26 Feb 2018

New Australian deputy PM named

11:20 am on 26 February 2018

Australia has a new deputy Prime Minister this morning, with Michael McCormack replacing Barnaby Joyce as leader of the National party.

Australian MP and new deputy PM Michael McCormack.

Australian MP and new deputy PM Michael McCormack. Photo: Twitter / @M_McCormackMP

The Nationals chose Mr McCormack as their new leader, after Mr Joyce formally today.

George Christensen also stood for leader but was defeated by Mr McCormack.

Mr Joyce will now be a backbencher and Mr McCormack will be promoted to Cabinet.

After winning the leadership, Mr McCormack said huge trust, faith and responsibility had been placed in him.

"I will honour that faith and trust and responsibility by doing my best always. I am a team player and I am going to be doing it with the very best team in rural and regional Australia," Mr McCormack said.

The new leader has a much lower profile than Mr Joyce.

His colleague John 'Wacka' Williams said he was sure that "as time goes on Michael McCormack will get very well known".

"As time goes on he will build his profile," Senator Williams said.

Mr Christensen's surprise bid for leadership meant the Nationals faced a vote when they wanted it to be a smooth handover with only one candidate.

Barnaby Joyce addresses media ahead of his personal leave.

Barnaby Joyce stepped down after admitting an affair with his former media advisor and a formal complaint of sexual harrassment Photo: Screengrab from Ten News

Children and Families Minister David Gillespie also made a run for the job, but ended his candidacy yesterday conceding he did not have the numbers.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud was considering a leadership bid but did not nominate.

Mr McCormack is expected to push for the Small Business portfolio to be included in Cabinet as part of the new Coalition agreement he will negotiate with Malcolm Turnbull.

The Labor party is demanding that agreement be made public.


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