Last Updated: April 21, 2014

Weather: Canberra 2°C - 18°C . Partly cloudy.

Politics

Some Libs fear Sharman Stone may quit the party over SPC

Plea: Sharman Stone is fighting for the government to give cash to SPC.

Plea: Sharman Stone is fighting for the government to give cash to SPC. Source: News Limited

REBEL Liberal backbencher Sharman Stone says quitting the party would serve "no purpose'' if SPC Ardmona is not supported by her government.

Some senior party members are concerned the regional Victorian MP's "rabid campaigning'' to support the Shepparton-based company could lead to her quitting the Liberals and becoming an independent.

Dr Stone, who won Murray from the National Party in 1996, shares her eastern electoral boundary with new independent MP Cathy McGowan.

Liberal sources believe if SPC was not supported by Cabinet, a "Voice for Indi'' movement which swept Ms McGowan to power over Liberal Sophie Mirabella would be replicated in Murray.

They also believe if Dr Stone decided to contest the next election as an independent, her strong personal following and a likely three-cornered contest with the Nationals, would result in her return.

She has been re-elected with a margin of around 20 per cent on six occasions.

But Dr Stone said she viewed being an independent, in this parliament, as being "voiceless''.

"With a majority parliament it makes no sense to me - I am committed to being a member of the government.

"I wake up every morning to do the best for my electorate and that, I feel, is best served by me being part of the government,'' Dr Stone said.

"As noble as the independent's view and battles are, that I can call a minister directly, and brief cabinet and the Prime Minister, is the best outcome for Murray.''

Dr Stone has a long history of rallying against her party leadership and has crossed the floor both in government and in opposition.

Most notable she led the charge in the lower house in favour of overturning a ban on abortion drug RU486 - defying then Prime Minister John Howard and Health Minister Tony Abbott.

She was one of a handful of MPs to vote against the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in the belief it was not the best deal for farmers in her electorate.

She was Workforce Participation Minister in the Howard Government and served as shadow minister for the environment and immigration in opposition under Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull.

Since Mr Abbott won the leadership in 2010, Dr Stone has been relegated to the backbench where she now sits in government.

Her strong criticism of cabinet members in the past month has raised eyebrows among her Victorian colleagues.

Some Coalition MPs have said she was far too critical of the cabinet while others have lauded her courage.

Have your say

Skip to:
Read comments
Add comments

Add your comment on this story

Comments Form

1200 characters left

Your details
Post Options

Comments on this story

  • Gregory John Loechel (hobogreg) of Mooroopna Posted at 5:04 PM February 04, 2014

    I was a Labour voter all my life until Labour put the tax on beer & smokes, then I slid to the Greens, then Sharman asked me at the Cricketers Arms Hotel, Mooroopna to shake her hand!!>>since then I have watched what she had to say and do!!>> I can say she is for Goulburn valley through and through. If a branch of a fruit tree breaks around here Sharman Stone hears it. Sharam work your magic, you have my backing.

News

Weekly Times story tips

Solar panel bill pain

NQ Solar, solar panels

VICTORIANS will be slugged $400 in higher electricity bills to subsidise those with solar panels.

SES raises safety over thefts

 n24dv666 More than 600 emergency services workers staged a bushfire simulation at Whittlesea, Nillumbik and Manningham on Su...

THIEVES have stolen thousands of dollars worth of vital tools and equipment from Victoria’s volunteer-staffed State Emergency Service.

Frosty Mango's orchard success

Easter camping

When Alf Poefinger decided to start a specialty ice cream and sorbet shop between Townsville and Ingham, he was always going to have an advantage his competition just couldn’t match

Royal fever set to soar in Territory

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Tour Australia And New Zealand - Day 14

ROYAL fever has hit the Territory as the world’s media gather in Yulara ahead of the future king and queen of England’s arrival on Tuesday.

Farmers hit with lonely hearts

Easter Show

SYDNEY’S single ladies are looking to the man on the land for love with outback farmers at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Solar panel bill pain

NQ Solar, solar panels

VICTORIANS will be slugged $400 in higher electricity bills to subsidise those with solar panels.

Panthers on the prowl

 New hand at the wheel. Former Werribee player and now coach of the Lavington Panthers James Saker at work for Albury City.

LAVINGTON coach James Saker isn’t buying into talk that anything less than a grand final berth would mean the Panthers had failed this season.

FTA key to high currency flow

FTA key to high currency flow

TRADING volumes between the Australian dollar and the renminbi are expected to be one of the major beneficiaries of a FTA.

Gaining control of sprays to cut costs

VIC_WT_MACHINE_WIMMERA_DAY 2_12FEB14(2)

VICTORIAN farmers are trialling new nozzle control technology retrofitted to self-propelled boom sprayers.

Farmers hit with lonely hearts

Easter Show

SYDNEY’S single ladies are looking to the man on the land for love with outback farmers at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Going for gold

 Cut Daffodils in the cool room. David and Robin Jackson of Jacksons Daffodils in Surges Bay on their farm.

FEW growers have won the top daffodil award in the UK or the US. Yet one Australian has taken out both. Meet David Jackson.