NEW England MP Barnaby Joyce has defended a decision to send out glossy Anzac Day pamphlets to local households, despite accusations of political grandstanding.
The six-page pamphlets, which listed the Anzac service times in towns across the electorate and included a message from Mr Joyce, landed in letterboxes in the lead-up to last Friday.
Hallsville resident Dorothy Wasson said the leaflets were a waste of taxpayer dollars and a flagrant attempt to “ride on the coattails” of a sacred day.
“He has his face and name plastered all over it as if he invented Anzac Day,” Mrs Wasson said.
“It’s just buying votes. Everyone knows they can get the service times from the local paper and local clubs.
“He’s only trying to get some political capital out of it.
“Did he put leaflets out at Christmas telling us where carols were being held?
“This is just an attempt to usurp a very Australian tradition.”
She said former New England MP Tony Windsor and other state MPs had not reverted to such “populism”.
But Mr Joyce strongly defended his decision to send out the leaflets, saying he was insulted by the criticism.
“I think it’s a fair enough service to tell people where and when the Anzac services will be,” Mr Joyce said. “My grandfather, my father and I served and I don’t feel any sense of embarrassment about getting a document like this out.
“I find it insulting that someone could think I was being opportunistic by informing those I represent about something vitally important to them.”
Others have also leapt to the defence of Mr Joyce.
“Can I tell you how impressed, moved and proud I felt to receive the commemorative brochure from Barnaby Joyce,” Piallamore resident Di Schofield said.
“I fail to understand how anyone could be critical of him showing personal gratitude to this.”