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Independents’ decision disappointing

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Media Contact Paul Chamberlin mob 0419 233 989 ph 02 6277 4482

7 September 2010

Independents’ decision disappointing

Today’s decision by two regional independents to side with Labor is incredibly disappointing, the Leader of The Nationals, Warren Truss, said today.

“Labor’s first term in office was bad enough and I’m deeply concerned about the agenda this rainbow coalition of Labor, the extreme Greens and the independents presents for regional Australia and our nation into the future,” Mr Truss said.

“From Labor’s first Budget where it cut more than $1 billion out of regional programs, through to decisions to introduce an emissions trading tax and a mining tax, Labor has been bad news for the regions.

“Under this government, these policies now live on and every Australian now faces the prospect of even higher household bills, while many will also have to live with uncertainty over their jobs. I worry about the further impact on regional Australia of the conflicting agendas within the government and a Senate controlled by Labor and the extreme Greens. This will introduce a level of risk to the business and industry sectors that Australia has been fortunate not to have experienced for many years.”

Mr Truss said the outcome of the post-election negotiations is a lost opportunity for a new beginning for regional Australia. Regional Australians wanted a change of government and said so at the ballot box.

“Across country seats, the Coalition not only won the most seats, it also easily won the primary vote and is in front on a two-party preferred basis.

“The vote for The Nationals’ team of candidates increased by 6 percent at this election, while our numbers increased from nine to 12 in the House and from five to six in the Senate.

“All sitting members increased their support markedly, while the vote for independents in those seats collapsed, in some cases to long-term lows. The Greens made little impact and Labor’s vote was in places at historically low levels.

“It was a great result for the only party dedicated to representing regional Australia. With an increase in ministerial representation that would have followed, I would like to have led The Nationals in the decision-making process to effect real, lasting and positive reform to benefit the more than seven million Australians who live outside the capital cities.

“But in the end, we live in a democracy and the two independents have had to make their own decisions. While I disagree with the outcome, I respect their decision.

“Nationals members and senators will continue to work hard to repay the trust placed in them by regional voters and to hold the government to account for its performance in the regions,” Mr Truss said.