Battle for New England begins

The first salvos in the Tony Windsor v Richard Torbay battle for the federal seat of New England have been fired.

Mr Windsor’s attack on Mr Torbay’s credibility, spelling out in detail, claims the member for Northern Tablelands had acted as a self-appointed and unofficial broker, promising Mr Windsor would support both Labor and the Coalition to form government when the 2010 election was deadlocked highlights that character will play a big part in next year’s campaign.

Mr Torbay has responded by criticising Mr Windsor for his personal attack and refuting the claims.

Those who know Tony Windsor know he is not reckless with his accusations and attacks. He has a measured approach and a focus on policy and solutions, not playing the game of politics.

Mr Torbay has taken the high moral ground saying he has no intention of using similar tactics,which he says he despises.

But Mr Torbay has not responded to Mr Windsor’s claims point by point, instead saying they are not true.

The dilemma for Mr Torbay is that he continues to sit in the NSW parliament and therefore does not want to get into a slanging match on federal issues. He will want to save that until he has resigned from the parliament to contest the seat fulltime leading up to the election.

Putting Mr Windsor’s claims aside, there are some other issues Mr Torbay needs to address.

He is a paid-up member of the NSW Nationals, he features on the party’s website and he has his own Nationals email address. He has said publicly many times he has received an 

overwhelmingly positive response from people within his state electorate to his decision to abandon his independent status and join The Nationals as its endorsed candidate.

Why then does he continue to sit on the cross benches when he is a party member with an endorsement to his name?

Mr Torbay is within his rights to stand as an endorsed party candidate, but the charade that he remains vaguely independent is a sticking point.Mr Torbay removed all references to his independence from his website but has failed to acknowledge his party allegiance.

As a member of a party he is not independent and he should continue his political career wearing the colours of the party he now represents.

Mr Torbay cannot be both.

He should end the masquerading – remove himself from purgatory – and fight his political battles accordingly.

The fight for New England is likely to be a long campaign and there will no doubt be plenty of allegations to come from both sides of the battlefield.


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