Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce
Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce Chris Ison

Tony Windsor vows to take on "do-nothing" Barnaby Joyce

FORMER Independent MP Ton Windsor's decision to run against Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce for New England was based on several national issues that were impacting the local electorate.

Among them, Mr Windsor said water protections for mining and coal seam gas was a key one, as well as the National Broadband Network, climate change and education funding.

He hit out at Mr Joyce's role in the regional New South Wales electorate as having done "nothing" for the local community, a claim Mr Joyce has disputed on ABC Radio this morning.

Mr Windsor said while he considered running for a NSW Senate seat, the Coalition's reforms to the Senate voting system would have meant he would be forced to either create or join a political party, which he did not want to do.

He also refuted claims his decision to contest the seat were "just about getting Barnaby Joyce", but were more about him wanting to contribute to political life again.

Mr Windsor also quoted former Army Chief David Morrison, who said that "the standard you walk past is the standard you accept".

He said Mr Morrison's words were a key catalyst for him, and that too many politicians were "walking past" major issues he believed were important to the electorate and nation.

Mr Joyce is also expected to respond in more detail later today.



Tony Windsor likely to confirm battle against Joyce

FORMER Independent politician Tony Windsor is expected to confirm he will stand as a candidate in New England, challenging recently crowned National Party leader Barnaby Joyce.

Mr Windsor previously held New England before he retired from parliament ahead of the 2013 election, when Mr Joyce moved from a Queensland Senate seat to the New England lower house seat.

Federal independent MP Tony Windsor.
Former independent MP Tony Windsor Chris Ison

Previously an independent in the New South Wales Parliament, Mr Windsor held New England from 2001 to 2013, and played a key role as a lower house crossbencher, helping then Prime Minister Julia Gillard secure minority government in the 43rd parliament.

Mr Windsor, would not say whether he would stand during an ABC Radio interview this morning, but he has called a press conference for 10am in Canberra, in which he is expected to announce his intentions.

Mr Joyce, who holds the seat on a whopping 20% margin, will likely face both Mr Windsor and NSW upper house Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham in the contest.

One of the main issues likely to be dominate the campaign in New England is the proposed Shenua Watermark coal mine on the Liverpool Plains.