Another candidate is preparing to suit up for the battle of New England if the electorate goes to a by-election.
Former Liberal Western Australian MP Ian Britza announced he will step into the fray, representing the Australian Country Party.
On Friday afternoon, the High Court will hand down its ruling regarding New England MP Barnaby Joyce’s dual citizen case. If it rules against him, the soonest a by-election could be held is December 2.
While the stats show Mr Joyce has an iron-grip on the electorate – he won the election by 17.04 per cent and the latest polls from September show he still holds a 14 per cent lead – Mr Britza said he was use to a challenge.
He held the traditionally Labor seat of Morley for eight years, before losing it in the March by-election.
“When I ran for Morley in 2008, Labor held it by 11.3 per cent – and I won it by 11.3 per cent,” he said.
“No one, not one person, said I could win it. Now I’m no fool, on paper New England is a safe Nats seat, but in my opinion it’s achievable to at least give the Nats a genuine fright.”
The Australian Country Party, previously known as the Country Alliance, has been contesting both state and federal seats in Victoria since 2006. The New England by-election would be the first time the party’s run a candidate for the House of Representatives outside of Victoria.
Mr Brizta grew up in a regional Western Australia area and said the Australian Country Party held the same values he did.
“I’m a conservative, I hold rural values and I do what most politicians don’t do – I listen to my constituents,” Mr Brizta said
“My attitude is, if someone comes to me with something and it’s right, it’s legal and it doesn’t conflict with my personal conscience, I will fight for it even if it cost me my seat.
“I know that’s not kosher for a politician to say, but that's how I feel.”
Mr Brizta is “disappointed” in the performance of the Nationals and said the party had stop listening to the its rural-based roots.
“They’re the younger brother who does whatever their big brother, the Liberals, tells them to do,” he said.
Mr Britza is moving to NSW regardless of the potential by-election to be closer to his family.
Polls about New England voters declared fake
Fake polls have been circulating on social media, which suggest that on a two-party-preferred basis, Mr Joyce was ahead of former New England MP Tony Windsor on a razor-thin 51 per cent to 49 per cent.
Nationals New England electorate council chair Russell Webb said the poll was “definitely a fake, there’s nothing authentic about it”.
The fake memo to the Federal Management Committee was marked confidential, written on an old letterhead and claimed to be conducted over the weekend.
A senior Nationals source told The Leader the poll was fake for a number of reasons, including its wrong margin of error for site for its sample size and the fact it was conducted over a weekend, which is against traditional polling practices.
It’s also not normal practise to fill the Federal Management Committee in on polling results, and if the committee was to be informed, it wouldn’t be via memo.