Barnaby Joyce set to face three-way Nationals leadership contest

The Nationals announced a new leader after Barnaby Joyce lost in a ballot in the Canberra community hall on Monday.

David Littleproud ousted former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to take over leadership of the Nationals Party.

Mr Littleproud and Victorian MP Darren Chester were to throw their hats into the ring in a three-way contest for the party’s highest post.

NSW Nationals Senator Perin Davey has been appointed deputy party leader.

National MPs and senators gathered in parliament at 10 a.m. Monday for a leadership ballot, which is customary for the party after an election.

MP Mark Coulton confirmed the positions of Mr Littleproud and Senator Davey following a meeting in the village hall which lasted more than two hours.

Mr Joyce said earlier on Monday that he hoped to keep his job and that he remained “bloody”.

“I will let the village hall make up its own mind about this. It’s incredibly important. It’s a democracy,” he told Seven’s Sunrise.

“I’m happy to maintain my record and let them make their choice.”

Asked which Nine’s Today would be his best possible replacement, Mr Joyce said: ‘I don’t know. Jesus? Mohammed?”

Queensland Liberal MP Stuart Robert did a series of media interviews on Monday morning and hailed the Nationals’ “great campaign” in retaining all of their seats in the election.

“David Littleproud – a great colleague of mine from Queensland. I wish them all the best for the future.”

Asked if he thought Mr Littleproud would beat Mr Joyce for the top job, Mr Robert said: ‘I think it will be close.’

Whoever takes charge of the Nationals will face the challenge of bringing together a divided coalition, with a break on a net-zero emissions goal that would have contributed to a Liberal rout in the downtown seats.

While Nationals retained all of their seats in the lower house, the Liberals lost up to 20 of their own, with six MPs gunned down by ‘teal’ independents who campaigned fiercely on climate change action and two more seats lost to the Greens.

Former Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman, who lost his North Sydney seat to independent Kylea Tink, was asked on Monday morning how much he blamed Mr Joyce for his loss.

“I think there’s a whole set of reasons why we’ve lost places in the city center like mine. Obviously climate change was one of the key issues,” he told the ABC.

Mr Zimmerman said Queensland LNP Senator Matt Canavan’s mid-election intervention on net zero was a “killer moment” for moderate MPs like him.

“There was just an underlying suspicion that ultimately people like Canavan and Barnaby Joyce would prevail if we were elected,” he said.

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