Challenger Gives Full Support

Michael McCormack is the new Leader of the National Party of Australia and Deputy Prime Minister and has already received full party support, including that of his only challenger for the top position, Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen.

Michael McCormack and George Christensen

Michael McCormack and George Christensen

Mr Christensen became the only challenger in the leadership ballot to replace Barnaby Joyce at a special party room meeting held this morning that took less than half an hour to make its decision.

Mr McCormack says he is honoured to be elected and has paid tribute to Mr Joyce, saying his leadership of the Nationals would never be diminished.

Challenger George Christensen issued this statement this morning:

“I offer my sincere congratulations to the new Leader of The Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Michael McCormack, the Member for Riverina.

Michael, a fellow member of the Class of 2010, is a good mate of mine and we sat together on the backbench for our first three years in parliament.

I expressed my views on the need to change the current political direction the Nationals are moving in, in a Facebook post over the weekend. My colleagues did not agree with my views, and that’s democracy.

I now look forward to working with our new Leader while representing the people of central and north Queensland and keeping up the fight for local jobs and opportunities.”

Mr McCormack left the Party room to advise Prime Minister Turnbull of the Nationals decision and will be sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister at 10.15am by Victorian Governor Linda Dessau, who is acting for Governor-General Peter Cosgrove.

Mr McCormack will face his first Question Time as Deputy PM this afternoon.

At the same time, Mr Joyce will take his seat on the backbench.