UPDATE: New England MP Barnaby Joyce has refuted reports he would on leave from parliament for 11 weeks and he would be back on deck from June 15.
Mr Joyce tweeted on Wednesday afternoon: “Contrary to reports, I’m taking leave until June 15 following a routine check up”.
“The medical certificate provided allowed for a month,” he said.
“I look forward to resuming parliamentary duties.
“The electorate office will continue normal operations in this fortnight.”
WITHOUT clarity on how long New England MP Barnaby Joyce would be out of action, the electorate’s mayors were left puzzled about what a extended-stretch without an federal representative would mean for the region.
It was reported Mr Joyce would be out-of-action for up to 11 weeks after taking personal leave, whcih some admitted would be disruptive for the region
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Liverpool Plains Shire mayor Andrew Hope said he wasn’t aware of the news Mr Joyce had taken leave.
However, Cr Hope believed the MP would still only be a phone call away, if needed.
“I’m sure if we rang, he'd assist us,” he said.
“I think we have a good enough relationship, he’d assist us.”
Mr Joyce quit as Deputy Prime Minister and infrastructure minister in February, following scrutiny around an affair with a former-staffer.
Cr Hope said the MP had still delivered for the shire since Mr Joyce assumed a parliamentary role on the backbench.
“We’re still getting delivered what we were promised we'd get,” he said.
Cr Hope wouldn’t weigh-in on whether elected-officials should be paid for media interviews, after it was reported a commercial television network paid $150,000 for an exclusive with Mr Joyce and his new partner Vikki Campion.
However, he believed families should be off limits in politics.
“I am a firm believer peoples’ families should be left out of politics,” he said.
“We run for politics, not families.
“I think it’s poor form to have families attacked.”
Glen Innes mayor Steve Toms said the leave would be disruptive for the electorate and wasn’t aware of representative arrangements for the region during Mr Joyce’s absence.
“It’s nothing we won’t work around,” Cr Toms said.
“It’s certainly disruptive for the electorate, but we’re also understanding he’s going through some personal issues.
“We’re not quite sure what arrangements will be put in place.
“But we have a good working relationship with Senator Williams in Inverell.”
Several other New England mayors were contacted for comment.