Why it is now or never for Joyce to reclaim the leadership
Barnaby Joyce failed early last year to take down Michael McCormack as Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister but his supporters always called it a narrow loss. The cold logic of a challenge this week is in the timing. First, this is the last week of Parliament before the winter break, so the leadership can be settled well in advance of the next election.Second, Joyce cannot wait until after that election. One of his allies, Queenslander George Christensen, intends to leave Parliament at the next poll. Another likely supporter, Ken O'Dowd, is also retiring.
Barnaby Joyce has completed a stunning return as deputy prime minister less than three-and-a-half years after quitting in a cloud of scandal.
Mr Joyce quit under immense pressure after sexual harassment allegations he strenuously denied emerged during a wave of controversy.
Barnaby Joyce must 'rebuild trust' after Nationals leadership spill, WA leader Mia Davies says
WA Nationals leader Mia Davies, who was one of the first to call for Barnaby Joyce's resignation in 2018, says the federal leadership change is disappointing and it's up to Mr Joyce to rebuild trust.Ms Davies, who is also the state Opposition Leader, was one of the first to call for Mr Joyce to resign when he was previously leader in 2018 following revelations of his affair with former staffer Vikki Campion.
His initial trouble was triggered after an explosive report revealed his now-partner Vikki Campion - with whom he had an affair while she worked in his office - was expecting the couple's first child.
Retiring Queensland MP Ken O'Dowd, who voted for Mr Joyce, said women in both their electorates had forgiven him.
"He has apologised to everyone for that, and he is prepared to take it on the chin and get on with the job," he told the ABC.
Victorian MP Anne Webster - a McCormack supporter - said time would tell if the leadership change would hurt their standing with women.
WA Nationals leader Mia Davies, who was a vocal critic of Mr Joyce, said there were significant questions about his behaviour at the time.
Ms Davies said the spill showed the federal party was focused on internal matters over regional Australians.
"I'm very disappointed to see that there has been a leadership change," the state opposition leader said.
Former Nationals federal president Larry Anthony said the party made a democratic choice to change leaders.
"He's done time in the wilderness. It's done. He suffered. He paid a price," he told the ABC.
Mr Anthony believes voters in Queensland and west of the Great Dividing Range will welcome Mr Joyce's return while Victoria and coastal areas could be different.
Joyce's Nationals ministry to be sworn in .
Barnaby Joyce's new-look front bench is set to be sworn in with his key supporters Bridget McKenzie and Andrew Gee gaining a seat at the cabinet table.The prime minister was allowed to leave The Lodge on Thursday night after spending a tumultuous two weeks in politics quarantining at his official residence in Canberra.