Today, lawmakers from Australia’s National Party will appoint their new leader after incumbent Barnaby Joyce stepped down over sexual assault allegations last Friday. As the rural conservative partner of PM Malcolm Turnbull’s centre-right coalition government, the National’s new leader will automatically become Australia’s deputy PM.
The clear favourite is minister for Veteran’s Affairs Michael McCormack, who is believed to have the numbers over the only other official challenger, David Gillespie.
Turnbull would likely welcome McCormack as leader, as he is not as scandal-prone as Joyce. However, with a history of threatening to vote with the opposition on several occasions, he’s unlikely to prove a pushover for PM Turnbull.
Turnbull’s 2015 election mantra of “stable government” has taken a hit over the Joyce scandal along with the opposition regaining a lead in the latest poll. However, Turnbull continues to be preferred PM, so he is unlikely to face a caucus revolt before the 2019 elections. Expect the new National leader and Turnbull to try regaining the image of a stable government over the next year.
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John is a Senior Analyst with an interest in Indo-Pacific geopolitics. Master of International Relations (Australian National University) graduate with study focus on the Indo-Pacific. Qualified lawyer (University of Auckland, NZ) with experience in post-colonial Pacific & NZ legal systems.