By Jeremy Sollars
BREAKING: Maranoa MP David Littleproud has been named Federal Agriculture and Water Minister after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today announced a re-shuffle of his Cabinet.
Mr Littleproud has only been in federal parliament for around 17 months and his promotion follows the dumping from Cabinet of former Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester.
It is understood Mr Chester’s removal from Cabinet is payback from recently re-installed Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, after Mr Chester refused to support Mr Joyce’s pick for the Nationals’ deputy leader, Senator Matt Canavan.
Queensland Nationals MPs had also reportedly demanded a second Queenslander in Cabinet, with four Nationals MPs from Victoria in parliament and eight Nationals-aligned MPs in the Queensland LNP.
Mr Joyce is also understood to have pushed strongly for greater representation for northern Australia in Cabinet and he and Mr Littleproud are understood to be close political colleagues and personal friends.
Mr Littleproud recently announced he and other Queensland LNP MPs would campaign at future elections as ‘Nationals’, to emphasise their commitment to representing regional and rural Australia.
Mr Littleproud was one of only four MPs who voted against same sex marriage earlier this month.
Meanwhile rumours that former Southern Downs State MP Lawrence Springborg could move to Canberra are likely to be re-ignited following the departure from the Senate of Queensland LNP Senator George Brandis, who will depart for London to become the next UK High Commissioner.
It has long been speculated that the Queensland LNP would push for Mr Springborg to enter the Senate if Mr Brandis departed, but Mr Springborg recently told the Free Times that the idea of entering federal politics held no appeal for him at this time.