LABOR is expected to confirm it will run a candidate in the possible New England by-election this weekend, when Senator Sam Dastyari visits Tamworth and Armidale.
It’s no coincidence the trip comes a few weeks before High Court’s ruling on the eligibility of incumbent New England MP Barnaby Joyce, after it was revealed the Deputy Prime Minister was a dual New Zealand citizen.
Senator Dastyari will be holding “politics in the pub” sessions on Sunday, inviting locals to join him for a “very non-halal beer”.
“I want to make sure that even though there hasn’t been a Labor member representing these areas in generations, they still get their fair share attention and focus from the Labor opposition,” Senator Dastyari said.
“Putting aside the Barnaby Joyce by-election question – which is obviously a huge one – I also want to make sure that the New England part of NSW isn’t ignored or forgotten.
“It’s about hearing first hand what the issues are in these New England communities so that we can fight for them in federal parliament.”
While the New England by-election is only a hypothetical, Senator Dastyari said if people wanted to see change and improvement, “it’s going to take a new government”.
“Frankly, I’m going to be making the case that the government and the Nationals are taking country NSW for granted,” he said.
“It’s about sending a message to this government. This is a government that needs to be sent a message.”
Mr Joyce’s case will be heard by the High Court on October 10 to 12, alongside those of the six other politicians caught up the section 44 dual-citizenship drama.
Labor has declared it had received legal advice that should the High Court find the MPs ineligible, any ministerial decisions they made after October 20, 2016 could be open to challenge.
Senator Dastyari will be taking questions at the Wicklow Hotel in Armidale on Sunday from 1.30pm, and Joe Maguires in Tamworth from 6pm.