Barnaby Joyce is a born-and-bred New Englander

It has been some considerable time since the border staff manned the control point at Wallangarra making sure we didn’t return to NSW with some evil Queensland fruit, but thankfully we can travel freely between the two great states and live where we want. The parochial police aren’t there to stop us.
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It’s true Barnaby Joyce is not currently a New England resident for the purposes of the electoral roll, but that is only a very minor triviality. Some might not like it, or be surprised to learn that Queenslanders are Australians like the people of our state.

Barnaby Joyce is a born-and-bred New Englander, his tertiary education, like Tony’s, was at the UNE coincidentally in New England. His family lives in New England, his ancestors are buried in New England. Both Barnaby Joyce and the member for New England work at the same place in Canberra.

Simply because he currently resides 500km from here in southern Queensland doesn’t change those facts. It would have to be the most parochial argument ever made to say that Barnaby Joyce is precluded from contesting Nationals pre-selection and standing for New England because he currently lives in Queensland.

Do we argue that because the kids of families that live within New England, who go away to work, can’t return to live and work here to make a contribution to their community? That’s what Barnaby Joyce is considering returning to his home with the hope of taking up a new position.

If I lived in Queensland and applied for a job in NSW I wouldn’t move my family holus-bolus to NSW before I knew I had the job either. Very few people would.

WA Nationals leader Brendan Grylls didn’t move his family from the WA wheat belt to his newly won electorate of Pilbara? His family remained in the Central Wheatbelt seat during the recent WA elections. WA Labor MP’s tried desperately to make it an election issue but failed. Queensland Premier Campbell Newman did not live in his seat of Ashgrove prior to winning it.

I argue that Barnaby Joyce is taking a big risk, leaving the safety of his Senate seat to contest a competition in New England where he wouldn’t be assured of winning.

People, through necessity and through ambition, apply for jobs in locations other than their current residential address. How is that wrong?

Barnaby Joyce has never contested Nationals pre-selection in New England, not once, not twice, so it is a furphy to say that New England was his second choice. If he does so now it will be his first time and he would be doing so to take the fight up to the minions of the Gillard government.

Some people might think they are on a winner bagging Barnaby Joyce for wanting to stand in New England against the incumbent member who has aided and abetted the retention of federal Labor.

In 2007 Labor inherited a government with a healthy surplus of $70 billion. In just five and a half years, we are facing a net debt in the vicinity of $270 billion, with interest payments in the vicinity of $20 million per day.

Labor cannot protect our national borders; Labor gimmicks abound such as the failed pink batts, green loans, alco-pops tax, fuelwatch, grocerywatch, a CO2 tax that has added to our electricity bills, BER rorts, NBN blow out.

Then there was the fiasco over our live exports, $20 million donation to the unions to pay off the election donation from 2007 and Rudd’s $1.2 million travel bill in his first year as Labor foreign minister.

In recent times Labor showed its true colours with its proposed draconian anti-discrimination laws and media suppression proposals.

Our current federal member was explicit; he said that he would not “inflict Tony Abbott on the Australian people” and you’d wonder how constructive the relationship would be between the Coalition and Tony after September 14.

As recent events demonstrate, politics is a numbers game. New England is one of 150 federal divisions. New England may have been the beneficiary of significant federal funding pledges over the past two- and-a-half years, however for Australia to prosper we need a government that doesn’t quarantine electorates for financial favouritism as though the rest of Australia doesn’t matter.

This is why we need change in New England and at least 75 other federal electorates because the federal Labor malaise clearly demonstrates that the Opposition is not going to be able to fix the problems of Australia without a workable parliamentary majority and New England is integral to that.

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