Coffs MP dumped by Nationals

COFFS HARBOUR MP Andrew Fraser was trying to keep his chin up yesterday despite his dumping as NSW Nationals deputy leader.

He was replaced by Murrumbidgee MP Adrian Piccoli in a surprise leadership spill called by the leader, Andrew Stoner, following The Nationals' failure to win Port Macquarie in Saturday's by-election.

Mr Fraser, who retains his portfolios of Primary Industries, Road Safety and Rural Affairs, said he was obviously disappointed to no longer be deputy, but couldn't explain why he had lost his job.

“It was a decision of the party room,” Mr Fraser said.

Coffs MP Andrew Frazer

And he hadn't been 'out there pushing for the leadership' because it had been far more important to concentrate on the failings of the State Government.

“After by-elections, election spills are had. The party has chosen another direction, but I will still be out there working for Coffs Harbour and concentrating on my portfolios.

“Labels and titles come and go. It's not the title that counts, it's what you do for those you represent.”

Mr Fraser said he was proud to represent Coffs Harbour, and the priority for Coalition MPs was to ensure Opposition leader Barry O'Farrell became the next NSW Premier. “As a strong coalitionist, I remain absolutely committed to The Nationals and to that goal,” he said.

Mr Fraser believed the Nationals would play a crucial role representing regional NSW in a Coalition government. “I intend to continue to put all my efforts into ensuring a Coalition win in 2011 and to bringing the benefits of government to the Coffs Harbour electorate and to the rest of NSW.

“The Rees Government is in terminal decline, and the people of NSW are not fools. This was demonstrated in spades at last weekend's by-elections.

“Average swings of over 20 per cent were gained by the Coalition, and even though Labor didn't stand in Port Macquarie, The Nationals won a swing of more than 22 per cent.”

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