The Nationals have a new leader and Australia a new Deputy Prime Minister in the form of Veterans’ Affairs Minister and NSW MP Michael McCormack.
Mr McCormack was elected unopposed as Nationals leader at a party room meeting in Canberra early this morning, after our local MP for Maranoa David Littleproud – who had been tipped to run for the leadership – announced last night he would not be in the race.
Mr Littleproud was appointed Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources before Christmas in a cabinet re-shuffle.
Mr McCormack replaces Barnaby Joyce who will move to the backbench in the wake of his relationship with former staffer Vikki Campion being revealed a fortnight ago.
In a statement he released last Friday Mr Littleproud – a close ally of Mr Joyce – described him as “the best Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister in living memory”.
“Mr Joyce led The Nationals into the 2016 election campaign, when the party took all before it, holding all its seats against the swing and gaining the extra seat of Murray,” Mr Littleproud said.
“He has been one of the great communicators of our time.
“He fought for the people who live on dirt roads, the people in the brick and tile houses and for better opportunities for all.
“Mr Joyce has always been a powerful advocate for rural, regional and remote Australia and will continue to be.”