Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Robert Borsak said member for Murray Adrian Piccoli should “stop hiding under a table” after a Nationals spokesperson said Mr Borsak’s only achievement was “shooting and eating an elephant”.
Mr Piccoli has been unavailable for comment even since news broke on Tuesday he has told colleagues of his intention to stand down from NSW Parliament.
Mr Borsak said, “if these rumours… about his impending resignation to take up a cushy job in Sydney are false, then he should come out now and emphatically deny them”.
Mr Borsak said his party would run a candidate in a Murray by-election and criticised Mr Piccoli in an interview with The Area News.
Mr Borsak said Mr Piccoli spends all his time in Sydney, did nothing for the bush as Education Minister, and may be timing his departure to maximise his pension.
A National Party spokesman responded to Mr Borsak’s comments:
“Unlike Mr Borsak, who comes from Sydney and lives in Sydney, Adrian Piccoli was born and bred in Griffith and still lives here with his family.
“No NSW Education Minister has done more for country schools.”
“Adrian was the driving force in securing Gonski funding for NSW, which overwhelmingly favours disadvantaged country schools in towns like Griffith and Leeton, and has left schools in this electorate alone better off to the tune of $10 million every year. On his retirement he was widely praised across the education sector for his work in this regard.”
“In contrast, Mr Borsak’s most notable achievement seems to have been shooting and eating an elephant on a game safari in Africa.”
The spokesperson did not comment on the rumours around Mr Piccoli’s resignation.
Mr Borsak said in reply, “rather than hiding behind unnamed National Party spokesmen, Adrian Piccoli needs to be honest with the people who voted for him for a full Parliamentary term.”
“This is typical of the National Party – when they are called them out on hypocrisy, they resort to weak attempts of smear.
“Adrian Piccoli: pick up the phone and tell your electorate what you are doing. Stop hiding under the table, Adrian.”
The NSW Government will be facing three by-elections this year if reports of Mr Piccoli’s resignation are confirmed.
Mr Borsak said the “absolutely disgraceful” Griffith hospital cuts would be a big by-election issue.