MORE candidates have lined up for the byelection that’s stopped the nation, with the Greens and CountryMinded entering their horses in to the New England race.
Today, on Melbourne Cup day, the Greens will official endorse Quirindi farmer and Liverpool Plains Alliance community campaigner, Peter Wills.
CountryMinded announced grain and cattle producer Pete Mailler as its candidate on Monday, who urged the electorate to once again wield the king-making power it has been gifted.
“The voters in New England have an extraordinary opportunity to influence politics positively for their electorate and the nation because this election affects the Coalition’s one-seat majority,” Mr Mailler said.
“New England voters have got a genuine opportunity to secure a better political deal from this election.
Mr Mailler said he wasn’t advocating for a change in government. But for New England to use its unique position, voters “must not return the Nationals”.
“The government must deal with whoever holds the seat of New England on behalf of the electorate, unless that person is already a member of the Coalition,” he said.
“In other words, Barnaby Joyce can’t leverage the political power on offer to the electorate of New England to get a better deal from this government from this election.”
Australian Country Party candidate Ian Britza and Armidale-based independent Rob Taber were both campaigning in Tamworth yesterday.
Mr Taber said byelection were “really funny things” and the outcome “could be different to what is expected”.
“Armidale’s obviously where we are going to have a lot of support, there’s no doubt about that,” Mr Taber said.
“But if you go back to the 2013 election, we did very well in Tamworth. In some of the booths we got more than 17 per cent of the primary, and two-party preferred up to 40 per cent. We can build on that past support.”
A former Liberal MP in Western Australian, Mr Britza described himself as “a conservative with a social conscience”.
“My convictions are very important to me and they help me make the right decisions,” he said.
“If the people of New England want a politician, then vote for Barnaby Joyce. If they want a parliamentarian to return New England to the balance of power, then I’m your man.”