Barilaro claims Shooters have 'sold their soul' to Labor

Preference deals deliver Eden-Monaro to Labor, claim Nats

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Former Bega mayor, Labor's Kristy McBain, covered over 9000km in the by-election campaign and will be the first female member for Eden-Monaro. She is pictured talking to an orchardist in Batlow.

Former Bega mayor, Labor's Kristy McBain, covered over 9000km in the by-election campaign and will be the first female member for Eden-Monaro. She is pictured talking to an orchardist in Batlow.

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Shooters says Barilaro should take blame for loss

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Nationals NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has come out swinging against the Shooters, Fishers, Farmers Party (SFF) after the Eden-Monaro by-election result.

Labor's Kristy McBain looks set to win the seat on preferences. She has already claimed victory.

But Mr Barilaro has rejected calls his party performed poorly.

Mr Barilaro told The Land that it was the Shooters party that had deserted its base.

"The National party vote remained the same, despite a field of 14 candidates contesting the Eden-Monaro by-election," he said.

"The National party preference flow remained the same. The Nationals' how-to-vote cards clearly indicated supporters should give their second preference to the Liberal party.

"What the by-election has confirmed for regional people is that a vote for the Shooters party is a vote for the Greens and Labor in government.

Mr Barilaro in Cobargo before polling day. He has a large personal following in the area as the member for Monaro, but some question his role in the by-election.

Mr Barilaro in Cobargo before polling day. He has a large personal following in the area as the member for Monaro, but some question his role in the by-election.

"The Shooters have sold their soul and betrayed their base - they claim to represent conservative regional values, but in reality they are little more than a vote harvester for the Labor party.

"Shooters, fishers and farmers all stand to be major losers if this party helps the Greens and Labor form government at the next general election."

But Shooters' leader Robert Borsak hit back saying the Nationals had lost its soul and Mr Barilaro was one of the major people to blame for their loss.

"Nationals are on the ropes in NSW being led by a egomaniac and federally being led by a second rate rent seeker," Mr Borsak said.

"The times when they can con the regional voters of NSW and indeed the country are over, hollow promises, loud noise, lies and splashing money around just before an election doesn't work any more.

"The regions need solid policy change that turns the bias for the bush, not a continuation of a bias against the bush."

But Labor Senator Tim Ayres also accused the Nationals of deserting their own base, saying it was hypocritical of them to campaign for a dairy royal commission during the Eden-Monaro by-election, when they had let down dairy farmers at every level.

"Successive Nationals agriculture ministers have failed to stop the exodus of small dairy farmers from the industry," Sen Ayres said. "At every opportunity they have backed the Liberals' free market ideology over the dairy farmers they claim to represent."

"Dairy communities sent a message to the National Party over the weekend.

"The booths in Bega Shire swung away from the Nationals on primary, and on two party-preferred they swung to Kristy McBain."

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