It’s back to the future for the National Party as Barnaby Joyce’s second (and successful) leadership spill in 15 months resulted in the former leader regaining his position as head of the party last week over Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack. He was sworn in as Deputy PM with David Little-proud retaining his place as deputy leader of the Nationals.
The spill comes after members of the junior coalition partner began to panic that they may lose seats at the next federal election. McCormack, is one of parliament’s hardest working and well-respected members, and had vowed to fight for his position but soon it had become obvious Joyce had the numbers.
Joyce, the Member for New England has a big role to fill. His party is fractured and voters still remember why he was consigned to the back bench three years ago. How he unites the party is anyone’s guess. McCormack meanwhile was gracious in defeat.
“Thank you to the people of the Riverina and Central West who have sent me to Canberra on four occasions to represent them and their interests in the Australian Parliament,” the statement read.
“The residents of the electorate – as al-ways – will remain my focus as I look to the future as the Member for Riverina. I am proud of what I have achieved for regional Australians and the Riverina and Central West as the Member for Riverina, Deputy Prime Minister and The Nationals’ Leader.”
What this latest move does to public perception remains to be seen – you can bet though, that voters are not as forgetful as the party room appears to be.