Barnaby Joyce has been re-elected as the leader of the National Party and will return as deputy prime minister, following a leadership spill triggered on Monday that ousted Michael McCormack.
A spill motion was called by Matt Canavan, the former resources minister, with Mr Joyce securing a majority of 21 votes to reclaim the top job.
Nationals whip Damian Drum said that “nothing changes” as a result of the spill other than the change in leadership.
“He has to go through a process now to be sworn in, to have the conversations, to talk to the prime minister, and effectively get on with the job of representing our people,” he said.
Speaking to reporters outside of Parliament, McCormack said: “I’m proud to have held the position.”
“It’s absolutely humbling.”
McCormack will continue as deputy prime minister until Joyce is sworn in, and will take Scott Morrison’s chair during Monday’s Question Time while the prime minister is in quarantine.
David Littleproud, the agriculture minister, will also continue as deputy leader of the Nationals, though Mr Joyce is likely to change the Nationals’ ministry representation under a new coalition agreement to be negotiated with Mr Morrison.
Despite his loss, McCormack noted that there are “a lot of Australians out there doing it tougher today”.
When asked whether Mr Joyce’s personal life and history of sexual assault allegations would have an impact on female voters, Mr McCormack declined to comment.
“You’d have to ask women in regional Australia that,” he said.
A statement from Mr Morrison’s office welcomed Mr Joyce to the role and thanked Mr McCormack “for his dedicated service as deputy prime minister”.
When asked by reporters whether he was expecting something to happen today, Mr Joyce said that if he had he would have brought his hat.
“I’d like to say to my colleagues how humbled I am and that the task going ahead first and foremost is to make ourselves a team that is formidable for the next election,” he said.
“The most important thing is this is about, first and foremost, the people of Australia, the people of regional Australia and to be brought about by that wonderful team, the Nationals.”
Mr Joyce was also asked about how women might feel about his return and why he resigned in the first place.
“Let’s start with the most difficult one first,” Mr Joyce said. “I believe that you have to clear the air, that even though I absolutely clearly said that if there was ever an issue of that sort, it should be taken to the police, I completely deny it and said that they were spurious and defamatory.
“I will try, always, to be the better person. I acknowledge my faults. I resigned, I’ve spent three years on the backbench. I don’t walk away from making sure that I can be a better person to do a better job.”
Mr Joyce was asked about whether Mr McCormack was not reflecting the values of the Nationals Party, but abruptly ended the press conference to attend question time.
“I’m not gonna give a press conference about anything but the path forward. I absolutely respect Michael McCormack.
“We all have different attributes, and he has a suite of attributes and I have another suite of attributes, and they apply in different ways to the circumstances that come before us. And now I’ve got to go to question time,” he said before turning and walking away.
Image: ABC News
This article originally appeared on Over60.