Australian deputy PM loses job in government climate split

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce and Deputy Prime Minister Michael Mc Cormack during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in May

McCormack had held leadership over the Nationals party for the last three years.

He resigned as party leader in February 2018 after his personal life made the front pages for multiple reasons: first for leaving his wife for his pregnant mistress (former staffer Vikki Campion), and second for a sexual harassment complaint, which Joyce denied and which an investigation produced no conclusion.

Mr Joyce secured the Nationals leadership in a party room spill on Monday.

As a leader of the Nationals, Joyce - a strong advocate for coal-fired power generation - will enter negotiations with Morrison on the terms of the Coalition agreement, with climate policy expected to be the centerpiece.

Alana Johnson, a founding member of the Australian Women In Agriculture group, told ABC Radio on Tuesday she believed Mr Joyce's return as leader showed the Nationals weren't listening to women.

By convention, the leader of the rural-based National party becomes deputy prime minister in a Liberal-National government.

The Nationals whip Damian Drum said "nothing changes" other than the leadership position.

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"I moved the spill because my judgment has been than Barnaby has the fight we need to protect regional Queensland jobs and interests", Senator Canavan said.

"I will try, always, to be the better person".

"Barnaby has always been a supporter of delivering improved transport and infrastructure outcomes", said NHVR chair Duncan Gay, in welcoming new Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister, and new Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Barnaby Joyce.

"Mr McCormack's commitment to engage with the Civil Contractors Federation and infrastructure sector more broadly has also been appreciated by industry, particularly as we grappled with the initial economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic".

Joyce has previously said he was willing to vote against any government legislation that costs jobs as a result of higher climate standards.

But he said Australians questioning why there has been yet another spill in Parliament would have to ask those who called it.

Mr Morrison, who remains in quarantine following his G7 trip, said he congratulated Mr Joyce on his victory and that he looked forward to working with him. "We have enjoyed a close and a strong bond leading together as part of a strong correlation", he said.

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