Nationals leader McCormack dismisses talk he’s about to be rolled

First there was the loss of his Nationals deputy, Bridget McKenzie, due to the sports grants scandal.

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

Nationals senator Matt Canavan stepped down from the ministry to back Barnaby Joyce in the leadership spill.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

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

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.”

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

Senator Canavan 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 McCormack 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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