Shooters, Fishers and Farmers eyeing Maguire's seat

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party may target the seat of Wagga in the March 2019 state election, despite ruling it out last year.

Member for Wagga Daryl Maguire

Member for Wagga Daryl Maguire

A party member told The Daily Advertiser on Wednesday that they were “not ruling anything in or out" in the seats of Wagga and Goulburn and that “a lot has changed since the Orange by-election”.

The party has targeted seven Nationals’ seats, but Shooters upper house MP Robert Borsak did not rule out also focusing on regional seats currently held by the Liberals.

“There are a lot of country seats where people are really fed up with the Nationals, and in some cases the Liberals,” he said.

It is a departure from comments made by fellow MP Robert Brown in November last year. At the time, Mr Brown said there would be no Shooters candidate in Wagga, and that MP Daryl Maguire was “very popular with shooters”.

“You don't piss on people who show courage and who are your friends,” Mr Brown said.

“We won't be seeking to damage our friends in the Coalition who looked after us, and Daryl's (Maguire) never been against us.”

Mr Maguire said on Wednesday that no politician in any election should think that they are not vulnerable.

“The electorate can be very volatile. No one should take incumbency for granted,” he said.

However, he pointed to the commitment Mr Brown made in November, when there was speculation the Shooters would contest Adrian Piccoli’s Murray seat and the now-contestable seat of Cootamundra.

“Robert Brown made a very public commitment,” Mr Maguire said.

The Shooters are currently the bookies’ favourite to win a by-election for the seat of Cootamundra, which is up for grabs following the resignation of Nationals MP Katrina Hodgkinson.

Mr Borsak said his party was concentrating on the Cootamundra by-election, but would be looking closely at regional seats ahead of the March 2019 state election.

“They feel the Nationals did not stand up to the Liberals on council amalgamations and on greyhounds,” he said.

“We also think water, and the Murray-Darling Basin plan, is going to be a big issue for the southern part of the state.”’

Charles Sturt University politics and history lecturer Troy Whitford believes the Shooters could win Cootamundra, but did not believe the issues that would resonate with voters in that electorate were as important to Wagga residents.

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