It's On: Nationals Leadership Spill, Barnaby Joyce To Stand For Deputy PM
Barnaby Joyce will challenge for the Nationals leadership tomorrow, with a fellow MP saying he would call for a party room spill and vote.
By Tuesday afternoon, Barnaby Joyce could be deputy Prime Minister again -- just a month after saying he was "sick of the government being in my life."
Joyce will stand in a Nationals party room leadership ballot on Tuesday.
"You can’t just sit back and say you wish things were better. I have respect for Mr McCormack, I think he does a good job," Joyce said of current leader Michael McCormack, on Sky News on Monday evening.
"I think the National Party has to be on the balls of its toes as we face some of the most challenging times."
Nationals MPs will meet in Canberra on Tuesday to vote for a new deputy leader after Bridget McKenzie resigned over the sports rorts scandal.
But the upheaval has spiralled into full-blown turmoil, as members of the rural party plan to throw open the leadership -- and deputy PM -- position too.
The leader of the Nationals is automatically installed as deputy PM under a Coalition government.
Joyce, who quit as Nationals leader and deputy PM in 2018 over his own scandal involving an affair with a former staffer, said on Monday morning he would stand for the leadership in the event the position became vacant.
By the afternoon, Michael McCormack's position was directly under threat, with Nationals MP Llew O'Brien telling multiple media outlets he would call for a spill and vote for Joyce,
Under party rules, any member can call for a leadership spill, but must have a second member back the motion. O'Brien, and Joyce, both said there would be a seconder.
Resources minister and Nationals senator Matt Canavan announced on Monday night he had resigned from that position, and would support Joyce in a leadership vote -- giving Joyce three declared votes.
Joyce would need 11 votes from the 21 members of the Nationals partyroom to seize the leadership.
On Christmas Eve 2019, Joyce posted a video to his social media channels saying "I just don’t want the government any more in my life, I am sick of the government being in my life."
Nationals colleague Damian Drum said on ABC TV on Monday afternoon that "Barnaby would realise he doesn't have the numbers" to win a leadership ballot.
However, just hours later, Joyce told Sky News he had phoned McCormack to advise he would stand against him on Tuesday morning.
"We have to speak with our own voice and we have to drive agendas because it is going to be an incredibly tough game for people in regional areas," Joyce said on Monday night of his reasons for challenging.
"We’ve got to make sure that we are not a shadow of another party, that we speak with our own voice.”
It will be only one of two leadership votes to occur on Tuesday in federal parliament, with the Greens also to decide on a new leader after Richard Di Natale's sudden and unexpected resignation on Monday.