Nats will force Joyce out: Windsor
BARNABY Joyce's political nemesis believes the beleaguered former deputy prime minister will bow out before the next election and hasn't ruled out a run of his own.
In a blistering attack on radio this morning, former independent MP Tony Windsor said he believed "hard heads" within the National Party would force Mr Joyce out.
"It's recognised now that he'll just be an embarrassment to the government for the next 12 months before the election," Mr Windsor told ABC radio.
"This thing will stay up, the 'weatherboard and iron' book will rake it all up again, so it'll just go on and on."
Mr Windsor, who held the seat of New England from 2001 until 2013, is not ruling out a tilt of his own.
"I haven't made any decisions in relation to my political future," he said. "People have been talking about maybe a shot at the Senate, others are saying don't forget about New England. I'll never forget about New England."
Mr Windsor argued that whether he ran or not was "almost irrelevant" to Mr Joyce's prospects at the next election.
"I don't think he'll win the seat anyway, and I hope he doesn't," he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Joyce has emailed Nationals branch members in New England confirming his intention to stay on in the seat and contest the next federal election.
But party leader Michael McCormack has not explicitly endorsed his predecessor, saying the final decision rests with party branch members.
Mr McCormack said yesterday he would support any Nationals candidate who won the support of local branch members, including Mr Joyce.
"If he puts his hand up, good luck to him. The leader doesn't get to choose his team," Mr McCormack said.
"I'll welcome any person who gets preselected for the National Party."
Mr McCormack said leaving the decision to grassroots members was the "beaut thing" about his party.
"If the local members decide Barnaby is their man, then he has to face the voters of the electorate," he said.
Mr Joyce is digging in after labelling some of his unnamed colleagues "scum" in a paid television interview about his affair with former media adviser Vikki Campion, with whom he now has a six-week-old baby.
"Of course I am running again - the first people I would tell if I wasn't would be the electorate," he said yesterday.
"I'm still working for New England, I'm having meetings in the electorate today."