Nationals: Taking Capricornia and Page was our true triumph
VICTORIES in the long Labor-held electorates of Capricornia and Page were touted as the biggest triumphs of the Nationals largest federal election win in 30 years.
The September 7 poll that saw Warren Truss installed as Deputy Prime Minister also gave the junior Coalition party a total of 21 seats across both houses of parliament.
It was the biggest victory for the party since 1984, and has given the party more power within the Coalition than it had under the Howard Government.
In his election speech to the National Press Club today, Nationals federal director Scott Mitchell said the victory was due to the "most united campaign" in Coalition history.
But he said, despite massive wins which saw the party gain more than 58% of the two-party preferred vote in most of the 24 seats it targeted, it was the transfer of two crucial seats which sealed the party's success.
Labor's loss of the two seats - central Queensland's Capricornia and New South Wales' north coast Page - were, in Mr Mitchell's words, the "real triumph" of the campaign.
While the victories of Barnaby Joyce and David Gillespie in New England and Lyne got the headlines, Mr Mitchell said it was the grassroots campaigns in Page and Capricornia that clinched it.
He said between the national campaign initiatives and hard work by locals Michelle Landry and Kevin Hogan, the party had won two seats that came down to the wire.
"Those were the seats that were really very tight until right at the end," he said.
"It was not until the last moment we were able to convince voters in those electorates we were a better alternative, not just to Labor, but also to (Clive) Palmer or (Bob) Katter".
While Mr Mitchell acknowledged some success may be down to a protest vote, he said he believed it showed that regional Australians believed the Nationals were a viable alternative, unlike Mr Katter's party.