New Nationals Leader

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the member for Riverina as the new Leader of the National Party and I want to reflect on the leaders who've come before him.

There was the great Jack McEwen. He was a cattle farmer. There was Doug Anthony. He was a dairy farmer. There was Tim Fischer. He was also a farmer. Was the member for Riverina a farmer? No. In fact, the only muster that the new Deputy Prime Minister has ever done was to round up the numbers against the member for New England.

Giving the member for Maranoa a poke with a cattle prod does not count.

The new Deputy Prime Minister is no Doug Anthony and he's no 'Black Jack' McEwen. He is a fake farmer. He's probably still got the price tag on his Akubra, and he's been out there in the ministerial courtyard scuffing up the RM Williams with a bit of sandpaper.

I hear there's an order in for a new bull bar for a Com car. The truth is this: he voted against Medicare, he voted against schools in country Australia, he voted against a decent broadband network and he voted against regional universities. You can't fake authority and you can't fake authenticity.

It's a sad day for regional Australia when the new Nationals dream team is a fake farmer and a senator from Elwood. From leather to pleather, from wheat belt to wheatgrass smoothies, this is the new National Party dream team—a dysfunctional and out-of-touch mob.