The Nationals needed to stand up and fight for their constituents rather than surrender to the smoke and mirror tactics of the Liberals over fuel indexation and paid parental leave, according to Palmer United Party federal leader and Member for Fairfax, Clive Palmer.
“We are used to the Liberals lying to the Australian people and now we discover they are lying to their own coalition partners, the Nationals,’’ Mr Palmer said.
“They frightened them with speculation about cutting diesel rebates for farmers and miners so they would agree to the lesser evil of a higher fuel excise.
“The Liberals have fooled the Nationals and the end result will be pain at the petrol pump for all Australians as fuel prices go up and up under this shambolic coalition government.
“It must be like smoke and mirrors inside their party room with the Nationals being duped by the Liberals’ science and trickery,’’ he said.
Mr Palmer said the Nationals had sold out to the rural people they were supposed to represent by backing fuel excise increases, fuel indexation and the paid parental leave scheme.
“They have embraced paid parental leave when it is obvious rural women will be disadvantaged compared with the rich Liberals in the city.
“The Nationals are a very different party from when I was made a life member and was once their party spokesman. They have been reduced to being just cardboard figures in the Federal Government.”
Mr Palmer said government policy was being devised by Tony Abbott without his backbenchers even being consulted.
“Warren Truss and Ron Boswell are not doing enough to fight for the traditional National Party supporters,’’ he said.
“And poor old Barnaby Joyce is like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Where is the old Barnaby, the once caring, smiling chap who actually stood up for rural people?
“National Party voters have been betrayed,’’ Mr Palmer said.