IT’S yet to be decided if the New England electorate will face a by-election, but the Labor Party has already announced it will run a candidate for the seat should the High Court rule sitting MP Barnaby Joyce is ineligible due to his dual New Zealand citizenship.
Labor Senator Sam Dastyari made the announcement on Sunday, visiting Armidale and Tamworth for “politics in the pub” sessions.
“If there is a by-election, Labor will be running a candidate and we will be running to win,” Senator Dastyari said.
“For too long this community has been taken for granted and frankly that needs to come to an end.”
With beer in hand, Senator Dastyari took questions from the audience, touching on everything from energy policy to the taxation of multi-national companies.
Senator Dastyari acknowledged the New England electorate had not seen a Labor representative in more than a century, but said the party was up for the challenge.
“Let’s not beat around the bush, this is a tough area for the Labor Party and it’s always been a tough area for the Labor Party,” he said.
“But we have a responsibility that the community up here is given an alternative option and a proper voice.
“Labor takes this area serious and that means running strong campaigns with strong candidates. Maybe this is our year, this is our chance.”
The senator repeated Labor’s call for Mr Joyce to stand down as Deputy Prime Minister and from the cabinet until the High Court made its decision.
“The precedent set by their own minister, by Matt Canavan himself from the National party, was to step down and allow to the court to follow its processes,” he said.