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