Michael McCormack has insisted he is still the Nationals leader

“I’m not quite sure why it was written in that way,” Mr McCormack told ABC television’s Insiders program.

“The fact is – I’m the leader and I’m going to lead the Nationals to the next election.”

Mr McCormack told the ABC’s program that he speaks to Prime Minister Scott Morrison every day and had his full support.

“The Prime Minister and I speak every day, as you would imagine. And I have his full support,” he said.

It’s been a tortuous couple of weeks for the deputy prime minister. First there was the loss of his Nationals deputy Bridget McKenzie due to the sports grants scandal.

Mr McCormack said his door is always open to his colleagues. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)Source:AAP

Then there was an unexpected leadership spill, where he managed to fight off former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.

This was followed by the loss of one his members, Llew O’Brien, from the Nationals party room, who was subsequently voted in as a deputy Speaker in the House of Representatives, against the will of the Morrison government.

A group of Nationals were responsible for installing the Queensland MP in the deputy speaker chair as the breakaway group sided with Labor and the crossbench.

Fellow Queensland MP Michelle Landry expressed her disappointment at the breakaway group and said it was probably done as an act of revenge.

“I think it might have been a bit of revenge happening there because Barnaby (Joyce) didn’t get the leadership,” she told reporters.

“I am disappointed with what has happened. I think it’s been a torrid couple of weeks. Now they’ve had their victory, let’s get on with it.”

Asked if he thought there was a concerted campaign to get rid of him as leader, Mr McCormack said: “I’ve now put myself to the party room as a leader three times in less than two years.” “And three times in less than two years, I’ve been endorsed as the party’s leader. That should be enough to draw a line under that discussion.”

Nationals Queensland senator Matt Canavan, who stepped down from the ministry to back Mr Joyce in the leadership spill, said the party has “moved on”.

“It’s been a rough couple of weeks. The decision was made,” he told Sky News.

“Michael has my support, he is the elected leader of the party room and that is what we’ve got to move forward with.”

He saw no prospect of another leadership challenge

“I’m not going to predict debates in the future but I cannot see that happening,” he said.

Mr Canavan has already threatened disunity by claiming he would cross the floor. Picture Gary Ramage

Mr Canavan has already threatened disunity by claiming he would cross the floor. Picture Gary RamageSource:News Corp Australia

While Mr Canavan claims he fully backs his leader it seems that he does not fully back the coalition government.

Mr Canavan said he would vote against the Liberal Party on key issues such as climate change and energy if he thought the policies would hurt regional Australia.

“While I’m on the backbench I’m not intending to take a back seat,” he said.

“Every backbench member of the coalition has the right to form their own position on legislation.”

The former resources minister said he would forcefully fight against policies that would damage Queensland’s coal mining industry.

He also said he would “cross the floor if it was a severe issue that was against the interests of the people of Queensland”.

His statements echo Nationals leader who said first and foremost, his party must deliver for regional Australia.

“Whether that’s me changing my leadership style a little bit, I think we all, every one of us in the national party room, needs to stop concentrating on … self-indulgence,” he said.


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