THE Nationals are tight-lipped about the departure of former Wangaratta councillor Tammy Atkins from the party.
Her exit comes after local party members raised concerns about Ms Atkins and former member for Murray Valley Ken Jasper’s high- profile support of Voice4Indi candidate Cathy McGowan’s election triumph in the federal seat of Indi two years ago.
During the Indi federal electorate council annual meeting in Wangaratta early last month a point of order was raised to have Ms Atkins and Mr Jasper booted out of the party.
Ms Atkins yesterday was again reluctant to comment about her exit and refused to confirm whether she departed of her own accord or not.
“If I can’t help you with that I guess we don’t have anything else to talk about,” she said.
Asked to confirm or deny the reasons for her departure, Ms Atkins said: “I am not saying anything at all to you about that.”
Indi federal electorate council chairman Marty Corboy directed all inquiries on the matter to head office.
The recent blow-up coincided with the Nationals’ get- together in Wodonga.
Ms Atkins had been a member of the Nationals since the late 2000s and previously worked for the former member for Indi Sophie Mirabella.
Ms McGowan caused a major election upset when she toppled Mrs Mirabella by less than 500 votes.
Ms Atkins was a founding member of Voice4Indi and remains a board member.
Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie is firming as the favourite for pre-selection in Indi.
The Nationals will swing their attention to Indi after the by-election in the state seat of Gippsland South, where the Nationals and Liberals have both said they are running candidates.
Labor has already committed to opening pre-selection in Indi early next month.
Indi Liberals remain upset with Ms Atkins and Mr Jasper and have floated changes to the existing Coalition agreement to include only entering into an agreement to form government, allocating portfolios on a more representative proportional basis and no restrictions on fielding candidates against the other party.
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