Joyce in informal talks
SENATOR Barnaby Joyce yesterday confirmed he had held informal talks with members of the Maranoa LNP organisation about running for the seat whenever a federal election is called.
As reported, the maverick LNP senate leader from St George is keen to move to the lower house and had his eye either on Maranoa or independent Tony Windsor's seat of New England.
With current NSW state member Richard Torbay yesterday announcing he would stand for pre-selection for New England - which he is tipped to win in a landslide - Senator Joyce's only lower house seat option would be Maranoa.
But at this stage he would be unlikely to gain pre-selection without a fight, with sitting member Bruce Scott this week holding firm on his intention to run again for the safe LNP berth.
While conceding he had always planned to move to the House of Representatives, Senator Joyce said there had been no "formal" meeting between himself and the Maranoa LNP executive.
"If I am asked to do the job I will do it, I've made no secret of that," he said.
"I've had discussions with a range of people about where I go in the future but there would need to be a formal vote if I were to be selected to contest Maranoa."
NSW Nationals Leader Andrew Stoner yesterday welcomed Mr Torbay's tilt at pre-selection for New England, saying Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott had together given regional Australia the worst Federal Government in history "and a carbon tax nobody wanted".