BARNABY Joyce said he was humbled by Saturday night’s victory, but knew he had a lot to prove to the electorate.
“The people of New England have given me a great honour and I’ve got to make sure I respect it and work hard for it and I will deliver – and I’ve already started,” he told The Leader on Saturday night.
“We’ve got an inland rail that’s going to cost $5.1 billion and going through the electorate, the extension of Chaffey Dam, extension of Armidale airport; we’ve got some great things going to happen.
“I’m going to be a tenacious advocate for this area and the way I work is to get myself into the position where I have the greatest influence on your behalf and that’s what I’m going to do.”
During a television cross he refused to be drawn on the departure of former member Tony Windsor and the reclaiming of the seat by The Nationals.
“Once you’re off the football paddock, you don’t have the fight in the change rooms, that game is over,” he said.
“I’m going to build on the work that both Tony and other people have done.
“My view is not to revel in that – but look to the future because that’s where we’re all going to live.”
He also paid tribute to the efforts of the team around him, the yellow-shirted army he described in his victory speech as his “killer canaries”.
“No individual wins a seat, a team wins a seat, the people around you win the seat,” he said.
“Everybody else is the reason you get across the line, every other person who does their little bit: manning the polling booths, doing the ring-arounds, doing the doorknocking with you.”
Mr Joyce also said he was “in awe of the Australian people” and overwhelmed to be welcomed back after 20 years away “with open arms”.
“They accept that when someone goes away for work, they might come home at some stage and get elected to be the local federal member – it’s rather incredible.”
In winning New England, Mr Joyce becomes the first Australian politician to have been an Upper House senator in one state and then win a lower house seat in another.