Federal member Andrew Gee will start on back bench

Oberon's federal member Andrew Gee.
Oberon's federal member Andrew Gee.

OBERON’s new federal member Andrew Gee will be able to ease into life in Canberra from the back bench after being overlooked in Malcolm Turnbull’s new Coalition cabinet on Monday.

Mr Turnbull said his ministers had been chosen on merit but newcomer Mr Gee, the Member for Calare, was never expected to feature in discussions.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has also been left on the back bench.

Mr Turnbull said budget repair would be “front of mind” for the parliament.

Mr Gee retained the seat of Calare for the Nationals with ease, but was punished in Oberon in a result seen as an indication of the depth of feeling in the town about the NSW Coalition’s program of forced council mergers.

The Nationals suffered a 23 per cent swing against them on first preferences in the Oberon booth and a 27pc swing against them in the Burraga booth.

The Nationals have held the seat of Calare since 2007.

Mr Gee, the former state Member for Orange, was preselected to run for the seat after John Cobb announced his retirement.

The Nationals were warned in the lead-up to the federal election that they had lost support in Oberon.