Here we go again: Barnaby Joyce is once again the leader of the Nationals party and therefore Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.
Joyce reportedly won the party room ballot to oust Michael McCormack from the top spot, after days of speculation the Nationals party was beset by yet another leadership crisis.
He resigned as party leader in February 2018 after his personal life made the front pages for multiple reasons: first for leaving his wife for his pregnant mistress (former staffer Vikki Campion), and second for a sexual harassment complaint, which Joyce denied and which an investigation produced no conclusion.
McCormack has been beset by leadership rumblings for yonks – quite extraordinary, considering the party room consists of just 21 people. In fact, Barnaby had a tilt at the leadership in February last year, but was unsuccessful.
Michelle Laundry, a Nationals MP who backed the (now) former leader McCormack, said before the spill she’d had a “gutful” of the ongoing leadership chat.
“People don’t want to hear us talking about ourselves and having leadership challenges,” she said.
Too right, tbh.
Then there’s this take from former Labor MP Kate Ellis:
At a time when Australian women have been expressing unprecedented levels of disillusionment and loss of faith in our parliament and political system the Government responds by…making Barnaby Joyce our Deputy Prime Minister. Honestly ????♀️— Kate Ellis (@KateEllis22) June 21, 2021
Anyway. Joyce is back. On the plus side, he’s a strong supporter of bringing the Biloela family home, so he’s new position of greater influence could have some positives there. On the other hand, he was accused of sexual harassment, which an eight-month investigation – believed to be held internally – was unable to make a determination on due to “insufficient evidence”.