On Monday, I will ask my colleagues to back me for the leadership of The Nationals, so together we can work to grow local economies, increase local opportunities and create local jobs. We can do this together as a united team.

I want to acknowledge Barnaby Joyce for his leadership of The Nationals over the past two years and thank him for being a true advocate for the needs of regional areas. His legacy will endure. I wish him well for the future.

I grew up on a family farm outside Wagga Wagga, the product of working class parents who taught me the value of having a go. It is this lesson which has motivated me throughout my life and career. A career from the youngest editor of a daily newspaper at the time in Australia, to starting my own small business, to taking on the great honour of representing the people of the Riverina and Central West as their local member. I was appointed to the Ministry in 2013 and have served in various portfolios, including assisting in finance and infrastructure and regional development and, more recently, as Minister for Small Business and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel.

I am a fighter and I have the drive to deliver. When water rights were challenged in my electorate, I crossed the floor to get a better deal. When a big American company came knocking to take over GrainCorp, I stood up for our farmers and opposed it.

Regional communities are the bedrock of Australia and The Nationals reflect this with strong representation and positive outcomes on issues which affect our local communities.

That is what The Nationals do. Together we stand up for what is right and we fight to deliver for rural and regional Australia. We have been doing it for more than 90 years. Across all those decades we have put regional issues in the spotlight to ensure our constituents get a fair go and, with our party membership, we have been fighting each and every day to make this a reality.

The Nationals have delivered. We have delivered jobs. Delivered vital infrastructure. Delivered energy reform and we are lowering the cost of living. Delivered for families and workers. Delivered for small businesses and farmers. Delivered better outcomes for education, health and communications. Delivered record investment in defence and national security.

The Nationals, in Government with the Liberals, have always delivered for Australia. We have been the most successful partnership in Australian political history. We are a strong team and we know together we can achieve great outcomes for our nation.

What Australians cannot afford and do not deserve is a Bill Shorten-led Labor-Greens Government.

As I said in my inaugural speech to Parliament in 2010: “I promise not to be silent when I ought to speak.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Whilemina Prendergast 0427 672 815

Shane Manning