June 21, 2021
Member for New England Barnaby Joyce will become Australia’s new Deputy Prime Minister after a National Party spill vote on Monday morning elected him party leader.
Queensland Senator Matt Canavan moved the spill motion against leader Michael McCormack at a partyroom meeting.
ABC News reported the vote was close, but figures have not been released.
Mr Joyce is expected to be sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister on Tuesday.
Agriculture Minister – and Member for Maranoa – David Littleproud remains as Deputy Leader of the Nationals.
The spill had been tipped, with observers suggesting it would happen prior to the retirement at the next election of Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd and Member for Dawson George Christensen, both supporters of Mr Joyce.
Rumours of an imminent vote began swirling around on Saturday.
Mr McCormack had been acting PM while Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in the UK for the G7 summit.
Mr Morrison has resumed his position but remains in home quarantine at The Lodge after his return to Australia.
He welcomed Mr Joyce to the role and addressed Parliament in Question Time via videolink.
Mr Joyce formerly served as Deputy PM but resigned the leadership role in 2018 after his ex-marital relationship with a former staff member received widespread media publicity.
Mr McCormack narrowly fended off a challenge from Mr Joyce early last year.
At an emotional press conference on Monday afternoon, Mr McCormack said he accepted the democratic decision.
He said it was the “brutal arithmetic” of politics.
Mr McCormack wished his colleagues in the National Party and in the Coalition “all the best”, saying he was a team player and did not hold grudges.
But whether he would remain in Cabinet “was up to the new leader”.
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In a media statement released after the vote, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Liberal-National Coalition has been a successful and enduring partnership for seven decades.
“It will continue to be a strong partnership, one based on shared values and a shared passion for building an even stronger Australia,” he said.
“We have achieved so much together, especially for rural and regional Australia, and together we will achieve even more.
“I welcome Barnaby Joyce to the role of Leader of The Nationals and soon to be Deputy Prime Minister and I look forward to working closely together to ensure Australia continues its recovery from COVID-19 and the recession it caused.
“Our focus remains on two outcomes – protecting lives and protecting livelihoods, as we continue to bolster our vaccine roll out and build on the economic recovery that has led to the creation of almost one million jobs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Barnaby and I have a shared passion for ensuring our regions and rural communities thrive.
“I thank Michael McCormack for his dedicated service as Deputy Prime Minister. Michael will continue to be an invaluable member of the National Party, and a passionate advocate for regional and rural communities.
“I wish him and his wife Catherine and their children well.”