Julian Fidge’s Indi election goal to replace the Nationals

ELECTION PLANS: Dr Julian Fidge at his Wangaratta GP clinic.

ELECTION PLANS: Dr Julian Fidge at his Wangaratta GP clinic.

Sophie Mirabella versus Cathy McGowan will not be the only head-to-head contest to take note of during Indi’s election campaign.

Australian Country Party candidate Julian Fidge has launched his campaign with a clear message for the Nationals: “I want to replace them”.

The Wangaratta GP nominated issues such as building the Big Buffalo dam - an extension of Lake Buffalo, near Myrtleford - as key point of difference with Nationals candidate Marty Corboy.

“I like Marty, I think he’s a great guy, but he’s a party animal,” Dr Fidge said.

“He’s a creation of the National Party.”

He said the Nationals were more focused on winning seats than representing farmers.

Mr Corboy refused to be drawn into a war of words with his fellow candidate.

“I have no comment on his comments,” he said.

“People are welcome to their opinion, it’s a democracy.”

Indi already had a large field of candidates to nominate and Mr Corboy said he admired anyone who wanted to have a crack.

“My main focus is to listen to voters,” he said.

ON THE CAMPAIGN: Marty Corboy and wife Annelisa after he won Nationals preselection.

ON THE CAMPAIGN: Marty Corboy and wife Annelisa after he won Nationals preselection.

The Nationals and ACA already clashed heavily during 2015 over the wording of their party names.

The ACA won the battle to change its name from Australian Country Alliance and abbreviate the new identity to Country Party.

The Nationals objected to the Victorian Electoral Commission, after having the “Country Party” name registered for more than 60 years.

Mr Corboy has been travelling around the electorate in recent months, door-knocking and attending events to talk to voters.

Dr Fidge said his full-time job and lack of funding meant he could not put the same resources into a travelling campaign.

He said he would take an “intellectual approach” to a campaign driven by policy to be released in the coming weeks.

The ACA candidate advocated Big Buffalo as a “common sense solution”, costing about $500 million in federal and state funding.

“It’s one of the reasons I decided to become a candidate,” Dr Fidge said.

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