Australia: Joyce returns as deputy PM after spill win

Why it is now or never for Joyce to reclaim the leadership

  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.

Barnaby Joyce in a suit standing in front of a television: Barnaby Joyce will be sworn in at Government House after winning the Nationals leadership spill. © Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS Barnaby Joyce will be sworn in at Government House after winning the Nationals leadership spill.

Mr Joyce will be sworn in at Government House on Tuesday after defeating Michael McCormack in a Nationals leadership spill on Monday.

After the ceremony, focus will turn to striking a new coalition agreement with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and a looming ministerial reshuffle.

Former minister Bridget McKenzie, who oversaw the so-called sports rorts scheme, is expected to return to cabinet less than 18 months after being forced to resign for breaching ministerial standards.

Barnaby Joyce says he returns to Nationals leadership 'a better person'

  Barnaby Joyce says he returns to Nationals leadership 'a better person' Barnaby Joyce says he has returned as Nationals leader and deputy prime minister as a "better person" after defeating Michael McCormack in a party room spill. Mr Joyce resumes the position he held from February 2016 to February 2018, when he resigned amid revelations he was expecting a child with a former staffer.He said his three years on the backbench had led him to reflect on his impact on others. © Getty Barnaby Joyce will return to the Nationals leadership. "Well, I acknowledge my faults," he said. "And I resigned as I should and I did.

The new deputy prime minister is expected to solidify the Nationals' opposition to agreeing to a 2050 net zero carbon emissions target.

While that could cause further headaches for the government on the international stage, Mr Joyce said he would support what was best for regional Australia.

"It is not Barnaby policy - it's Nationals policy. And Nationals policy is what I will be an advocate for," he said.

Some female Nationals have raised concerns his return could damage the party's electoral fortunes with women.


Video: 'People listen' when Barnaby Joyce talks: Kroger (Sky News Australia)

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

  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.

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