TAMWORTH MP Kevin Anderson has launched a scathing attack on Labor, the Greens and the Shooters, accusing the three of being in “unofficial coalition”.
However, those on the receiving end of the vitriolic spray said it was a sign the Nationals were a “scared and threatened party” coming in to the state election in March next year.
Mr Anderson successfully moved a motion that recognised the preference deals made in the last four NSW by-elections as an unofficial coalition between the three parties.
“[Labor] started sniffing around the dark corners of parliament to try to form an alliance that would boost their numbers,” Mr Anderson told the parliament.
“The Leader of the Opposition once called the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party “extremists”, which is extraordinary, but now he is buddying up with them to get the numbers to get across the line. Labor is also partnering with The Greens.
“We have the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party who want more guns on the streets, The Greens who want drugs in pubs and the Labor Party who is scrambling for relevance. That is a mix nobody wants.”
Orange Shooters MP Philip Donato, who was gagged during the parliamentary debate, said the “dirty smear campaign” was “born out of fear”.
“Clearly the Nationals feel threatened, because they lost the seat of Orange to me, which they'd held for close to 70 years, and now the Coalition has lost Wagga to an independent,” Mr Donato said.
“An attempt to say we are in an unofficial coalition with Labor and the Greens is totally ridiculous. We preference with a strategy to win seats for ourselves, that's the long and short of it.
“We are in it to win it, that’s how we operate.”
Mr Donato said the attack was a sign of a “scared and threatened party”.
“They’ve realised their time as the only conservative option for the bush is well and truly past,” he said.
Labor MP Greg Warren hit back at Mr Anderson during the parliamentary debate, saying regional NSW was “fleeing the Nationals like the people fled from the Titanic”.
“The Nationals are in coalition with that mob and sell out everyone in regional NSW every chance they get: greyhounds, council amalgamations,” Mr Warren said.
Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham said Mr Anderson’s party had been a “handbrake on regional Australia”.
“Safe National Party seats only delivers drongos into parliament,” Mr Buckingham said.
“Voters should put the Nationals last to make their electorate marginal to keep the politicians on their toes and responsive to the needs of the community.
“After the Greens won the seat of Ballina off the Nationals at the last election – making the seat marginal – there has been a huge increase in the investment in infrastructure and services in that electorate.
“It should be no surprise to Kevin Anderson that there will be a concerted campaign to put the National Party last at the looming state election.”
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