News

McKenzie says her job is safe

By Geoff Adams

Deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie has declared her job is safe despite a messy fortnight of infighting casting doubt over her future.

The agriculture minister came under pressure last week with rumblings of a spill against her which never eventuated.

"Yes I am safe. We're just getting on with the job of delivering for Australian farmers and growing our agriculture industry," she told ABC Radio's Country Hour on Monday.Cabinet colleague Matt Canavan also threw his support behind Nationals leader Michael McCormack and Senator McKenzie."We've got a great team.

We've got a great leader in Michael and (deputy in) Bridget," the Queenslander told Sky News.Nationals MP and former leader Barnaby Joyce was less effusive when asked about the performance of Mr McCormack.

"He has to do the best job he can. He works within the confines of government with the prime minister," Mr Joyce told Seven's Sunrise on Monday.But Senator Canavan downplayed suggestions of disunity."I didn't see Barnaby's interview, but often the way these questions get asked they're all trying to place out a trap for people. We've just got to get on with the job," he said.

Mr Joyce was repeatedly asked if there was anger among elected or rank-and-file Nationals MP about the leadership."It's not my leadership, but the main thing that people understand is the pressure," he said"We are reflecting the pressures that are coming on us from the dairy industry, from the drought, from the bushfires."Pressed on whether he supported Mr McCormack, Mr Joyce said: "We are making sure we drive the agenda. Yes, because we just want to focus on the people."Senator Canavan said pressure from the backbench over a major cash injection for drought-affected communities was healthy."Our members come down to Canberra and they kick up, as they should. That's the food chain in politics," he said.

"I'm in a leadership position in cabinet and I've got no problems with my members and colleagues having a crack at me when they need to support their constituents."He said direct feedback from voters in Nationals seats had driven the agitation over the past two weeks."We're not there to play tiddlywinks. It's a serious game," Senator Canavan said.