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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) Federal Parliament may have

ended for the year but it seems there are still some political

scuffles to be had. Nationals

senator leader Barnaby Joyce

has reportedly turned downturn

Turnbull's offer of a place on

the coalition frontbench. The

move comes after the Nationals'

decision to split from their

Liberal Party colleagues in

Parliament last week. Senator Barnaby Joyce joins us now from

Sydney. Good morning. Why did

very kind you turn downturn Turnbull's

very kind offer to join him on

the frontbench? I respect

absolutely the role you have in

shadow Cabinet and it requires

discipline, it requires

confidentiality, it also

requires maintaining a line.

Now, I can't do that if I made

my raison d'jtre viewing and

amending legislation and

representing our at times representing our at times

sectional interests on issues.

Do you believe we should've

handed over the telecommunications funds that

looks after regional and remote

Australia to the Labor Party?

Yes or no? I was of the belief

that you shouldn't. Others are

off the belief that you should. That was an unreconcilable

difference. It had to be

represented in the way we

voted. The Howard Government

with the National Party neshed

that fund. That fund was set in

speech after speech stone. We've got speech after

speech after speech saying that

you can trust us on this one,

that we will stand by our word.

We couldn't just turn up in the

Parliament and change our view.

To be honest, that was the view

that was also reflected in the

Senate in the first instance,

in the Lower House in the

second inchance. It was only in

the Senate in the last instance

it was going to change. It was

not consistent. It didn't make

sense. Therefore, we had to dot

right thing by the people of regional Australia. I regional Australia. I accept

that, and the difficulty you

have, I guess, is serving two

masters. Your conscience and

also your role as a member of

the coalition. And on that

point, you say the issue is

much more simple than it has

been. It's possibly even

simpler than that. You're either a member of this

coalition or you're not. Well,

let's look at what the

coalition is. The coalition by

its own term is the formation

of two parties. Two ert pass,

two different policies. Within two different policies. Within

that formation ... Ah, but they

have to come together with one

single line, surely, otherwise

it's not a kochlths you say you support the coalition. Well then you don't need a coalition, you just need one

party. Within this coalition,

they vote together 99.9% of the

time. Now, this is a pretty

good deal. I don't know what

other sort of deal people are looking for but they some

people are talking about

putting that deal aside, 99.9% putting that deal aside, 99.9%

of the time, and seeing in they

can win an election on 33% of

the vote. Now that is

tactically moronic. But it's

also irritating your colleagues

clearly. This is what Liberal

senator Ian Macdonald said

about you. It's incredible that

in Canberra, Barnaby seems to

be a member of a different

party." When you come to town

to vote, you just follow the

beat of your own drum. No, no,

this was supported by all the

National Party, all the

one National Party senator National Party senators, not

voted to get rid of that

regional communications fund. I

can understand that senator

Macdonald might think it's good

we got rid of that fund and

that regional people should be

left outside the tent, and that

is entirely his view. He is

allowed to have that view. We believe strongly that the regional telecommunications

fund was basically almost

signed in political blood, that

it was a statement of trust. It

was a statement that we are fair dinkum when fair dinkum when we're going to

try to look after regional

areas and how they get funding.

There was only one way to vote.

If you believe in the Senate,

it has a right to review and amend legislation, represent

the rights of the States F it

doesn't want to do that f it

wants to work under instruction

from the Lower House, then we

don't need a Senate. I mean,

let's be honest. If that's the

process that people want the

Senate to operate in, what is

the purpose. Senate? That's all

very well and good in theory,

senator, but in the senator, but in the end, it

didn't work. In the end, your

vote actually had no meaning.

Well, let's look at what

actually happened. We had both

Senator Mac Donald, all the

Liberal Party, the National

Party voting to excise the $2.4

billion from the

telecommunications fund. And

then the Lower House did

exactly the same thing. And not

only did they vote to excise,

they gave flowery speeches as

to why it should. They failed.

Then within an hour, it comes

back to the Senate for us to

vote to not excise it. Does

that make any sense

whatsoever? Let's just move on,

though, then. You have been saying over the weekend that you support the coalition, you

want to see it continue and

thrive . Do you acknowledge

that you've got some fences to

mend now, and how do you do

that? Well, look,understand

conservative government in that ultimately we need a

Australia. We need a government

that reflects the conservative

ethos. You're up against a political form of Howard Hughes

at the moment, a man always on

planes, loves being the

aviator, has peculiar dietary

requirement the and whose

staffer can't seem to hang

around him. That's the target.

We now have the $8.7 billion fiscal package which will end

up in

up in electronic goods and grog and prudent people will bank

it. It looks exactly as it did

yesterday, I was walking down

the street. I feel we have

wasteed that money. There is ample ammunition for us to take

on Mr Rudd but it's not me or

the National Party that's

inspiring the continuation of

this debate attacking the

purpose. Coalition. It's other

people who are doing that. And

recognise that those other people should

recognise that we packaged what

went on on the last day of the

Senate away. We had no

alternative. It's other people

who keep faning this fire. I

put to them.. If you don't have

the courage to stand by your

convictions and go public with

your statements in the paper

then you really don't have the

courage full stop. You've

insult ed a number of people in

that rather long answer but you

haven't answered my question.

How do you mend fences in terms of maintaining this coalition

and a strong one and reearning trust trust of those Liberals who clearly don't trust you much

these days? Hang on. 99.9% of

the time, we vote together. How

much stronger can it be? You

believe it's strong enough at

the moment. You don't have any

apology to make? Well,

apologise to who? Apologise to

the people of regional

Australia for trying to make

sure that they maintain their

fund to look after their

interests that we promised we

do woo do, that we took to do woo do, that we took to an

election, that we basically

signed in political blood or

apologise to who, other

nameless people won't even go

public in the papers about

their views? Are you

considering, actively or either

in an idle way a move to the

Lower House? Well, you look at

in an idle way would be the

best way. It's years away. You

consider everything. Everything

that goes before you, you

consider. Can you run at the same pace same pace with the same vigour

and the same intent in the

Senate? I absolutely respect my

role in the Senate. It's a great honour to have the role I

have as leader of the Nationals

in the Senate. But you know,

life is a once-off experience.

And you can't sign yourself

forever into one position. Down

the track, circumstances change

and issues change. So you can't

say "I would never look at the

Lower House" because you don't know what is around the know what is around the corner

for you. You just concentrate

on the job you have. And the future will look after

itself. Sounds hike you're

getting tired of all the fights

you're having to have in the

Upper House? Well, I think

that our position or my

position and the position I

reflect in the National Party

is to take the Senate back to

the validity of what it was supposed to be, reviewing and

pay mending legislation and

representing the rights of the

State. I accept that you're indicating it gets a little weary fighting the fights

you've had and you're not

ruling out a Lower House. Is

seat of Maranoa the one that's

in your mind? Bruce's

grandfather is in that seat.

The last thing I want to do is

open up a fight with Bruce.

Bruce is doing a good job. I

don't want to be held at a

hypocrite at some point in the

future if he decided to make

the change. Try to be

consistent. That's the reason

we voted against that telecommunications package, to try to be consistent and

trustworthy and say what you