Well now. About time Canberra finally cracked and caved in on itself. After teasing turmoil for god knows how long, it appears the gears of political war are finally turning, with Barnaby Joyce, leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, reportedly set to face a leadership challenge from his own party as early as Monday.
Fellow Nationals MP Andrew Broad has sensationally and publicly called for Joyce’s resignation from the party’s top job in a wild appearance on ABC Radio earlier this afternoon.
Early this morning Broad had cryptically hinted at a big day to come with an extremely vague but thinly veiled post on Twitter aimed at the embattled Joyce.
Broad, the member for Mallee, made his thoughts abundantly clear later on, telling ABC Radio that “It is time he takes a step back,” asserting that Joyce should resign and “spend some time on the back bench.”
Broad also confirmed he has a resolution from his Nationals branch calling on Joyce to resign, and that he intends to push the motion in a Nationals party room meeting in Canberra on Monday.
Despite this, Broad distanced himself from any direct leadership challenge, stating that he has no personal interest in the job.
The Nationals are in disarray following a string of major media interviews Joyce has granted this week, on what was supposed to be an imposed week off to deal with the fallout of his scandals regarding his affair with former staffer Vikki Campion and the associated charges of taxpayer fund misappropriation.
A leadership challenge to Joyce has severe ramifications for the on-going stability of the already embattled Turnbull Government, and comes at a time where the Prime Minister is out of the country visiting Washington DC.
Senior ministers of the Coalition refused to issue comment on Broad’s planned motion.
Joyce himself has been attempting to downplay his latest bout with scandal, lashing out at the Prime Minister – at one point calling him “inept” – and asserting that his affair, and now pregnancy, with Campion is “between me and my God,” has turned into a “morality discussion,” and is worried that their unborn child will now be viewed as “somehow less worthy than other children,” which is all a bit bloody rich coming from someone who voted extremely in favour of the same-sex marriage plebiscite and then abstained from the subsequent vote.
But, y’know. That’s obviously neither here nor there.