Chris Brooks to launch political party

Irrigator Chris Brooks to launch a federal political party

News
Southern RIverina Irrigators chairman Chris Brooks plans to take on Sussan Ley and other members of the Coalition, launching his own party to challenge in at least four seats at the federal election. Photo supplied.

Southern RIverina Irrigators chairman Chris Brooks plans to take on Sussan Ley and other members of the Coalition, launching his own party to challenge in at least four seats at the federal election. Photo supplied.

Aa

Southern Riverina Irrigators chairman's new party to challenge at least four federal seats.

Aa

Last December Chris Brooks led a crowd of protesting southern basin irrigators to the front door of parliament as part of the 'Can the Plan' rally.

Now, the Southern Riverina Irrigators' chairman is launching his own political party to get his supporters past the front door.

Mr Brooks said his newly formed party - the name yet to be released - will challenge at least four of the Coalition's seats in the next federal election.

Related reading

The four seats will include the Riverina, currently held by Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Farrer, held by environment minister and Liberal Sussan Ley, as well as Victorian electorates Murray, which includes Shepparton, and Mallee which includes Mildura and Swan Hill.

Mr Brooks said he was starting the party because he was frustrated with the sitting politicians of the Liberal/National party.

"They've totally lost focus and are doing nothing for country people and will not engage in any fair and reasonable discussion or debate about a better water policy to allow these rural communities to survive," he said.

He said the new party's policy would revolve around water and other infrastructure for rural areas.

"Having somebody from local areas that can actually stand up as a block and make some representation for these areas is critical," Mr Brooks said.

"The only party that was supposed to be for rural areas, the National Party, is absolutely in disarray and have done not one thing for rural agricultural areas in the south.

"They're very supportive of the guys in the north, who coincidentally have all the water."

When asked whether Mr Brooks would run himself in one of the electorates he said he would if need be.

"I think there will probably be someone more diplomatic and patient than me," Mr Brooks said.

"We'll form a list of candidates and go through a pre-selection process."

Previous attempt

Mr Brooks helped bankroll the tilt at the seat of Farrer, centred on Albury, at the last election, by the five-time mayor of the city, Kevin Mack.

Sitting member, Environment Minister Sussan Ley, retained the seat with 61 per cent of the vote.

Mr Brooks said many lessons had been learned from the campaign, which was affected by issues outside the electorate, such as franking credits.

He said Albury residents were now more aware how much their future was connected to agricultural industries, in the broader region.

Mr Mack achieved a third of the vote, at the last election, and Mr Brooks said he was confident of picking up another 10-15pc of votes.

"If we are within 5pc, I am pretty confident - and it won't be for want of resources."

He said initial support had come from Albury (Farrer) and Wagga Wagga (Riverina).

"They know me, they know the facts I've been putting up, they know my intentions," Mr Brooks said.

"If the politicians don't deliver, we will be there.

"It suits me to run it up the flagpole early; my phone hasn't stopped ringing.

"Every time this issue comes up, people want to be on board."

"Chris's perspective has always been political so at least that is out in the open. I think people are tired of his scattergun approach to water politics, where the complexity of an issue is ignored by simply chasing someone to blame.

Sussan Ley response 

Farrer MP Sussan Ley responded to Mr Brooks launching his own political party, stating water policy should be focused on practical long-term solutions not promises of accessing water that isn't there.

"Chris's perspective has always been political so at least that is out in the open," the environment minister stated.

"I think people are tired of his scattergun approach to water politics, where the complexity of an issue is ignored by simply chasing someone to blame.

"My focus remains to work with all parts of the electorate to address water security issues, and to help drive meaningful outcomes through calm and common sense advocacy between the Commonwealth and states."

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by