Campaign to save Colbeck

A well-backedcampaign to helpendangered Tourism Minister RichardColbeck survive the federal election is starting.

The Vote 1 Colbeck campaign will be spearheaded by prominent farming figure Richard Bovill and backed by like-minded Tasmanians, including some Mr Bovill described as some “very influential people who are terribly concerned about losing a very powerful voice for Tasmania”.

FARM FIGHT: Farmer Richard Bovill and Senator Richard Colbeck during the Fair Dinkum Food campaign in 2005. Mr Bovill is now leading a campaign to get Senator Colbeck re-elected.

“We want capable people there who are focused on giving us the things we need, not just talking about it,” Mr Bovill said.

“Avote for Richard Colbeck is ahigh-value vote; you’re going to get abloody good return on your investment.”

The campaignwill urge voters to give Senator Colbeck their number one votebelow the line.

Liberal preselectors sprung a major surprise earlier this year when they selected Devonport-based Senator Colbeck ina potentially losing fifth spot on the Senate ticket for the double dissolution election, despite him being Tasmania’s only federal minister.

​The party’s state executive in May rejected a call from a Braddon electorate meeting to push Senator Colbeck up the ticket.

“He’s going to be dependent on getting votes from disillusioned people and a strong Liberal vote above the line as well,” Mr Bovill said.

Mr Bovill said he had worked with Senator Colbeck on three farming-related campaigns, including the Fair Dinkum Food campaign, which gained national prominence in 2005.

Mr Bovill said Senator Colbeck had done excellent work behind the scenes in those campaigns and had done much to deliver outcomes.

“Richard Colbeckhad the contacts and the experience because he’d been there for long enough,” he said.

“There wereplenty of other politicianswho jumped into tractors.

“Richard Colbeckactually sat back in his office and did the work that needed to be done.”

Mr Bovillalso credited Senator Colbeck with instigating the federal funding which led to major irrigation expansion in Tasmania.

Mr Bovill said people wanted politicians, like Senator Colbeck, who got outcomes forcommunities.

”There’s too many in both major parties now, too many functionaries going into these parties, and you’vegot to ask yourself, are they there to represent the party, or there to represent the people?” he said.

The Vote 1 Colbeck campaign will include advertising, and a website and Facebook page were expected to go live on Friday.

The Liberal ticket is led by veteran ex-minister Eric Abetz, with Senate President Stephen Parry at two.

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