Outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has sought to distance himself from the Liberal Party in the wake of the Coalition’s electoral defeat.
Since Saturday’s result, Barnaby Joyce has faced blame for the loss, with some suggesting that the National leader’s unpopularity cost the Morrison government the election.
On Monday, he came out swinging, defending the Nationals and boasting about their own achievements in the election.
“Although it is a disappointment that the Coalition lost the election, the Nationals won every seat that they formerly held,” he told reporters.
“The Nationals did not lose seats. We actually picked up a senator. And even in seats that were at risk, we held them.
"And in seats that we stood, we got within an inch of winning them, so the nationals don’t have a problem.”
“The Nationals have done an incredibly good job when the tide was running strong against us.”
“I’m not in the Liberal Party. I’m in the Nationals,” he said.
“I’m not going to talk on behalf of the Liberal Party because that is for them, and I’m going to give them the space and dignity and the respect for them to have their own discussions.”
He finished up by clarifying the Nationals coalition agreement with the Liberals was now over.
"The Nationals are out own party... there's a Coalition agreement [but] there is no Coalition party. It always finishes at the end of any term," he said.
Former Nationals head takes swing at Joyce
Michael McCormack, the former head of the Nationals, reportedly said Mr Joyce had fallen out of favour with moderate Australians, pointing to the loss of inner-city seats.
Mr McCormack, who has not ruled out recontesting the leadership, insists that last year’s Nationals leadership spill was a turning point for the Coalition.
“The leadership change last year shouldn’t have happened,” he told The Guardian.
“Whether that influenced the inner-city seats, where I was very popular and provided a lot of infrastructure as minister and spent a lot of time in, will be for others to decide.”
“There were no campaigns against my name and my reputation or anything in inner-city seats. I was welcomed.”
Mr McCormack said mixed messages on net zero emissions, particularly from Nationals senator Matt Canavan, did not help in inner-city electorates.
Liberals float split as party reshuffles to fill Morrison’s shoes
With Scott Morrison announcing that he would step aside as Liberal leader, the party has got some mending to do in opposition.
While former Defence Minister Peter Dutton has emerged as the frontrunner to take on the top job, some within the party have suggested a move away from the Nationals.
Outgoing Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has floated the idea of a Coalition split, saying the party needed to embrace more ambitious climate-change targets and do more for everyday Aussies.
“I would hope that we can continue to work together, but obviously the National party needs to look at where the Liberal party has felt this pain and reflect upon how it is that we, together, can manage to form a majority government in the future, and what will be necessary.”
In response to suggestions of a split, Mr Joyce said it would be a decision for both parties, but it was his preference that a coalition works best as a coalition between two business partners.
While in terms of what he had to reflect on, Mr Joyce, who has refused to commit to running for the Nationals leadership, had the last say.
“We will reflect on the fact that we won every seat that we held, three of those were seats that had retiring members, we picked up another senate colleague, and in many of our seats we had swings to us.”
“I think I will reflect on that.”
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