The Australian newspaper on Wednesday morning reported that Barnaby Joyce has suggested that my 'Oakeshott for Cowper' campaign is all about me making ‘a quick money grab’.

This is a leader of a party that benefits from large corporate donors in the industries of mining, gambling and tobacco.  A party currently in a scandal around the use of public funds to do base political work and data collection on people, a Coalition party where at least 10 MP's have resigned in the past three years in NSW, including a Premier, due to questionable dealings with money in politics, and with a federal party leader mentioned in an offshore tax evasion scandal, known as the Panama papers affair. 

The only conclusion that can be drawn from his comments on my legitimacy as a candidate is that I have somehow crashed the party of snouts in the trough.  Yes, I have, and will happily continue to expose it. 

The implication from his comments is that the National Party now firmly believe politics is a rich man’s game. I fundamentally disagree with that. 

When the Nationals suggest that an average man on the Mid North Coast should not be running for office, they position themselves as the party of the rich.  They have now chosen to harness votes by dividing our community based on wealth.  Sorry, but that gives me all the more reason to stand and stare it down. And it now invites voters to stand with a suburban man from our region, or to let the rich talk with the rich in politics, and ignore regions like ours.  I'm no mining magnates' "pistol and boo" lapdog, and I don't covet a chairmanship of a mining company post-election.  The leader of the Nationals cannot say the same.

I will be standing for Cowper so that our electorate has a strong, independent voice that isn’t influenced by party politics and corporate donations. 

This will be my seventh campaign. I have always been transparent on all electoral funding matters and always will be. 

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