Michael McCormack sees off Barnaby Joyce challenge to remain Nationals leader | ABC News

Michael McCormack sees off Barnaby Joyce challenge to remain Nationals leader | ABC News


DRUM: Well thank you everyone for being here
this morning. The National Party have just conducted the ballot for both the position
of leader and deputy leader of the National Party at the federal level. The leader’s position
was won by Mr Michael McCormack, and the deputy leader’s position has been elected to David
Littleproud. Without any further ado, I’ll hand over to the leader.
REPORTER: [INAUDIBLE QUESTION] DRUM: You’ll never find out.
MCCORMACK: It’s a great honour and a privilege to continue to serve as the leader of the
National Party. Ir-I congratulate David Littleproud for his election to the Deputy Leader’s position.
Also, I look forward to working and continuing to work with Barnaby Joyce, who put his hand
up for the leadership. I also continue to look forward to working with Keith Pitt and
David Gillespie, who put their hands up for the Deputy Leader’s role. Never before has
there been such an important time for the National Party to continue the representation
we’ve done for 100 years. It’s the challenge that is there. Of course, with the fires,
with the ongoing drought. I commend David Littleproud as the newly elected Deputy Leader
for the role he played this very worrying and troubling summer in drought, in bushfires
and everything else that has beset regional Australia. We will continue as a united team,
to put the people of regional Australia first and foremost. I want to thank my colleagues
for again placing their faith in me. I also want to acknowledge that regional Australians
are out there hurting. They are and we will be there for them. Their interests are our
interests. First and foremost. I have never shied from the responsibility of making sure
that every waking minute of every day I work hard for regional Australians, as does David,
as does the entire National Party team. We will continue to serve in a very good government.
We have been very responsive to the needs and wants and expectations this summer and
particularly for regional Australia. I might get David to make a few remarks and thenally
be happy to take questions. LITTLEPROUD: Thanks, Michael. This is a proud
day for me. I joined this great party 22 years ago, in my electorate, the little town of
Stanthorpe. I believe very much in the values of the National Party. This is about hope,
this is about vision for our people in regional and rural Australia. This is about now back
to business. The shenanigans are over, it’s time to get back to looking after those people
that are facing drought, that have faced up to the fires. It’s time for us to focus on
them, not us. The party has to focus on that. We will, we have a commitment from everyone
in the room, that we have a responsibility as being elected from regional and rural Australia,
to stand here to be their hope in Canberra, to be able to articulate clearly their needs
and wants and their desires because regional and rural Australia has a great future. The
story of regional and rural Australia and particularly of agriculture is just to have
rain. Itwill rain. We shouldn’t talk ourselves down. There’s been too much of that. We’re
doing it tough, yes, in some parts but we will through and it’s important we have a
policy framework to support our future and those that we have lost over many generations.
We’ve lost too many young people out of regional and rural Australia, it’s time to bring them
home, time for them to believe in regional Australia and the National Party is party
to lead them. REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION) REPORTER: Watching
the Nationals come back to parliament on the first day, having this leadership contest
instead of focusing on the other things? MCCORMACK: We have your back, whether it’s
drought, we have your back whether it’s building new dam infrastructure We have your back whether
it’s dealing with the bushfires and everything else that is regional Australia. Regional
Australia has a bright future. We will be there to ensure the right policies and the
right infrastructures in the place to realise the potential of the future. REPORTER: Will Matt Canavan return to parliament? MCCORMACK: Matt Canavan has resigned as Resources
Minister, I wish him the best. REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION) ? MCCORMACK: I’d like to think the entire National
Party team, and I know they will now unite. We had way too much media speculation, way
too much speculation in general, about the leadership role. It’s time to put all that
to bed. I would also say to the media – sometimes, I think, that there’s been media speculation
heightened only by stories that were, quite frankly, untrue, quite frankly, backgrounding,
if they’re not prepared to put their name to it, I don’t understand why it actually
makes the paper. If people are going to be – I’ve been up-front – if ever I said anything
to to a journalist, I asked them to put my name to it. That’s the way I am and that’s
the way I think we need to go forward. We need to unite, we will unite. The people of
regional Australia come first, not us. We’re sent here to do the job and we will do that. REPORTER: Who do you think was saying that?
Do you think it’s Barnaby putting his name to that? MCCORMACK: The fact is, I shook hands with
Barnaby. We will move on. We will move on and work hard together. He and I, and the
rest of the National Party team, for regional Australia – that is what regional Australians
expect, what they deserve and why they will get. REPORTER: Did you ask him if he will challenge
again? MCCORMACK: No, I don’t expect him to. I’ve
been endorsed as leader. I was endorsed as leader when we came back here after the May
election last year I was endorsed as leader when he stood
down in 2018. That’s three times in less than two years. I think that is enough to warrant
me leading the party going forward. REPORTER: Your colleagues… MCCORMACK: No, look… Well, I’ve got to say,
when the first time I stood for the leadership after Barnaby Joyce resigned in February 2018,
Christensen stood. I don’t know the result still of that. National Party votes were never
revealed. The whip knows and that’s been the convention of the National Party, a party,
I might say that’s been going for 100 years of secret ballots. REPORTER: The Nationals have distracted on
a day that’s meant to be dedicated… MCCORMACK: I think we need to draw a line
in the sand and concentrate on the fire victims. There’s been many who have lost loved ones.
Our thoughts go to them. There’s been many who lost their businesses, their homes, lost
their farms. That’s the people we’re going to be concentrating on. I think today is a
day where we reflect upon those. We trait on what we need to do for the recovery efforts,
the relief efforts and providing, continuing to provide, the assistance we have already
done and to that end, I know the Government has acted very responsibly, very quickly,
to help those fire victims and we will continue to do that. This clean-up is not going to
take weeks or months, it’s going to take years. The National Party, the Government l be there
for those people. Thank you very much.

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