Page MP Kevin Hogan (on right) pictured at a Bexhill dairy farm earlier this month with Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud.
Page MP Kevin Hogan (on right) pictured at a Bexhill dairy farm earlier this month with Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud. Susanna Freymark

Kevin Hogan reveals personal turmoil after crossbench move

UPDATE, 2.45pm: PAGE MP Kevin Hogan has spoken of the personal turmoil involved in his move to the cross bench.

Mr Hogan was this afternoon pre-selected as The Nationals' candidate for the next election after some uncertainty after he took to the cross bench.

A motion - which was made public several weeks ago and was voted upon in a closed meeting which Mr Hogan was not party to - looked to delay pre-selection to allow another candidate to step forward.

Kevin Hogan pre-selected by The Nationals after crossbench shift: Federal member for Page Kevin Hogan has secured pre-selection with The Nationals for the next federal election. Video: Liana Turner
Kevin Hogan pre-selected by The Nationals after crossbench shift: Federal member for Page Kevin Hogan has secured pre-selection with The Nationals for the next federal election. Video: Liana Turner

Mr Hogan said it wasn't known who had voted for the motion, only that it was "resoundly defeated".

He recalled warning his family about his plans as Federal Parliament was embroiled in crisis last month.

When the final leadership spill, which led to Scott Morrison being made Prime Minister, Mr Hogan moved to the cross bench.

"I certainly won't be expecting a ministerial position any time soon, if ever, because this is not what you do," Mr Hogan said.

"The night before, I had to ring my family.

"I had to ring my wife and my children and say look, I'm going to be in the media tomorrow, just to warn you.

"Because they take the journey with you as well."

Mr Hogan said it had been made clear to him the move wasn't popular in all camps.

"I've had some very uncomfortable phone calls from Canberra about what I was doing and about what that would look like," he said.

"You can't be weak in this.

"You've got to be very solid and very clear about why you're doing what you're doing, and just stand true to that because there's a  lot of pressure not to."

Despite this, he said the people of Page should be no worse off after the controversial move.

"I'm still in the Nationals team and I still have a role in the Nationals team," he said.

"I don't think the community will lose out.

"The overwhelming thing is that people say we hear you, we see you, we respect you following through."

ALP candidate for Page Patrick Deegan has meanwhile asked Mr Hogan to "come clean" on commitments he gave to local members of The Nationals before the vote.

"Kevin Hogan has received a huge amount of local and national media coverage for his so-called move to the cross-bench," Mr Deegan said.

"Given the angst this has caused in the National Party, what internal commitments did Mr Hogan make to secure his pre-selection?

"Did he promise that he would return to the Coalition fold as soon the election was out of the way?

"The voters of Northern NSW deserve to know if he has been saying one thing in public, and another thing in private."

Mr Hogan said he would continue to sit on the cross bench at the present time.    "I do not foresee that changing in this parliament," he said.   "I will review it in a new parliament."


UPDATE, 2pm: PAGE MP Kevin Hogan will contest the upcoming Federal election after a motion which could have seen him opposed in his nomination was quashed today.

The motion, to consider delaying The Nationals' pre-selection for Page, followed negative murmurings about Mr Hogan's decision to sit on the crossbench late last month.

If carried, the delay could have allowed time for another candidate to challenge Mr Hogan, but it was "resoundly defeated", according to the two-term MP.

Mr Hogan said he was "grateful" to be endorsed as The Nationals' candidate.

"You never take anything for granted in life, certainly not political life," he said.  

"The motion that was put up was that the nomination process be extended so someone else could put their hand up to contest the nomination against me.  

"That motion was resoundly defeated today."

Page MP Kevin Hogan with his wife, Karen.
Page MP Kevin Hogan with his wife, Karen. Liana Boss

Mr Hogan said he always planned to contest the next election, but hasn't dodged all criticism since he opted to move to the cross-bench amid the Federal Government's leadership turmoil.   

"I was always going to run for the next election but … this has been a very tumultuous time for me, personally," he said.

"What I did is not a small thing.  

"I've had a lot of phone calls with people who are very upset with what I've done. They're mainly Canberra phone calls.

"But behind that there are many people in Canberra within my National party ranks, and indeed the Liberal Party ranks, who understand why I did it and respect my decision." 

More important to him, Mr Hogan said, was that local members of The Nationals and his constituents understood and supported the decision.   

"The community understand that I did this as a matter of principle," he said.  

"For me, it was a matter of integrity and I stand by that decision.  

"I think what people want to see in politics is people who say what they believe and do what they say."  

He said some North Coast members of the party had expressed their concerns about the move.  

But he will now move forwards with support from an overwhelming majority.     

"I think we have one of the most democratic, open political parties in the country and I think what happened here was important," he said.  

"There are people who are concerned or maybe don't quite understand what it means for me to sit as a cross-bencher as a Nationals MP.   

"They aired that today so we could have that discussion today about what that means.  

"But they overwhelmingly accepted it and I think people actually said we wish more followed you."   

SUNDAY, 12;55pm: DESPITE whisperings he might be deposed following anger over his decision to sit on the crossbench, Federal Page MP Kevin Hogan has today been elected as The Nationals candidate for next year's election.

In a statement just released, Mr Hogan said he was "very humbled".

"I would like to thank all Nationals members for their support and also the broader community who have twice elected me to represent them in Canberra," he said.

He said a lot had been achieved since he was elected in 2013 but there was "more to be done".

"Over 400,000 jobs have been created in the last 12 months," he said.

"Another 1000 local jobs are on the way after I announced $17 million in grants for nine job-creating projects such as the Medicinal Cannabis facility in Casino and the relocation to our community of the robotics firm Adaptapack."

"Tens of millions of dollars have also been invested to improve large and small sporting and cultural facilities across our community, such as Oakes Oval, the Casino Drill Hall project, Maclean Riverside Precinct and the Woodburn Foreshore redevelopment.

"In 2013, we increased funding for the duplication of the Pacific Highway to stop fatalities. The result is the stretch between Woolgoolga and Ballina is already half complete and the number of crashes has plummeted. It will be finished by 2020 as promised with work on the Coffs Harbour bypass about to start.

"Working with local councils, we have also started to tackle the infrastructure backlog, investing $10 million to fix 20 of Kyogle's dangerous wooden bridges and given councils millions of dollars to help them maintain and repair their local roads.

"As well as delivering much needed projects and service, I will continue to stand up for our community in Parliament and put our community before party politics."

Mr Hogan drew attention and some criticism when he announced - before Malcolm Turnbull was ousted as Prime Minister - that a Federal Governmen leadership spill would see him take to the cross bench.

When parliament returned for its first sitting days since Scott Morrison became Prime Minister, he was true to his word.

But he's retained his loyalty to The Nationals throughout the process, and while he's taken a stand on upheaval in the government, it has been unclear what difference his shift to the cross bench would mean in practice.

Mr Hogan's statement also listed the following projects as achievements:

  • $17 million in grants for nine job-creating projects
  • More than 300 new Aged Care beds
  • New Headspace in Grafton
  • Redevelopment of Oakes Oval.
  • New Northern Rivers Regional Art Gallery
  • Expanded North Coast Regional Hockey Complex
  • Upgrade of Casino Saleyard
  • Sealed road to Toonumbar Dam
  • Repair of Woodburn to Coraki Road
  • Coffs Harbour bypass
  • Revitalisation of Kyogle Memorial Institute Hall
  • Major upgrade of Culmaran Creek Road
  • Upgrade of Harwood Mill and Refinery
  • Six new Trade Training Centres
  • Record bulk billing rates
  • Record funding for our local schools
  • Upgrade of Casino Hospital Emergency Department
  • Record health funding
  • Replacing 20 wooden bridges in Kyogle
  • Upgraded Albert Park Baseball Complex