News

Leadership unchanged

By Country News

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has been confirmed as the Nationals’ leader after the Coalition’s federal election victory.

At a party room meeting in Canberra on May 23, Mr McCormack and his deputy Bridget McKenzie were unanimously re-elected.

The government’s upset win on May 18 erased any lingering leadership tensions, with Barnaby Joyce’s hopes of returning in tatters.

The Nationals maintained 16 seats in the lower house and are on track to have five senators, with Tasmanian Steve Martin likely to lose his seat.

‘‘When all the polls, when all the pundits, when so many in the media and the trolls, and all the lefties, and all those on Twitter said we would never do it, well, we proved them wrong,’’ Mr McCormack said.

Nationals’ federal director Larry Anthony wants Ms McKenzie to get a promotion, noting trade is a portfolio the party has held in the past.

‘‘She needs a serious portfolio because she’s a great communicator and she’s a key person in the next government.’’

Mr Joyce has ruled out a tilt at the leadership despite raising the prospect before the election, which was widely expected to be lost by the coalition.

‘‘That’s not going to happen because they’ve just won the election,’’ Mr Joyce said.

The Nationals will have a record number of women in their parliamentary team, tripling female representation to six.