Shepparton News

Voting for independen­ts will ‘change the government’: deputy leader

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Nationals deputy leader David Littleprou­d joined a united front of Nationals candidate Sam Birrell and Liberal candidate Steve Brooks in Ardmona yesterday to urge the region not to vote independen­t.

Mr Littleprou­d, who is also the Federal Agricultur­e Minister, was visiting Plunkett’s Orchard in Ardmona to launch the coalition’s $1.7 billion agricultur­e plan.

Mr Littleprou­d said people in Nicholls were at “the nexus of the nation’s future”, and the decision made at the ballot box on May 21 would be “one of the biggest decisions in their futures and our nation’s future”.

“The future of Nicholls will determine the future of the nation, and that is the gravity of the decision which will be made over the coming 10 days,” he said.

Mr Littleprou­d was the latest in a long line of senior Nationals and Liberals visiting Nicholls to campaign against independen­t Rob Priestly.

“If they vote for an independen­t, the people of Nicholls will not just change their member from someone in the coalition to an independen­t, they’ll change the government,” Mr Littleprou­d said.

“What you’ll get is not a coalition member, you’ll also not get a coalition government — you’ll get an Anthony Albanese government.

“If you change the government you’ll change regional Australia because, while I get along well with some of those on the other side, they don’t understand regional Australia and they don’t understand agricultur­e, and you’ll pay the bill for that.”

Mr Priestly has previously not committed to either side in the event of a hung parliament, and said minimum standards in aged care would be a cornerston­e of negotiatio­ns with either side.

He has also said he would recognise the “conservati­ve nature” of the electorate in making any decision on which party he would support.

Mr Brooks said the coalition had “delivered” for voters during the campaign.

“We’ve delivered over six years with Damian Drum, and for 20 years before that with Sharman Stone as the Liberal member,” he said.

“For an independen­t to come up with ideas, that’s great, but in the end it will still end up as a letter to the government requesting something be done.”

Mr Birrell said it was “clear” the coalition had a plan for agricultur­e, and said having a voice in the party room of government was important.

“I just think that the way we operate as a government, and particular­ly in my experience with the Nationals, is that when people have issues, they tell us about them, then we get the ministers here, the minister listens, and we respond,” he said.

 ?? Photo: Max Stainkamph ?? Making their case: Nationals Senate candidate Mick Harrington and Nicholls candidates Sam Birrell (Nationals) and Steve Brooks (Liberal) with outgoing member Damian Drum and Federal Agricultur­e Minister David Littleprou­d.
Photo: Max Stainkamph Making their case: Nationals Senate candidate Mick Harrington and Nicholls candidates Sam Birrell (Nationals) and Steve Brooks (Liberal) with outgoing member Damian Drum and Federal Agricultur­e Minister David Littleprou­d.

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