‘Very annoyed’: Yvette Quinn breaks silence over lack of support from Nationals

‘Very annoyed’: Yvette Quinn breaks silence over lack of support from Nationals


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RESIGNED: Former Nationals candidate for Orange Yvette Quinn said she was asked several times to step down. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI

RESIGNED: Former Nationals candidate for Orange Yvette Quinn said she was asked several times to step down. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI

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" ... he told her I wasn’t going to be the candidate for long – this was on the day of my preselection."

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THE Nationals’ former candidate for Orange, Yvette Quinn, has spoken out about her short-lived candidacy, saying she was asked to resign several times before she finally agreed.

Miss Quinn said 24 hours after her preselection in June, there were doubts expressed about her candidacy.

She alleged a journalist shared with her a conversation they had with NSW's deputy premier John Barilaro.

“[The journalist] said on the phone he told her I wasn’t going to be the candidate for long – this was on the day of my preselection,” she said.

Mr Barilaro declined to comment on the allegations.

Despite setting weekends aside for door knocking and asking for leaflets, Miss Quinn said she was not supplied with material and the quality of the handouts she was supplied was not professional.

He [Western NSW parliamentary secretary Rick Colless] and his wife had a chat with me asking me to step down. - Yvette Quinn

But the surprise came on September 4 when she was asked to meet Western NSW parliamentary secretary Rick Colless and wife Geraldine at their home in Orange.

“He and his wife had a chat with me asking me to step down,” Miss Quinn said.

“I already had leave approved for my job and [my employer] already had a replacement so I was a little bit annoyed at that to say it politely.”

Related reading: Nats preselect 21-year-old woman in Orange

She said they cited poor polling. “They claimed that if I continued to run, it would hurt Dubbo and Barwon.”

Miss Quinn contacted the head office to query the polling, conducted in July, and was told her vote was up 4.6 per cent from a starting point of zero, as it was her first campaign.

THEN THERE WERE TWO: Western NSW parliamentary secretary Rick Colless, Yvette Quinn, and deputy premier John Barilaro during Ms Quinn's candidacy for the seat of Orange.

THEN THERE WERE TWO: Western NSW parliamentary secretary Rick Colless, Yvette Quinn, and deputy premier John Barilaro during Ms Quinn's candidacy for the seat of Orange.

“It was a slow increase – the Nats’ poll had gone down since their last February poll, it had gone down [by] 12,” she said. 

“So they were going in different directions.”

Telling Mr and Mrs Colless she had already invested time and money into campaign activities, she said they told her she could be compensated.

“I didn’t end up taking any money, but they did offer a figure and really vague mentions of, ‘oh we can get you a job’,” she said.

“I like my job – I don’t want some stuffy government job that’s been handed to me.”

She said hours after the meeting, a journalist rang her asking if she was stepping down.

It was more of an ambush in trying to talk again to step down – Rick didn’t ask me at all, but his wife had a long conversation with me, again bringing up the money, the job. - Yvette Quinn

“So somebody’s told them,” she said.

Miss Quinn said she was asked another four times to resign, once by former senator Fiona Nash.

Then on Sunday, September 23, when the campaign committee held a meeting ahead of the state electoral council meeting, Miss Quinn was asked again.

“It was more of an ambush in trying to talk again to step down – Rick didn’t ask me at all, but his wife had a long conversation with me, again bringing up the money, the job,” she said.

“And also [they said] they would bring in KPIs so I would have to be door knocking, which I found quite rich because I had been asking for door knocking resources since the go-get.

CONVERSATION: Former senator Fiona Nash.

CONVERSATION: Former senator Fiona Nash.

“I was very annoyed – I told her no at that point, because they wanted me to get up during the meeting to follow and resign publicly.”

But she said when it came time to organise an Orange fundraiser, only 20 people of an expected 100 registered to attend.

 She said she then realised the members in Orange would not rally behind her in the run into the election.

“If you don’t have the people on booths on voting day or door knocking, it wouldn’t matter how much money you put into the campaign,” she said.

She said her attitude to speaking publicly changed due to speculation she resigned due to mental illness.

“Which is completely untrue,” she said.

Mr Colless had previously commented to the Central Western Daily he was unaware of any job offers. He maintained his position when approached again on Friday.

He declined to comment on the remainder of the allegations, saying they were internal party matters.

Mrs Nash could not be reached for comment.

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