Llew O’Brien quits Nationals after Barnaby Joyce’s leadership challenge


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The Coalition government will keep its two-seat majority but Mr O’Brien has flagged his intention to cross the floor on a number of bills, including the government’s national anti-corruption commission.

The former policeman has been an outspoken critic of the proposed laws and wants the commission to have more teeth to fight corruption.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said Mr O’Brien would still be a member of the Queensland party.

“He continues to support the government – that is what he has made clear to the Prime Minister,” Senator Cormann said on Monday morning.

“I’m not aware of the ins and outs of the National Party internals, but in terms of the fundamentals, Llew O’Brien is a member of the LNP, remains a member of the joint party room and he continues to support the government. That is what he has made clear to the Prime Minister,” Mr Cormann said.

Mr O’Brien has been among a key group of agitators with the Nationals, openly questioning the party’s direction and leadership over several issues.

Mr Joyce told ABC that Mr O’Brien’s decision to quit was “incredibly sad”.

“We want to keep him in the team, former vice president of the LNP, a person with so many years experience serving in the police force,” Mr Joyce said.

He also on Monday morning denied reports he had issued a threat to Mr Morrison that he and a cohort of disgruntled Nationals MPs, including Queenslander George Christensen, had threatened to cross the floor.

Mr Joyce said he had told Mr Morrison that Mr McCormack’s decision not to promote any of those who had voted against him in last Tuesday’s spill to the front bench was “foolish” and “precarious”.

with AAP

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