THE MAN who's never shied away from criticism of the NSW Nationals Party or Tamworth's local member has proven the old adage that if you can't beat them, join them.
Former Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (SFF) Party state election candidate Jeff Bacon has dropped the party in favour of a membership with the NSW Nationals.
A centre-right conservative, Mr Bacon told the Leader his concerns with the SFF started when the party began to align itself with Labor.
"There were just a few things internally that I didn't agree with and one of those was positioning or aligning ourselves with Labor," he told the Leader.
"I decided not to renew my membership and join the NSW Nationals.
"I don't think this is all that controversial to be honest."
Mr Bacon stood against incumbent Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson in the 2019 state election and has previously labelled him a "hypocrite".
He previously argued Mr Anderson was slow to deliver election promises, and said he "failed to act" on new gun laws but was willing to unite on a new drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre for the city.
As a member of the NSW Nationals, Mr Bacon has not ruled out a shot at Mr Anderson's seat come the next election.
"If you were to ask any member if they could do a better job they would tell you that they would," he said.
"The way I see my involvement as a National is to keep bringing issues forward and work with the minister around issues like Werris Creek Road and Rangari Road which we have seen some movement on.
"Eventually absolutely I would love to put my hand up for a position if it were to become available in the future, but for now I don't see that happening.
"I'm passionate about politics and regional NSW and I have youth on my side."
Mr Bacon said he recognised there is a process and a hierarchy within the party but said he had a lot to offer, "just not for the Shooters".
The former political foes appear to have put past faux-pas behind them as Mr Anderson welcomed Mr Bacon to the party at a press conference on Tuesday.
"The beauty of the National Party is we are a democratic party, so anybody can put their hand up and challenge anytime they like, but to see Mr Bacon come across to the Nationals he obviously saw the light at the end of the tunnel at the election and has joined us," Mr Anderson said.
"It's grassroots representation at its very best and Mr Bacon is going to bring some of those ideas and thoughts forward.
"If it can help improve the lives of those in our community I welcome that with open arms."