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Xenophon refutes claim of courting farright

first_imgSenator Nick Xenophon has called assertions that NXT party candidates are seeking support from extreme-right voters as “laughable”, and that as the election draws nearer the Liberals are bent on using slurs and “cowardly” personal attacks in an effort to undermine his party.This week Nick Xenophon Team candidate Rebekha Sharkie was accused by The Australian newspaper of being “aligned” to an organisation that in the past allegedly promoted the views of One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, an accusation jumped on by SA Liberal senator Simon Birmingham.Ms Sharkie, a former Liberal staffer who will run for the Adelaide Hills seat of Mayo, said she was “gutted” that The Australian should suggest she was courting the extreme-right vote after giving a speech at a Food Producers Land Owners Action Group (FLAG) event in South Australia – an event largely attended by local farmers.“I completely refute this ‘courting’ statement. It is offensive and untrue and likely sourced back to the Liberal Party. They are running scared, but I refuse to join them in their race to the gutter,” said Ms Sharkie.“Mayo deserves better and I am not going to be discouraged or afraid of putting myself forward as an inclusive, engaged and compassionate alternative for the Mayo community.”The Nick Xenophon Team will field candidates in the Senate and House of Representatives across the country, but in South Australia – Xenophon’s power-base – the Liberal Party is acutely aware of the potential backlash against the government over auto closures and unemployment.The Australian article prompted Senator Birmingham to issue a press release describing NXT as a “cult” party whose candidates’ philosophies could be far removed from the party’s founder Nick Xenophon.“It is dealings like this that are part of the reason that ‘personality cult parties’, built around a single individual rather than a shared philosophy, usually end up divided and dysfunctional,” said the senator.“Mr Xenophon has failed before in trying to spread his brand to others for exactly these reasons – you are not voting for Nick, you’re voting for an unknown.”Speaking exclusively to Neos Kosmos, Nick Xenophon said the senator’s statements were “laughable” and a “cowardly personal attack”.“Senator Birmingham’s claims are totally false and an attempt to distract from the real issues at stake, those being jobs, health and education.“I’d be very happy to debate these issues in public with Senator Birmingham so his claims can be exposed for the nonsense they are.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more