As Australian voters get ready for the poll on May 18, four candidates have put their hands up for the seat of Riverina. The Nationals' candidate, current Member for Riverina Michael McCormack, has drawn number one on the ballot paper.
This is your first campaign as The Nationals leader, rather than simply the Member for Riverina, how's it been?
Yeah good. I was assistant minister for defence in 2016, so that also required a bit of additional travel. But being a minister, certainly the Deputy Prime Minister, does also enable the Riverina to have a voice around the Cabinet table. It enables the Riverina to have a voice at the very top of government.
The fact is, I just get on and do my job. I never forget that Riverina people are the ones that I'm there to serve first, and that is why I have been to every one of my local government areas during the election campaign. I speak to the mayors every week, I speak to local people every week.
Going back a bit, why did you decide to run for The Nationals back in 2010?
I'd been a member of The Nationals for many years before I became the Member for Riverina. I joined The Nationals in 2003, obviously I wasn't a member of a political party when I was at the newspaper.
I chose The Nationals because they were the party representative wholly and solely of regional Australia, in the national interest. When the regions are strong, so too is our nation. Obviously we are in a coalition with the Liberal Party and I do very much have great faith in Scott Morrison and what the Liberal Party have to offer this nation, but for the benefit of regional people, The Nationals have always delivered. We've been going for 100 years.
I want to make sure the Riverina is a place where people can live, work, enjoy, invest in and make it even more attractive to move to.
There has been been a lot of talk that minor parties are trying to replace The Nationals. What would you say to them?
There's been many people who have tried to do that over many years. We're still there. So people can have faith us, they can trust us to deliver. You only have to look around the Riverina to see the sorts of the things that I've delivered for the Riverina. Having that voice in Cabinet gives me an even greater say in how regional delivery occurs.
Speaking of regional areas, what's the first thing you would make a priority for the Riverina if you're re-elected?
Again, it's providing that better infrastructure, it's making sure we continue with the Inland Rail, it's making sure we continue to look at good projects under the next rounds of the building better regions fund, which at the moment I oversee. We can do that through those really good community infrastructure grants, whether they're sports stadiums or whether they're investing in cultural events. It makes such a difference to the arts and culture of a region and I want to make sure the Riverina is a place where people can live, work, enjoy, invest in and make it even more attractive to move to.
What would be your first federal priority?
The National Water Grid is something I have established, something I want to carry through and make sure we get it granted and make sure that we actually raise a dam wall, make sure we build a new dam, make sure we put down that infrastructure.
Of course, the Inland Rail. I haven't actually been able to get the Queensland government to sign up to the intergovernmental agreement on the Inland Rail, and I'm hoping to get that smoothed away.
Are voters still talking about Barnaby Joyce resigning from the leadership?
The media is still talking about it, but honestly, people have moved on. I've shown that by the way I've lead the National Party, by the infrastructure that I've rolled out in central Queensland, Victoria, right across the nation, NSW certainly.
We did not have a National Party presence in Tasmania before I became the leader. Now, I've started that. It's going to be difficult, I appreciate, in Tasmania to win seats, because we haven't had a big branch structure. By gee we're giving it our best shot.
You're up to your second prime minister. How are you and the PM working together?
Very well. Scott and I speak every day. We have done since the day he became prime minister. We get on very well, our wives Catherine and Jenny get along very well. We've been out a number of times. I think he has fitted into the [role] superbly. I think he could be - in fact I know he will be - one of Australia's [great] modern day prime ministers if voters give him a chance on May 18.
He's been very good on the campaign. He's very real, he's very normal, he's very down to earth. He can talk sport, he can talk high-level economics and he can just be a daggy dad. All of those things. I think that's what people want in a prime minister.
You're an AFL fan and the PM's a Cronulla Sharks tragic, how do you talk football?
No, I'm a rugby league fan. I love rugby league. I played rugby league - not very well - for Junee. I was probably Junee rugby league's worst export. Laurie Daley was their best. More than that, I'm delighted Parramatta are going well this year.
My two boys play first grade AFL around the Riverina. I love all sport. I think sport brings people together and I think sport makes you friends for life. But there's more to me that just sport too. I don't mind going to the theatre when I get the opportunity. I love going to the festivals that the Riverina holds.