Nationals may split from Liberals
THE Nationals have discussed quitting the Coalition amid growing frustration with the Liberal Party and the opposition's poor performance in opinion polls.
Senior Liberals have told The Australian they fear that the numbers in the Nationals' partyroom are tight on the issue and that lower house members are set to openly defy the Liberals on policies and political tactics.
Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce, whose Senate team is unafraid to buck the Liberals, last night confirmed a recent Nationals meeting discussed ending the Coalition agreement.
But Senator Joyce played down the possibility of a split, saying some Nationals were "kite-flying" and that no vote had been taken. "I don't think it will happen," he said. "Some of the most peculiar things get floated at party meetings. But it doesn't mean they will happen."
The discord follows months of poor polling results and tension between the Coalition partners on key policy issues, including climate change and carbon emissions trading.
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