Barnaby Joyce loses National Party leadership in shock vote

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Barnaby Joyce has been booted from the National Party leadership, following a three-way contest in the party room.

David Littleproud, an MP from Queensland has been elected as the new leader after defeating Mr Joyce and Victorian MP Darren Chester on Monday.

The Nationals managed to retain all their seats in the federal election on May 21, when Mr Joyce was at the helm of the party.

Barnaby Joyce has been ousted as the leader of the Nationals. Source: AAP
Barnaby Joyce has been ousted as the leader of the Nationals. Source: AAP

When the Coalition is in government, the leader of the Nationals becomes the deputy prime minister. However after the disastrous outing at the recent poll, questions remain about the direction the National and Liberal Party coalition will take.

Mr Joyce was accused of having Liberal blood on his hands after his party's obstinate stance on tackling climate change turned inner-city voters off sitting moderate Liberals.

Speaking at a press conference shortly after the leadership contest, Mr Littleproud addressed the media and said this was the "proudest day" of his professional life.

"I believe passionately in the National Party because we are all there ... [this] is about regional and rural Australia," he said.

"We are the conscience of rural and regional Australia right here in this Parliament. This is the proudest day of my professional life."

David Littleproud arrives at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, May 30, 2022
David Littleproud is the new leader of the National Party. Source: AAP

He said he had been involved with the National Party for 40 years, at just six years old he handed out flyers for his father who was seeking to become the member for Condamine.

Mr Littleproud was elected into the House of Representatives in 2016 for Maranoa in Queensland and he was re-elected in 2019.

He vowed to draw on the experience of former deputy prime ministers, Mr Joyce and Michael McCormack, and to "build that bridge of unity and purpose" and ensure regional and rural Australia "isn't forgotten".

In a statement shared to Twitter on Saturday, Mr Littleproud said he had informed Mr Joyce of his decision to contest the leadership.

"I feel this is the appropriate time to put myself forward for my party room's consideration as their leader," he said.

"Ultimately, this is a decision on who will lead The Nationals to the 2025 election."

Peter Dutton elected as leader of the Liberals

Also on Monday, Peter Dutton was elected the leader of the Liberal Party, replacing Scott Morrison, who led the coalition to defeat at the federal election.

The former defence minister was unopposed and former environment minister Sussan Ley will become his deputy.

In his first press conference as leader, Mr Dutton vowed to represent Australia's "forgotten people" in the outer suburbs and regional areas.

"Under my leadership, the Liberal Party will be true to our values that have seen us win successive elections over the course of the last quarter of a century," he said.

Peter Dutton speaks to supporters after holding onto his seat at the recent federal election. Source: AAP
Peter Dutton speaks to supporters after holding onto his seat at the recent federal election. Source: AAP

"Make no mistake and Australians understand this, the next three years under Labor is going to be tough for the Australian people. Already they're breaking the promises and foreshadowing policy shifts. They weren't ready to govern.

"Sussan and I lead a team which has the experience to make the right calls on supporting government policies that are in our national interest and standing against those that are not in our national interests."

Mr Dutton faces a difficult task leading his party back to government, which isn't helped by his personal unpopularity in the wider electorate. Last week, WA premier Mark McGowan called Mr Dutton an "extremist" while former Liberal leader John Hewson told Yahoo News Australia he was a "dangerous" person.

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