Abbott is lying about SPC: Liberal MP
In an interview with ABC rural radio, federal MP Sharman Stone accuses the Prime Minister of lying in saying that SPC's union pay deals are the reason they're in trouble.PT2M1S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-31y66 620 349 February 4, 2014
Outspoken Coalition MP Sharman Stone has hinted that she may not stay in the Liberal Party forever.
Dr Stone has been making headlines recently for her strong advocacy for federal government support for SPC Ardmona, which is based in her north east Victorian electorate.
Her advocacy has continued in the wake of cabinet's decision to deny funds to the fruit processing company, with Dr Stone on Tuesday even arguing that Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey had lied about the conditions of SPC workers.
On Tuesday afternoon, Dr Stone appeared equivocal when asked if she was setting herself up to run as an independent.
''No, I'm not,'' she told Fairfax Radio in Melbourne.
''If there was a balance of power situation, maybe I could do more for my electorate as an independent.''
Dr Stone said she was a ''Liberal at heart'' and said she was driven to try and save thousands of jobs associated with SPC.
When asked if she thought she would stay in the Liberal Party for the ''long-term'' she replied: ''That's to be seen how things pan out''.
''But for my electorate at the moment, better for me to still be in the tent, being able to stand toe to toe with the [Prime Minister], with those who don't understand reality in the regional economy.''
Dr Stone was the minister for workforce participation under the Howard government and was a member of the Coalition's shadow ministry until September 2010. She was overlooked for a frontbench role in the first Abbott ministry.
Dr Stone has held the ultra-safe Liberal seat of Murray since 1996. In September last year, she was easily reelected, with 70.9 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote.
Last week, Dr Stone told The Weekly Times that she was ''committed to being a member of the government''.