Sunday, December 04, 2022

‘I’m not scared of democracy’: Joyce hits back at claims his leadership could be on the line

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce says he’s “not scared of democracy” following claims his role as leader of the Nationals could be on the line.

Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce says he’s “not scared of democracy” and praised his party for retaining every incumbent seat following claims his leadership could be on the line.

It comes after former deputy prime minister Michael McCormack, who lost a leadership ballot to Mr Joyce last year, suggested the Coalition would have performed better in the federal election if he was the leader of the National Party.

Speaking to Paul Murray Live on Monday night, Mr Joyce was pressed on whether he expects “there to be a fight” in the run for the Nationals top job.

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“Well look, the Nationals always have, when we come back we have the ballot for leader and I’m not scared of democracy, it’s great, that’s what I love about our party and I’m very comfortable with it,” he told Sky News Australia host Paul Murray.

“And so this is an unremarkable statement.

“I look forward to it. We’ll have a discussion about policy, we’ll have a discussion about ministries, we’ll have a discussion about what are the guardrails of the issues we want to work within in the coming period of time .

“All the senior members of a party will have their say and all the people who have just arrived in the party will have a chance to have their say.”

Mr Joyce continued to back the Nationals for retaining every incumbent seat they contested on Saturday.

“We held every single one of our seats, even though three of them were retiring members. We picked up a senate seat and we were a stone’s throw from two other seats – Lingiari and Hunter,” he said.

“So we did a very very good job against all odds.”

Sky News Political Reporter Andrea Crothers says the Nationals’ deputy David Littleproud is viewed as a “solid choice” to replace Mr Joyce.

“After being tossed into Opposition, the Nationals are discussing the fate of the leader,” she told Sky News host Kieran Gilbert.

“I understand David Littleproud, the deputy, who is seen as a solid choice to replace Barnaby Joyce if change is afoot.

“Barnaby backers would argue, ‘look, we’ve kept every seat, even picked up a senate spot so whilst that is in stark contrast to Liberal bloodbath, why would you want to replace him’?”


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