Coalition split over Graincorp to spill over next week

DIVISIONS between The Nationals and economic dries within the Liberal Party are almost certain to spill over into a heated discussion in a joint party room meeting next week.

The disagreement centres on whether or not Treasurer Joe Hockey should approve a multi-billion takeover pitch for Australia's largest agribusiness, Graincorp.

It extends to the second-highest political office in the country, with Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss coming out strongly against the takeover last week.

His comments on ABC's Insiders last weekend also follow comments before the election that "there are some things so important to the junior partner that they have to be respected".

While Mr Truss' comments show unity within The Nationals, it is at odds with Mr Hockey, who this week said he would not be bullied by anyone in relation to his decision.

As Canberra prepares for the first sitting week of the new parliament next week, several senior Coalition sources have been preparing for a likely dispute within party meetings on Tuesday.

It is understood none of the minor Coalition party's members would back the takeover, while support for their position from rural Liberals has strengthened their case.

While Mr Hockey has been reportedly considering conditions under which the deal could go ahead, the Coalition's junior partner has declared no conditions would allow it to accept the takeover.



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