BUSH AGENDA KEY TO SPLIT

Na­tion­als push for shock party break-up

Stanthorpe Border Post - - FRONT PAGE -

RE­GIONAL ar­eas like the Gran­ite Belt are front of mind for the Na­tional Party, which has an­nounced it is plan­ning a shock split from its Lib­eral coun­ter­part.

Mem­ber for Mara­noa David Lit­tleproud said the bid was about cre­at­ing a bet­ter voice for the bush.

Eight Queens­land fed­eral Na­tion­als Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, in­clud­ing Mr Lit­tleproud, have de­clared they will split away from the party cam­paign at the next elec­tion.

“Our mes­sage comes cen­trally from the Lib­eral party, which doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily re­flect re­gional and ru­ral Aus­tralia, which is what I rep­re­sent,” Mr Lit­tleproud said.

“Our mes­sage has been over­shad­owed by the Lib­eral mes­sage for metro Aus­tralia.

“We philo­soph­i­cally aren’t on the same page with ev­ery­thing.”

The split will in­volve a re-brand­ing of the Na­tional Party, back to tra­di­tional green and gold colours.

The Na­tion­als will also run a sep­a­rate elec­tion cam­paign based on dif­fer­ent poli­cies to the Lib­eral Party at fed­eral gen­eral elec­tions.

Mr Lit­tleproud said the Na­tional Party al­ready sat separately to the Lib­er­als in the party room and were led by Barn­aby Joyce.

He said the joint cam­paigns be­tween both par­ties had caused the mes­sages from the Na­tion­als to be di­luted.

The change is set to al­low the party to en­sure re­gional Aus­tralia gets its fair share.

“I’ve al­ways tried to clearly ar­tic­u­late that I’m a Na­tional, I’ve never shied away from that,” he said.

“At no point am I say­ing the LNP should dis­band.

“It’s not about us split­ting, it’s about us clearly defin­ing what we have achieved.”

Mr Lit­tleproud said the Na­tional Party fo­cused on fed­eral is­sues af­fect­ing re­gions.

“We are solely fo­cused on re­gional and ru­ral Aus­tralia. We don’t stand can­di­dates in metro seats, that is not our fo­cus,” he said.

“We don’t want to go in and rep­re­sent peo­ple in metro Aus­tralia.”

For­mer Mem­ber for South­ern Downs Lawrence Spring­borg is scep­ti­cal about the break-up.

“For any­one who’s talk­ing about the de-merg­ing... in 1998 we had two sep­a­rate po­lit­i­cal par­ties and One Na­tion won 11 seats,” he said.

“This time we have a sin­gle merged Lib­eral Na­tional Party and One Na­tion have won one seat and that was off the La­bor Party. That, in it­self, speaks vol­umes of the ben­e­fit of the sin­gle na­tional party.”

Spring­borg suc­ces­sor James Lis­ter said he trusted Mr Lit­tleproud’s judge­ment.

“I just say I’m very proud to be a mem­ber of the LNP and I’m cer­tain that the LNP will con­tinue to serve the peo­ple of the South­ern Downs well into the fu­ture,” he said.

“I have ev­ery con­fi­dence he (Lit­tleproud) is do­ing right and proper.”

As to whether it will af­fect the LNP at a state level, Mr Lis­ter isn’t get­ting ahead of him­self.

“I haven’t had time to think about any of that. I’m just fo­cused on get­ting my feet un­der the desk and hit­ting the ground run­ning be­cause there’s a lot to do,” he said.

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