Barnaby won't go to water on the issues

REVELATIONS Nationals' Senator Barnaby Joyce may contest the Seat of Page at the next federal election certainly has tongues wagging.

On Saturday, The Daily Examiner told of Senator Joyce's intention to move from the Upper to the Lower House of Federal Parliament and that Page was touted as a possible front-runner for the Queenslander to contest.

Senator Joyce told The Examiner a move to the Lower House would assist the Coalition to win back government at the 2010 federal election.

Yesterday, The Examiner contacted Senator Joyce to ask about one of the most controversial issues of the last election - pumping water from the Clarence River to south-east Queensland.

“This has been discussed; and after those discussions the complications have made it unviable,” Senator Joyce said.

“If water was to be pumped to south-east Queensland an alternative source would have to be (taken) from places such as the Gulf.

“It is unlikely that I would be standing for Page but whether I stand for Page or not, that is my position.”

Senator Joyce has enjoyed a fairly-high degree of support from people right across Australia for his preparedness to speak out about issues he feels strongly about, even if that means voting against his own party.

He said that same principled stance would continue if he moved to the Lower House.

“The person doesn't change (just) because you go to a different house,” he said.

Senator Joyce was also asked if he believed his high profile would be enough to help him win an interstate Lower House seat in the face of potential voter criticism that he was a Queensland 'blow-in'.

“That is a question for the electorate. Whether I stand for Page or another seat is a consideration, and consideration should not be read as (though) you are actually doing it.”

Grafton's Jeremy Challacombe, the Nationals' State vice-chairman, was not against the idea of Senator Joyce standing for Page but said he would need to go through the proper processes.

“Personally, I have no problems with it but he would have to throw his hat in the ring like anyone else,” Mr Challacombe said.

“There's no doubt he'd be forced to go through a grassroots selection process.

“Barnaby has a high profile and he would certainly appeal to some people, but not everyone.”

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