Barnaby Joyce signs off

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TAMWORTH: Former National Party leader Barnaby Joyce has been forced to trash his own election signs just a week out from polling day.

Mr Joyce, seeking re-election in his seat of New England, has been erecting corflute signs around the electorate bearing his photo and party label (main picture).

But the signs also ask New England voters to re-elect Mr Joyce as Deputy Prime Minister.

An Australian Electoral Commission official said the signs had been examined after a complaint had been received and found to breach electoral laws.

When asked who had complained the official said: “I can’t recall the exact name of the complainant, but I recall he was a middle-aged man with grey hair, regular or pretty much bland or nondescript features, and with a surname beginning with ‘Mc’ I think although I can’t be 100% certain.

“I actually met the complainant and spent a considerable amount of time with him, hours and hours in fact, but I’ll be damned if I can recall who he was.”

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COFFS HARBOUR: Independent candidate at the 18 May federal election Rob Oakeshott says he has been preparing for a key role in the wake of the poll if he wins his seat and again holds the balance of power in a hung parliament.

Mr Oakeshott (pictured) is seeking to return to the House of Representatives in the NSW seat of Cowper next Saturday after representing Lynne from 2008 to 2013.

OAKESHOTTFollowing the 2010 federal poll, Mr Oakeshott and fellow independent MP Tony Windsor holding the seat of New England supported Prime Minister Julia Gillard, enabling her to retain government for the Labor Party in a hung parliament.

“In the lead-up to election day I’ve been rehearsing my speech if there’s a hung parliament and I need to announce my decision on which side of politics, Labor or the Coalition, I’ll support to form government,” Mr Oakeshott said.

“After weeks of practising I’ve now got it down to just under 80 minutes, but there’s a week to go so I hope to crack the hour mark by the morning of election day and maybe get to 40 or 45 minutes by the close of the poll.”

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MELBOURNE: Details of how Sunday’s launch of the Liberal and National parties’ election campaign will pan out have been leaked exclusively to The Bug.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will make his re-election pitch to his fellow Australians from an empty stage with only two chairs on it. There will be a black-curtained backdrop devoid of any signage or logos from either conservative party.

Mr Morrison will simply make his entrance – stage right of course – which would normally have been met with thunderous applause if anyone else other than media were in the hall.

“The Prime Minister wants this to be a one-on-one conversation,” a party campaign strategist told The Bug.

“He will talk quietly and calmly to the empty chair beside him because that chair will represent each and every Australian voter who have still to make up their minds.

“He wants to explain to that chair that a vote for Scott Morrison will be a vote for Scott Morrison and a vote for Bill Shorten will be a vote for Bill Shorten.

“That’s the key message the PM needs to impart. If he can walk away from the launch with the chair understanding that, then his job will have been done.”