February 3, 2020
The National Party will hold a party meeting in Canberra on Tuesday (February 4) to elect a new Deputy Leader following the resignation of Senator Bridget McKenzie at the weekend.
Senator McKenzie quit as Agriculture Minister and the Nationals deputy leader on Sunday in the wake of the sports grants controversy.
A report by the Auditor-General found grants had targeted marginal seats ahead of the last Federal Election, but an investigation instigated by the Prime Minister ruled that Senator McKenzie had followed the rules while administering the program.
However, the investigation by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet also found Senator McKenzie had breached ministerial standards by failing to disclose her membership of a clay target club which received a grant of almost $36,000.
Former National Party Leader Barnaby Joyce told ABC RN on Monday morning that if a spill of all positions occurred at Tuesday’s meeting, he would stand for the top job.
But a spill was ruled out by Nationals leader Michael McCormack who said he retained the support of his colleagues.
UPDATE 4:30pm: Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien plans to move a motion to spill the leadership. “I’ve spoken to Michael (McCormack) and informed him I will be moving a motion tomorrow,” Mr O’Brien told The Australian newspaper.