The fun and games have begun, with NSW Labor wasting no time in its efforts to discredit its newest enemy, Richard Torbay.
Claims Mr Torbay wanted to join the NSW Labor Party and become the replacement premier for Nathan Rees are the first of what will be many allegations by Mr Torbay’s political revivals to sidetrack his ambition to win the federal seat of New England for The Nationals.
Let’s not get sidetracked ourselves by the political shenanigans, which will come thick and fast leading up to The Nationals’ preselection ballot.
What we do know is Mr Torbay did not join the Labor Party and he did not become the state’s 42nd premier.
Of more importance are the reasons why Mr Torbay is to contest New England against his former friend and colleague Tony Windsor.
Mr Torbay says Mr Windsor’s decision to support Labor to form government in the hung parliament has damaged the independent brand.
His motivation he says, is the Country Party of old and its advocacy for regional communities. “That’s what I stand for and believe in,” he said when announcing his decision to join The Nationals.
But as an independent, Mr Torbay has been just that. His advocacy of his own electorate and regional and rural NSW are well-known and respected.
Many argue the Country Party of yesterday is not The Nationals of today, that the party has lost its vigour for regional and rural causes and that it has been consumed by the Liberals, who exist in bigger political numbers.
Mr Torbay has spoken about the ideals of the former Country Party but not the performance of the modern-day Nationals.
Also, he and others cannot claim Tony Windsor has been anything but a strong advocate for regional and rural communities.
Tony Windsor’s crime, in the eyes of many across his electorate, is his decision to back a Labor minority government.
But the reality is Mr Windsor has extracted billions of dollars from the Gillard government for regional and rural areas.
Mr Torbay has not claimed Mr Windsor has been a failure or has failed to deliver benefits and funding to his electorate of Northern Tablelands.
This battle is about Tony Windsor being vulnerable and the opportunity his fall from grace provides others.