Joyce takes aim at claim

SOUTH Australia's Nationals candidates have received some high profile backing, as tensions emerge between the Liberal and National Coalition partners across the country.

On Monday, Opposition Water and Regional Development Spokesman Barnaby Joyce took aim at comments made last month by Liberal candidate for Barker, Tony Pasin, in the latest in a series of Liberal-National clashes.

Mr Pasin and Nationals Barker candidate Miles Hannemann spent much of last week trading blows over who had the strongest Coalition credentials in Barker.

The issue exploded at a candidates forum at Keith when Mr Pasin claimed he was the only official Coalition candidate, a claim rejected by Mr Hannemann who has insisted he will sit with the Coalition if elected to the House of Representatives.

Mr Joyce is the latest player to join the fray after State Liberal MP Mitch Williams, Nationals state president Grantley Siviour and former state Nationals MP Karlene Maywald bought into the fight.

"I assure the people of Barker and South Australia that if you elect National Party candidate in Barker, Miles Hannemann, and SA Senate candidate James Stacey, they will sit together with all other members of the Coalition parties in the joint party room in Canberra," Mr Joyce said.

"Any statements to the contrary are totally incorrect and misleading."

The comments came days after Federal Nationals leader Warren Truss said he was disgusted by "a blatantly dishonest advertisement run by the WA Liberals."

Mr Truss said advertisements run in the West Australian newspaper claimed the National Stronger Regions Fund was a Liberal party initiative, saying the Liberal candidates in the western seats of O'Connor and Durack had not played any part in the inception of that policy.

"I welcome the WA Liberals support for the fund now that it has been announced but I heard nothing from them before it was negotiated between Tony Abbott and me," Mr Truss said.

It is not only South Australian and Western Australians trading shots either - shadow treasurer Joe Hockey and New South Wales Nationals Senator Fiona Nash also clashed over the West Australian ads at the weekend.

In response to Mr Truss, Mr Hockey compared the Nationals to a protest movement, sparking a rebuke from Senator Nash who said "some strong discussions" needed to take place if that reflected Mr Hockey's view of his Coalition partners.

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