A bitter dispute has erupted between state Nationals leader John Barilaro and his federal counterpart, Michael McCormack.

“Don’t hide behind the ‘members will choose the candidate’ rubbish, as you were the only one saying such lines.
“To feel threatened by me clearly shows you have failed your team and failed as a leader.”
Mr Mccormack said he repsected Mr Barilaro’s decsio t to run “due to family reasons”.
“I have always supported the democratic election processes of the National Party of Australia. I wholeheartedly endorse the right of branches to select their local candidates first and foremost,” he said.
“My support of Mr Barilaro has been long standing and I respect his position as Deputy Premier and New South Wales Nationals Leader.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is backing Mr Constance for the byelection, declined to buy into the Nationals dispute. He said he played no role in pressuring Mr Barilaro not to run.
‘We’ve got broken people’
Mr Barilaro’s withdrawal from the contest was also influenced by internal polling which, sources say, showed Mr Constance had a better chance of success.
Mr Constance said he had reconsidered plans to quit politics once the region’s bushfire recovery was in hand, saying it would be turning his back on the local community.
“There are too many people hurt by this. We’ve got broken people,” he said during an announcement in Narooma.
“Ultimately, people just want someone who can give it a go, be honest, and I think I can bring something special given that statewide experience.
“I think I’m the best person to be able to lead our community out of these incredibly troubling times.”
He said he had “a very real passion” for the electorate and the region, as a fifth-generation local.
Prime Minister’s ‘stellar job’
After criticising Mr Morrison over his handling of the summer bushfire crisis, Mr Constance praised the Prime Minister for a “stellar job” managing the COVID-19 pandemic and establishing a national cabinet.
“He is working and bringing the country together, he’s working with Labor people, he’s working with Labor premiers.
“I think being disillusioned with politics is a healthy thing for someone in my shoes. I’ve admitted that the political approach I took before the fires was terrible, it was scripted.
“I think what everybody in this country is really looking for is change.
“They expect to be able to connect with their politicians, expecting politicians to reflect their emotions. I’ve seen in recent days people questioning my emotional fragility … and I would say to them that’s a positive, being open and connected and reflecting how people are thinking.”
Like Mr Constance, Labor candidate Kristy McBain, the mayor of Bega Valley Shire, distinguished herself among the local community during the fires.
Both are very popular along the south coast and Mr Constance indicated he would fight a clean campaign .
“Kristy McBain, she has been a good mayor, someone everyone likes, and she has put her hand up as Labor candidate,” he said.