BUSH AGENDA KEY TO SPLIT
Nationals push for shock party break-up
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.