Na­tion­als dis­miss Grylls break­away talk

Pilbara News - - Pilbara | News - Gary Ad­shead

Peo­ple close to Bren­don Grylls have re­jected spec­u­la­tion that the former Na­tion­als leader has plans to form a new po­lit­i­cal force and con­test the 2019 Fed­eral elec­tion.

Min­ing in­dus­try and Fed­eral po­lit­i­cal in­sid­ers have been dis­cussing the sce­nario since last week.

But Mr Grylls has not re­sponded to calls.

“No, I would be very sur­prised if there’s any truth to that,” Na­tion­als MP Vince Cata­nia said.

“His fo­cus right now is away from pol­i­tics.”

Ac­cord­ing to Perth ra­dio sta­tion 6PR last week, Mr Grylls was in talks to form the WA First Party and plan­ning to con­test a Se­nate seat in two years.

The mav­er­ick politi­cian lost his seat of Pil­bara to La­bor af­ter push­ing a pol­icy to in­crease the spe­cial lease rental paid by Rio Tinto and BHP from 25¢ to $5 a tonne.

Na­tion­als State pres­i­dent James Hay­ward said Mr Grylls was still a mem­ber of the party and that he could not imag­ine why Mr Grylls would break away from the party if he still had any po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tion.

Mr Grylls, who has re­mained in the Pil­bara since los­ing the elec­tion, was tar­geted by min­ing com­pa­nies through the Cham­ber of Min­er­als and En­ergy which ran a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar cam­paign against his lease rental pol­icy. While not sup­port­ing the Na­tion­als pre-elec­tion pol­icy, the McGowan Gov­ern­ment spoke to Rio Tinto and BHP this week about pay­ing out the lease rental in ad­vance.

Premier Mark McGowan said a lump sum deal could only oc­cur if the miners agreed to it.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Former Pil­bara MLA and one-time WA Na­tion­als leader Bren­don Grylls at the Red Earth Arts Precinct site.

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