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George Christensen may quit Coalition over sugar fight

George Christensen is threatening to "go rogue" over sugar cane deal
George Christensen is threatening to "go rogue" over sugar cane deal Contributed

GEORGE Christensen claims he has written a resignation letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as he attempts to force the government to stand up for Central Queensland canegrowers.

News Corp Australia is reporting the dispatch is two-and-a-half pages long and focuses on how foreign firm Wilmar is treating sugar cane growers.

The letter is understood to demand Mr Turnbull deliver a compulsory code of conduct for the sugar industry by the start of march, or it would lose his guaranteed support for government.

Such a plan was recommended under a task force set up by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, but was never put in place.

Mr Christensen is also understood to have told Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce of his intentions, while asking permission to still attend Nationals partyroom meetings.

"This issue is the most important one to confront me in my six years in politics and that's why I'm committed to doing whatever it takes to get an outcome," he told News Corp.

"If it takes ruffling a few feathers here, crossing the floor or going rogue to get an outcome, then you just have to do it."

Mr Christensen has been outspoken on the issue, even telling Wilmar in a speech last year that he would take on the Singaporean firm if it kept trying "to turn cane growers into peasants".

Due to the government's razor thin majority in the House of Representatives, any defection from the Coalition -- particularly when the MP has a safe seat -- means the Prime Minister has more to lose than Mr Christensen.

His Coalition colleagues though have denied Mr Christensen is considering leaving the party, despite the Dawson MP explicitly saying that defection was on his mind.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told Sky News: "He has made very clear that he is remaining in the Coalition".

"He is standing up for his electorate, he is advocating for his constituents, I mean that's his job, but we are a strong and united Liberal-National Party Coalition and George Christensen is a valued member of that team."

Liberal Minister Christopher Pyne also dismissed Mr Christensen's threat to go rogue.

"I can tell you that George Christensen is not going anywhere," he told Nine.

News Corp Australia

Topics:  editors picks george christensen sugar wilmar



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