One Nation Has Changed, Says Barnaby Joyce, As He Preferences Them Second on How-To-Vote Card
By Tom Plevey
Barnaby Joyce says Pauline Hanson’s One Nation has changed, defending his decision to give his preferences to the party’s candidate in New England, Richard Thomas.
“The party of 10, 15 years ago is not the party of today,” he said at a New England candidate forum on Monday night.
“Things change. Mollify.”
Little is known about Thomas, whom the deputy prime minister has put second on his how-to-vote card. Thomas does not appear on One Nation’s candidate page.
Joyce, who holds the seat by a 17% margin, said: “We can’t be everything for everybody.
“We have to be responsible to the nation, and make decisions that are, at times, tough, and be prepared to lose political support, lose votes by reason of making decisions that are tough, because you’re responsible for the whole country.
“If I see … those decisions about a party’s platform are less likely to cause damage to my nation, then they are further up [the preferences].”
Labor’s candidate, Laura Hughes, has preferenced Thomas last.
Joyce refused to say whether he had spoken to Thomas.
Asked why he was preferencing One Nation, Joyce said “I don’t follow what is basically the zeitgeist. I don’t have the Greens last.
“I’m making sure that I look at all the possible platforms and how that works.”
Joyce was joined by Hughes, UAP’s Cindy Anne Duncan, independents Natasha Ledger and Matt Sharpham and the Greens candidate, Carol Sparks. The Liberal Democrats candidate, Pavlo Samios, gave his apologies while Thomas did not respond to the invitation and didn’t provide a photo for the promotional material.
The biggest round of applause of the night went to Ledger, a former Uralla shire councillor and independent, who drew cheers while calling for a federal corruption commission – a reform supported by all candidates except Joyce.
Joyce dismissed the need for a body along the lines of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption.
“I want to make sure the Australian people know that Canberra is not the sort of cesspit of corruption some people make it out to be,” he said, to laughter in the hall. “We do have legislation that is tailored to deal with this issue.”