Joyce's motivation for move is personal ambition: Windsor

UPDATE: Personal ambition, and not the best interests of New England voters, are behind Nationals Senate Leader Barnaby Joyce's mooted move to the lower house.

That's the assessment of Tony Windsor, the man Mr Joyce will need to unseat in New England.

Mr Joyce, who still has three years to run on his Senate term, confirmed he was interested in taking on Mr Windsor in New England after the Nationals dumped Richard Torbay as their candidate on Monday night.

"I am prepared to put myself forward if that is what the people wish," the Queensland Senator told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday morning.

"There are two obvious places where a person can stand, where they live and I live in Maranoa and where they grew up and I grew up in the New England. I'm going to leave that decision to the electoral council and I'm going to leave that to the people."

The shock move to strip Mr Torbay of his candidacy was thought to have come about after allegations surfaced of his alleged links with disgraced NSW Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid, although the party was yet to reveal the precise reasons.

In the latest developments Mr Torbay, the independent member for the NSW seat of Northern Tablelands, resigned from the NSW Parliament on Wednesday morning. It also emerged he would step down as Chancellor at the University of New England.

It also emerged the information that triggered the Nationals' to move on Mr Torbay had been referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Mr Joyce, whose desire to join the lower house was thwarted last year when Bruce Scott announced his intention to recontest Maranoa, said he would consult his friends in St George and party officials in New England before putting his hand up for pre-selection.

He denied his personal rivalry with Mr Windsor, a former National Party member, was a factor.But Mr Windsor, who holds the seat by a margin of almost 17%, was less than convinced.

He asked whether Mr Joyce was motivated by "political revenge" or a desire to "achieve a better outcome", adding New England had always been an after-thought for his potential opponent.

"How often is Barnaby going to do this sort of thing," Mr Windsor said on Sky News.

"He was going to run in six seats. And then it was going to be Maranoa and now it's going to be New England. So New England has always been his second or third choice.

"This is about Barnaby Joyce, it's not about the people of New England, it never has been."

Mr Windsor ended the Nationals' stranglehold on the seat in 2001.

He said his former party had continued to view New England as "their seat".

"This is on the great problems that the National Party still have. They fall into the same predicament time and time again, that they assume the seat," he said.

"It's theirs, they want it back ... by doing that they assume the people. Well the people don't like to be assumed."It's not my seat, it's not their seat, it's the people's seat."

Mr Windsor would not be drawn on whether he could see off a challenge from Mr Joyce.Nationals Leader Warren Truss said Mr Joyce would make an "excellent candidate" if he chose to nominate.

"It's a very bid decision for him to make because he has a term to complete in the Senate and he is playing an important role in the Senate," Mr Truss said.

The Member for Wide Bay said four people had already expressed an interest in running.National Farmers' Federation president Jock Laurie, who has been suggested as another potential candidate, told reporters in Canberra he had been in discussions with the party.

Mr Truss, who was due to open Mr Torbay's campaign office on Friday, said "legal reasons" had prevented party officials from informing him of the reasons for dumping the star candidate.

Meanwhile, Mr Joyce's potential move received glowing endorsements on Wednesday morning from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and manager of opposition business Christopher Pyne.

"I'm a big fan of Barnaby Joyce," Mr Pyne said.

"It would be tremendously exciting both for the electors of New England, the Parliament and for Barnaby."

 

EARLIER: Queensland Senator Barnaby Joyce said the prospect of him standing for the Nationals preselection in the lower house seat of New England "wasn't even a vague eventuality a day ago".

Senator Joyce, who grew up in the New South Wales seat currently held by independent MP Tony Windsor, had previously expressed interest in running against Mr Windsor.

But it wasn't until then-Nationals candidate Richard Torbay was removed from the Nationals ticket, after his name was mentioned in connection with political poison Eddie Obeid.

Just months after revealing his interest in running for the Queensland seat of Maranoa, Senator Joyce told APN Newsdesk he would officially put his hand up for the party preselection in the New South Wales seat.

A move to the lower house would put him a step closer to succeeding current Nationals Leader Warren Truss - putting the role of Deputy Prime Minister within his grasp.

While Senator Joyce said he had put his hand up, it was a choice for the local electoral council and regardless of the result; he would back whoever secured the nomination.

But Mr Windsor told reporters earlier in the day New England was Senator Joyce's second or third choice for a lower house, referring to Maranoa, currently held by veteran Bruce Scott MP.

"I'm here to give the Nationals the best shot in every seat, and whether that's with me as a candidate or someone else, that's not up to me," Senator Joyce said.

While Senator Joyce has made a political persona as a tough politician willing to fight for uniquely Queensland interests, he said he would be "absolutely loyal" to any electorate he represented.

"I have travelled widely in both Queensland and NSW, and I've noticed that those in rural areas - they're pretty the same north and south of the line," he said.

"There isn't some sudden change of the issue regional people face when you cross the border."

 

Windsor questions if Joyce is motivated by "political revenge"

ersonal ambition, and not the best interests of New England voters, are behind Nationals Senate Leader Barnaby Joyce's mooted move to the lower house.

That's the assessment of Tony Windsor, the man Mr Joyce will need to unseat in New England.

Mr Joyce, who still has three years to run on his Senate term, confirmed he was interested in taking on Mr Windsor in New England after the Nationals dumped Richard Torbay as their candidate on Monday night.

"I am prepared to put myself forward if that is what the people wish," the Queensland Senator told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday morning.

"There are two obvious places where a person can stand, where they live and I live in Maranoa and where they grew up and I grew up in the New England. I'm going to leave that decision to the electoral council and I'm going to leave that to the people."

The shock move to strip Mr Torbay of his candidacy was thought to have come about after allegations surfaced of his alleged links with disgraced NSW Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid, although the party was yet to reveal the precise reasons.

In the latest developments Mr Torbay, the independent member for the NSW seat of Northern Tablelands, resigned from the NSW Parliament on Wednesday morning.

It also emerged he would step down as Chancellor at the University of New England.

Mr Joyce, whose desire to join the lower house was thwarted last year when Bruce Scott announced his intention to recontest Maranoa, said he would consult his friends in St George and party officials in New England before putting his hand up for pre-selection.

He denied his personal rivalry with Mr Windsor, a former National Party member, was a factor.

But Mr Windsor, who holds the seat by a margin of almost 17%, was less than convinced.

He asked whether Mr Joyce was motivated by "political revenge" or a desire to "achieve a better outcome", adding New England had always been an after-thought for his potential opponent.

"How often is Barnaby going to do this sort of thing," Mr Windsor said on Sky News.

"He was going to run in six seats. And then it was going to be Maranoa and now it's going to be New England. So New England has always been his second or third choice.

"This is about Barnaby Joyce, it's not about the people of New England, it never has been."

Mr Windsor ended the Nationals' stranglehold on the seat in 2001.

He said his former party had continued to view New England as "their seat".

"This is on the great problems that the National Party still have. They fall into the same predicament time and time again, that they assume the seat," he said.

"It's theirs, they want it back ... by doing that they assume the people. Well the people don't like to be assumed.

"It's not my seat, it's not their seat, it's the people's seat."

Mr Windsor would not be drawn on whether he could see off a challenge from Mr Joyce.

Nationals Leader Warren Truss said Mr Joyce would make an "excellent candidate" if he chose to nominate.

"It's a very bid decision for him to make because he has a term to complete in the Senate and he is playing an important role in the Senate," Mr Truss said.

The Member for Wide Bay said four people had already expressed an interest in running.

National Farmers' Federation president Jock Laurie, who has been suggested as another potential candidate, told reporters in Canberra he had been in discussions with the party.

Mr Truss, who was due to open Mr Torbay's campaign office on Friday, said "legal reasons" had prevented party officials from informing him of the reasons for dumping the star candidate.

Meanwhile, Mr Joyce's potential move received glowing endorsements on Wednesday morning from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and manager of opposition business Christopher Pyne.

"I'm a big fan of Barnaby Joyce," Mr Pyne said.

"It would be tremendously exciting both for the electors of New England, the Parliament and for Barnaby."


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