Barnaby Joyce takes New England
There was good news and bad news in Tamworth last night. The good news was Barnaby Joyce’s win with a greater swing than the previous election. The bad news is that Malcolm Turnbull was there to claim the victory as his. Turnbull does see this win as affirmation that HIS government and more particularly HE is moving along swimmingly, all is tickety-boo. The swooning, however, is temporary. And so is his position in the party we can only hope.
The ABC’s election analyst says Barnaby Joyce has easily won the New England by-election. Counting is continuing, but Antony Green says it is clear the former deputy prime minister will be victorious. Mr Joyce is projected to win a primary vote of about 64 per cent, a big jump from his 52.3 per cent primary at the last federal election. Nationals president Larry Anthony and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have hailed the size of the swing. “Barnaby Joyce has been elected with what appears to be a record in the history of by-elections in Australia,” Mr Turnbull said.
Barnaby Joyce declares victory in New England with huge swing against low-profile opponents
But Mr Joyce was easily the most high-profile of the 17 candidates running, given that former member Tony Windsor chose not to contest.
The Nationals are crediting a low-profile, locally focused campaign for the successful result.
Some Nationals also feel that locals may have voted for Mr Joyce on principle or in sympathy because they felt the High Court citizenship ruling had been harsh.
Mr Joyce was joined by Mr Turnbull for a victory celebration at a pub in Tamworth, where he thanked his supporters.
“I say to the people of New England, that I never take anything for granted, and for every person who voted for us and voted for us for the first time. I just want to say how completely and utterly humbled I am,” he said.
The by-election was held because the High Court disqualified Mr Joyce from parliament for being a dual citizen.
The strong result is likely to mean a speedy return to parliament for Mr Joyce, who was away while some of his Nationals colleagues went rogue.
They agitated for a banking inquiry and criticised Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull for his leadership on same-sex marriage.
The campaign has been dirty at times.
Just this morning, a town hall in Armidale was covered with graffiti reading, “No Barnaby Joyce”.