Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is in for a dog fight to retain his seat, with popular former independent Tony Windsor set to declare his intention to re-enter politics.
Mr Windsor has scheduled a press conference in Canberra for 10am Thursday and Fairfax Media has confirmed he will declare himself a candidate for the regional NSW seat of New England at the next election.
Mr Windsor, one of the crossbenchers who backed Julia Gillard to govern during the hung Parliament over Tony Abbott, held the seat for 12 years until he retired in 2013.
When he stepped away he gave Mr Joyce a clear run to move from the Senate to the House of Representatives.
Mr Joyce holds the seat with a margin of more than 19 per cent.
The polling suggested Mr Windsor would have pulled close to 38 per cent of the primary vote if an election had been called in August last year and favourable preferences could make New England a knife-edge contest.
Windsor is a man of principle as opposed to jelly-back Barnaby who claims to be concerned about Australia’s debt levels and foreign buyouts of local assets yet at the same time vehemently defends the primary cause of both, from The AFR:
Mr Joyce said while Labor’s policy to restrict negative gearing to new properties will make houses more affordable, it will erode the value of houses and pose a risk to banks.
“If you’re inherently going to make the value of their asset cheaper, you’re going to inherently going to make them a greater risk to the bank from whom they borrowed the money,” Mr Joyce told Sky News on Sunday.
Good luck to you, Tony Windsor.