Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie has been elected Deputy Leader of The Nationals, replacing NSW’s Fiona Nash who lost her Senate position after being caught up in the dual citizenship saga.
The vote, at a meeting of National Party MPs in Canberra on Thursday morning, catapaults the backbencher straight into Cabinet.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce – himself a victim of Section 44(i) of the Constitution – said he was looking forward to working with Senator McKenzie.
“Bridget McKenzie is incredibly competent in her capacity to represent regional Australia. She is a former school teacher, a keen shooter, a mentor to women and a reflection of so many regional Australians,” he said.
“Senator McKenzie has an incredible track record delivering outcomes for regional communities, particularly in the areas of rural education and health.
“With the election of Bridget McKenzie as my deputy, The National Party has once again shown its vision for renewal, with a dynamic team to lead it.”
Senator McKenzie, who was once infamously described as a “flash bit of kit” by Mr Joyce, said she was honoured to have been elected Deputy Leader of the National Party.
“I am proud to be a country Victorian, and as Deputy Leader of the Nationals I will do everything in my power to ensure that geography no longer determines the opportunities for the seven million Australians who live outside our capital cities,” she said.