Nervous Nats consider split from Liberals
QUEENSLAND Nationals MPs fear an unpopular Prime Minister, unfavourable polls and One Nation splitting the conservative vote in regional areas could cost them crucial votes leading into the next federal election.
Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd is backing a move by Queensland's federal Nationals parliamentarians to run their own campaign at the next election - and he has even floated the possibility of a split from the LNP at the federal level.
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They want their corflutes to show Barnaby Joyce and not Malcolm Turnbull in a back-to-basics campaign.
"I can see us becoming irrelevant if we keep heading down the path we're heading," Mr O'Dowd told the Courier-Mail.
"We're becoming, in the eyes of the public, more city-orientated than rural and regional.
"Initially we should make our point as Nationals and make sure we're heard by our Liberal Party cousins.
"If that doesn't work then we take the next step, which could be a break away."
Adding to National MPs' woes is the poor performance of the LNP at the state election where One Nation split many of the conservative votes in regional seats.
Hinkler MP Keith Pitt would not be drawn into the debate but said his focus was on delivering for his constituents.
"People didn't vote for John Howard because he had a Liberal banner, they voted because he did right by them with the policies he introduced," he said.
"We need to continue to act in the best interest of the people of Australia, by stopping the boats and addressing energy reliability and affordability.
"What I am focusing on is delivering for the constituents of Hinkler, ensuring that there are investments in infrastructure projects to create more jobs in the region."