GYMPIE'S Wide Bay federal MP Warren Truss has attacked political neighbour Clive Palmer, calling the Fairfax MP a "flash in the pan" and branding his voters as irresponsible.
He said protest voters who had backed Mr Palmer were "ignoring their obligations to democracy and putting their country at risk".
But yesterday Mr Palmer hit back, branding the Nationals a party in decline that did not represent anyone.
He called on Mr Truss to do something for his electorate instead of betraying regional Australia and "selling them out to the Liberals".
"WARREN knows he has done nothing for his electorate and will probably get tipped out at the next election," Mr Palmer told The Gympie Times.
"I've been in politics for 40 years in Queensland and was once official spokesman for the National Party in this state, something he has never done.
"I've been a life member of the National and Liberal parties, something he's never attained.
"I was a member of the national conference of the Liberal Party in 2012, something he's never been a member of.
"I joined the National Party in 1969, some 29 years before he became an MP.
"I was media director for the National Party in Queensland and ran their successful campaign in 1983 and 86, when they won government in their own right.
"He knows John Bjelke-Petersen is a member of our party and he should know the Bjelke-Petersens are not flashes in the pan.
"He needs to give himself a good uppercut, wake up to himself and be honest with the people of his electorate - not just take money from pensioners.
"And he needs to do something for women who live on the land, rather than a paid parental leave scheme that just rips money to wealthy Liberal women in Sydney and Melbourne.
"The Palmer United Party got 5.6% of the vote at the last federal election and his party only got 4%.
"In the recent WA Senate poll, we got nearly 12.5% and the National Party was lucky to get 2%.
"Warren Truss is the leader of a minor party in Australia.
"He should just face facts and realise he's on the outer.
"He should be a decent Nationals leader, like John McKewen and Doug Anthony, and stop betraying the men and women on the land in the regions and selling them out to the Liberals."
Mr Truss compared Mr Palmer to Pauline Hanson, who was big in 1996 but only lasted one term, and Katter's Australian Party, which polled poorly at the last election.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.