Federal Nationals candidate for Richmond Matthew Fraser.
Federal Nationals candidate for Richmond Matthew Fraser. John Gass

Matthew Fraser approaches Greens over preference deal

THE Nationals have asked the Greens to switch preferences in Richmond in an attempt to claw back the Northern NSW seat from Labor at the Federal election.

Greens candidate and acting mayor of Byron Shire Council Michael Lyon said he had been approached by third-time Nationals candidate Matthew Fraser.

Mr Lyon said his opponent asked the Greens in Richmond to direct preferences to the Nationals, rather than Labor.

The bold move did not pay off.

"When the Nationals candidate calls me wanting to swap preferences it makes you wonder what planet he's living on," Mr Lyon said. "I was very diplomatic at the time. I said I would take it to our committee.

"We have processes, it's not up to me.

"I took it to the campaign committee and they shared my view that it's not going to happen."

Mr Lyon said he was not surprised his fellow Greens knocked back the request.

He said the move signalled the major parties were taking the Greens very seriously in Richmond.

In response, Mr Fraser said: "senior Party officials of the Greens have been in discussions with me and advised to contact the Greens Federal candidate direct".

"It was made clear to me that the Greens are livid about the dirty and dishonest tactics Labor dished out to them at the recent NSW State Election and the disappointment with lazy Labor Federal Member Justine Elliot, who is joked about as a 'pretend Green' with no substance," he said.

Mr Lyon said Greens policies were influencing Labor across the country.

He said Labor has been "moving to the left" and "not necessarily because they want to" but because "they know our policies are gaining traction".

Mrs Elliot said Mr Fraser "doesn't deserve the votes or indeed the preferences from any locals" at the booths and repeated her calls for Mr Fraser to stand down from candidacy.