Independent senator Nick Xenophon has announced he will launch a new national political party with candidates in all states and territories at the next federal election.
The party will be called NXT – Nick Xenophon Team.
Senator Xenophon was elected to the Senate in 2007 and has a strong voter base in South Australia where he secured almost 25 per cent of the Upper House votes in the 2013 federal election.
Prior to that he was elected in South Australia on a No Pokies ticket in 1997.
Senator Xenophon said the move was motivated by the electorate’s lack of trust in politics and voter disillusionment.
“More and more Australians are incredibly disillusioned,” he said.
“I think there needs to be an alternative voice from the sensible centre of politics. We’re not getting that at the moment.
“We’re getting political gridlock, we’re getting a very toxic nature of partisan politics.
“I just want to be an alternative voice, being able to put up candidates in other states and let the people decide.”
However Senator Xenophon would not name any of his potential running mates at this stage.
“We’re going to have a process,” he said.
“There will be an opportunity for people to come forward to be vetted, to see what they can offer and to give support to them.”
If there is a strong candidate in the Lower House, in a marginal seat, that will keep the major parties on their toes.Senator Nick Xenophon
He said it was possible he would look to run candidates in both houses of parliament.
“If there is a strong candidate in the Lower House, in a marginal seat, that will keep the major parties on their toes,” he said.
“There are issues the major parties won’t touch, or don’t touch.
“There is a disconnect between the major parties and issues such as poker machines which is a core issue of mine, but also on the impact of free trade agreements on jobs where I think there’s been a very cosy bipartisan consensus for too long.”
In 2006 he managed to help elect Ann Bressington, a second No Pokies candidate, when he received more than 20 per cent of the total vote in South Australia’s Legislative Council.