IN an exclusive interview with scone.com.au, Leader of the National Party, John Barilaro and National Party candidate David Layzell said the decision to buy the domain names of other candidates and post National materials on the sites was “a bit of fun”, with Mr Barilaro further defending the tactic as “we pulled their pants down.”
See previous story: Nationals go straight below the belt.
However, during the interview Mr Layzell diverged from the Party line and said, “I don’t endorse it, I understand it’s part of a campaign and these guys campaign a lot together so this is the parties against each other and this is campaigning isn’t it? But me as a person, no.”
Listen to the audio interview below.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the domain buying was simply part of “the political game,” the other parties are upset because “they were too slow off the mark”, what Nationals posted on those sites was the truth and the public deserve the truth.
“They don’t like it when it’s the rough and tumble in reverse, we aren’t a charity, this is a political party and we are in the political game and we’ll use everything to our advantage,” Mr Barilaro said.
“They were slow off the mark, I’m sorry but it’s not illegal. They were slow off the mark and if you can’t even get your campaign right, the question is are you going to be good enough to run government?” he questioned.
“It’s not the first time, it’s happened to us. It’s a bit of fun, we’ll go through a process to see how we will resolve it but at the end of the day when you say negative campaign, you jump on those websites, it’s the truth,” he said.
“If they did it to us, we’d be upset, we got them this time, we pulled their pants down,” said Mr Barilaro.
Related story: Drayton: Hits back with positive campaign.
Mr Barilaro went on to say Upper Hunter residents don’t care about the National Party creating websites under the names of other Upper Hunter candidates.
“They (Upper Hunter residents) don’t care about this. You guys (the media) will care about this, the media will care about it because it’s a story,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Do you know what they care about? The truth being told, the story being told and we have different means of doing it, that is by websites and Facebook and messaging and digital messaging,” he said.
“My tack record, our track record in this region is quite significant. We’ve got a great story to tell, but we also want to keep the other guys honest,” John Barilaro said.
Pictured below during the interview at Hunter Belle Cafe L-R: David Layzell, National candidate for Upper Hunter, Jason Chesworth from Hunter Belle Cheese, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet. PLEASE NOTE: there is an edit to the audio where Mr Barilaro talks about legal action with another media which we have omitted, but the rest is in tact.
LISTEN TO THE AUDIO: