Former independent MP Tony Windsor has confirmed he will run against Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce in the seat of New England at the next federal election.
Mr Windsor announced he would contest as an independent at a press conference on Thursday morning.
Outlining his reasons for returning to politics, Mr Windsor said right wing conservatives such as Mr Joyce, Tony Abbott and Eric Abetz were acting as “handbrakes” on political progress in Australia.
Mr Windsor clarified that he did not see prime minister Malcolm Turnbull as another “handbrake”.
“You all know who they are,” he told media.
The former NSW MP retired before the last election under growing pressure for his support of Julia Gillard.
Following the announcement, Peter Dutton said New England voters would “see through” Mr Windsor’s return, saying it was a grab for media attention.
“He’s a self-funded retiree whose got millions of dollars out of the sale of his farm to a mining company and now pretends to be the champion of farmers,” Mr Dutton told Radio 2GB on Thursday.
Mr Windsor told Lateline on Wednesday he was concerned about his grandchildren’s future and the future of the New South Wales electorate that he had previously held for 12 years.
“I care about that. And that’s the question I have to answer: Do you care enough to really get into this, and I think I do,” he said.
“I have this saying that the world is run by those who turn up, so if you’re concerned about the world you live in, should you try and do something about it?”