Nationals welcome Blayney aboard

Joe Spagnolo and Zach RelphCountryman
Nationals WA leader Mia Davies with new party member Ian Blayney.
Camera IconNationals WA leader Mia Davies with new party member Ian Blayney. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper

New Nationals MP Ian Blayney has denied a rift with former Liberal colleague and State Opposition Leader Liza Harvey after he was stripped of the shadow agricultural portfolio.

The National Party accepted the Geraldton MP’s membership at a State council meeting in Perth on Saturday, after he last month announced his resignation from the Liberals.

Speaking after the Nationals acceptance, Mr Blayney denied claims from within the Liberal Party that he had spat the dummy after new leader Ms Harvey handed the shadow agricultural duties to Jim Chown.

Do you really think you would go through this entire process for a reason like that?

he said.

“The 2017 election was very hard.

“I didn’t want to go through a similar election again and so I just felt I’d be more effective and have more support if I went into that campaign as a member of the National Party.”

Mr Blayney had been a critic of the National Party at the last election, saying the Nationals believed “they are the only people who can represent the regions”.

He also accused the Nationals of having a “chauvinistic attitude”.

But standing next to his new leader Mia Davies, pictured right, Mr Blayney denied he ever had any ill feelings towards them.

“We are partners in government — competitors in elections,” he said.

Geraldton MP Ian Blayney at his first press conference as a Nationals MP.
Camera IconGeraldton MP Ian Blayney at his first press conference as a Nationals MP. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper

“In a political process there is give and take but I don’t think you have ever seen any ill feeling from me towards members of the National Party in Parliament.

I have come to the feeling in my position that the place I could be most effective was as a member of the National Party so that’s the decision I made.

Mr Blayney assumed the Geraldton MP post in 2008, defeating Labor’s Shane Hill.

Earlier this year, when he was Liberal shadow agriculture minister, Mr Blayney called on the McGowan Government to take “strong action” after mass cattle deaths at two WA stations.

The Nationals will now have six members in the Legislative Assembly.

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