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Barnaby Joyce may take on Tony Windsor at next poll

COLOURFUL Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce has been approached by colleagues to run against key independent Tony Windsor at the next federal election - an offer he'd be "foolish" not to take, he says.

The Queensland senator has told the Nine Network that he would consider taking on Mr Windsor in his central NSW seat of new England and moving to the lower house, after being sounded out by key coalition political figures.

"Of course I would consider it - I'd be foolish not to," the Tamworth-born, Queensland-based, opposition spokesman for regional development told Nine.

Mr Windsor holds New England by a healthy margin of 21.5 per cent, but with a voter backlash expected after his 2010 political deal with Prime Minister Julia Gillard to help Labor form a minority government, the seat may be in reach of the Nationals.

Senator Joyce said his pre-selection for New England wasn't locked in.

"The only decision I can make is whether I'd be open to going there and I said I would be.

"It's like going to Kate and Will's wedding - you wait for the invite, you don't just decide to turn up."

The Nationals senator denied mounting a personal campaign against Mr Windsor.

"It's not the case of taking on a certain person," he said.

"It's not about a personality issue, it's about trying to deliver the best policies, the best outcomes and give the best representation."

The plans to parachute Senator Joyce into the lower house seat come after a Neilsen poll published on Monday showed the coalition had opened a 56 to 44-point lead against Labor.

Mr Joyce, 44, was first elected as a Nationals candidate to the Senate in 2004.

He is an accountant based in St George in southwest Queensland.

If he won the seat of New England he could be expected to challenge Warren Truss for the leadership of the Nationals.

A senior Nationals source told AAP on Monday that NSW party members were keen to see Senator Joyce take on Mr Windsor, although Queenslander Nationals "would be loathe to see him leave the state".

The Liberal National Party in Queensland would hold a pre-selection to fill the Senate casual vacancy if Senator Joyce was to vacate his seat, but it would be expected someone with Nationals ties, rather than from Liberal background, would fill the vacancy, the source said.

The source said Senator Joyce and Mr Truss had a "good relationship" and there was no tension between the pair.

"Warren Truss will leave on his own terms, but I think it's the next chapter in succession planning," the source said.

"There's a growing view that this idea of Barnaby Joyce moving to the lower house is a good one."

If Senator Joyce was to miss out on preselection for New England he could seek preselection for a Queensland seat.

Under the LNP's rules, all seats - even if they are held by sitting members - can be contested.

Comment is being sought from Mr Windsor.

Barnaby Joyce may take on Tony Windsor at next poll | Courier Mail