Nationals candidate Barnaby Joyce has refused to face public scrutiny from his electorate by announcing he will not attend any public debates in the lead up to the New England by-election on December 2.
Fairfax this week reported Joyce cited the number of out-of-town candidates as the reason he would not be taking part in open community discussions.
Ironically, Joyce was in fact an out-of-town candidate living in Queensland when he first contested the New England electorate. It is a poor excuse for not facing up to debates which will give constituents an important insight into candidates intentions.
Barnaby Joyce is taking their votes for granted. He expects to be voted back in without answering any questions, Labor candidate for New England David Ewings said.
Despite what he may think, the public forums are not all about him, they are about giving local voters the opportunity to have their questions answered.
Surely being available to the New England community is his duty.
As a local Scone resident contesting the New England electorate for the second time, its always been my priority to be available and accountable to voters.
Barnaby Joyce has thrust this costly and inconvenient by-election on his electorate through his own carelessness. He failed to check his citizenship eligibility and to adhere to what is clearly set out in Section 44 of the Constitution.
Now it appears Joyce is running and hiding away from facing any sort of public scrutiny, Federal Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon said.
Barnaby Joyces refusal to face up to his constituents follows a long pattern of showing a lack of accountability, particularly as the former Agriculture Minister.
From the failed forced relocation of the APVMA, biosecurity failings under his watch and the Hansard gate scandal, time and time again Barnaby Joyce has shown he puts the interests of himself before the interests of the people he represents.
People of the New England deserve better. Barnaby Joyce must front up and answer questions.