and they're also very upset that he is contemplating supporting a carbon tax," Joyce said.

Windsor has publicly called Joyce a "fool" with attention deficit problems who doesn't have the support of his colleagues. He's challenged him to give up his seat in the Senate if he's serious about taking him on for New England. "If he wants to leave the people of Queensland that he says have been so good to him, that's his business but he should resign his seat in the Senate". Windsor points out that if Barnaby wants to stand in another state, he will be abandoning the people who voted him in. "He'd want to put himself on the line and start campaigning as soon as possible," he said. "He's probably feeling a bit frustrated in Queensland because a number of the older National Party members quite deliberately won't get out of the way because they don't want him in the Lower House."

Joyce said "It's my intention to go to the Lower House, absolutely, and obviously the seat of New England is a logical fit" and went on "It's just across the border from where I live so it's not that far away. It's not as if I'm going to a seat in Western Australia."

After the election last year, Mr Windsor was asked if he could work with Barnaby Joyce in a hung parliament. "I don't deal with fools terribly lightly, and I think under any definition the man's a fool," he said.

If in the future Senator Joyce were to become leader of the National Party, he would then become Deputy Prime Minister in a Coalition government - now that's a scary thought. So what does fellow Queenslander Bob Katter have to say about Barnaby's latest plan? No answer was the stern reply, I can just see him in his big hat rolling his eyes.