VICTORIAN Senator John Madigan has been frozen out by his fellow politicians in his attempts to connect them with Australian farmers.
The Ballarat blacksmith and Democratic Labor Party leader launched the Australian Manufacturing and Farming Program in December 2011 to give politicians first-hand experience of life in regional Australia.
But Senator Madigan said there had been little interest from his colleagues in Canberra.
"We organised a day with the timber industry in Gippsland before Christmas," he said.
"We had one taker for the day but they pulled out for a last-minute trip to Antarctica, as if that was more important than what's happening at home."
Senator Madigan refused to name names but said it was a Nationals politician.
He thanked Nick Xenophon and Bob Katter for their support in launching the program in Ballarat, and then in Canberra last August, but said "there doesn't seem to be a lot of empathy" among politicians for rural issues.
"Surely they're not that busy that they can't make a day to meet the people that vote for them," Senator Madigan said.
The program was designed to offer hands-on work experience to politicians but Senator Madigan has also been running open days to connect workers with their federal representatives.
He said he was "more determined than ever" to make the program work, with politicians to be invited to another open day in Dandenong next month.