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Backpacker tax 'not cause of Orange swing'

AAP logoAAP 12/11/2016

Turnbull government frontbencher Steven Ciobo says there is no doubt the swing away from the Nationals in the by-election in the NSW seat of Orange was down to Premier Mike Baird's handling of the greyhound industry and council amalgamations.

Asked on ABC television whether the federal government's handling of the controversial backpackers tax contributed to Saturday's vote, Mr Ciobo replied: "At the NSW level, no, I think this is a bigger issue than that."

"I think it is the issue of what specifically happened in relation to greyhounds, council amalgamations and those types of issues," Mr Ciobo said.

Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten said the Nationals and Mr Baird are just as out of touch as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

"When you're out of touch you pay the electoral price," Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.

He said it's the same National Party who never supports increasing the minimum wage and does nothing about buying Australian or defending Australian manufacturing.

"I'm not surprised by the result at all. And the message here is for (federal Nationals leader) Barnaby Joyce - as long as you're the country branch office of Malcolm Turnbull's harbourside Liberals, you are going to pay a price," he said.

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