He’s one of the best known politicians in the country with a gift for publicity and a unique way with words. In political parlance, he has “cut through”-- so much so former Prime Minister Tony Abbott praised him as the best “retail politician” in the country. He’s the member for New England, Barnaby Joyce.
Just five short months ago he fulfilled a lifelong ambition when he was anointed leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister. In country politics, it doesn’t get any bigger and better.
But it could all come crashing down.
“He will need an unbelievably strong primary vote in his own right. If he doesn’t get it, the way the preference gaming goes on these days, he could lose it.” Former National Party Strategist
With only two weeks to go in the Federal Election campaign, Barnaby Joyce is fighting to hang on to his seat.
The man getting in his way is the Independent, Tony Windsor. He’s been a thorn in the side of the National Party for 25 years and he’s come out of retirement for one more crack at winning the seat. And he’s in with a real chance.
“This seat is winnable. It is winnable. I have absolutely no doubt about that. No-one has it won yet.” Tony Windsor
Four Corners has spent weeks behind the scenes, on the campaign trail, with both men as they’ve crisscrossed the electorate in one of the most hotly anticipated contests of the election campaign.
“The only way you can do it at a time like this, is work flat out. And that’s what I’m doing.” Barnaby Joyce
It’s a very personal contest and the antipathy between both men is clear. And it’s a contest that’s dividing the electorate and even families.
The Deputy and the Dark Horse, reported by Ben Knight and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 20th June at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 21st June at 10.00am and Wednesday 22nd at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.