THE Nationals Barnaby Joyce has brushed aside a poll showing he is trailling 21st Century Party founder Jamie McIntyre in the run up to the election for the seat of New England.
“I don’t even need to look up the Labor Party handbook on this one,” Mr Joyce said on learning that a recent poll released by the Glen Innes Examiner, shows him trailing McIntyre.
“A Facebook poll of a hundred or so people can hardly be taken as a significant sample size, but I’ll leave it to the statisticians to give what weight they will to the results.
“I’ll stand by my record of bringing the Shadow Minister for Aboriginal and Islander Affairs, Nigel Scullion, to meet with members of the Aboriginal community on their own terms, of bringing the Shadow spokesperson for Roads and Regional Transport to tour some of the worst roads in the electorate and to meet personally with grain growers and meat processors in the New England to discuss their concerns.
“I’ll stand by my own record of going out and meeting the voters in 33 community forums across the electorate from Nowendoc to Urbenville and Liston and will continue to take my campaign to the voters right up until election day and beyond.”
The poll, which ran off the Glen Innes Examiner website, saw Mr McIntyre come out on top with 38 per cent of the total vote, while Mr Joyce received just 33 per cent.
Although, Mr McIntyre believes the most alarming statistic for Mr Joyce is that 29 per cent of voters selected are still undecided who they will cast their vote for in the upcoming election.
“I would say this high per cent that are still undecided is a positive outcome for us,” Mr McIntyre said.
“If they were going to vote for Barnaby they would have decided on him by now as the electorate knows him.
“The electorate is still getting to know me, so undecided voters may consider voting for me once they get a chance to see what 21st Century Australia can do for New England and Australia.
According to Mr McIntyre’s office, the poll once again proves that the seat of the New England is far from a certain thing for the Coalition.
Mr McIntyre said he is overwhelmed at the support he has been receiving from the New England electorate.
“I’m appreciative of the support in Glen Innes and around New England in these early days of the election campaign,” he said.
“I'm glad voters are prepared to support real choice and real change.
“Even though it would be possibly one of the biggest upsets in Australian political history to best Barnaby Joyce, I do believe New England voters and Australian voters want a new third party force and people in politics that have real life experience.
“Many current politicians haven't worked a day in their life in a real job let alone founded 12 companies and employed hundreds and hundreds of Australians.
“And the fact I'm an advocate for rural Australia and an investor into rural Australia meaning I have skin in the game as well as being the only candidate with a plan to create a regional boom is a positive for many voters.
The party is now fielding 14 lower house candidates across the country and Senate candidates in every state (with Tasmania yet to be announced).
The party is hoping to field as many as 75 lower house candidates for the upcoming federal election.
Meanwhile Mr Joyce has welcomed the nomination of a third candidate for the seat of New England.
Mr Joyce congratulated the new Greens candidate Pat Schultz for having the courage to stand up for what she believed in.
“Ms Schultz appears to be someone who is willing to put her own back to the cart to get things moving,” Mr Joyce said.
“It is always in the interests of the electorate and of the nation to have a vigorous political debate of ideas and policies.
“While I am diametrically opposed to many of the Greens policies, I respect Ms Schultz for having the courage of her convictions to stand up and be counted.
“In the mean-time, I will continue my own grass-roots campaign meeting people on their own terms throughout the electorate, to let the voters get to know me and see where I stand on the big and small issues that are important to our communities.”