Australia Barnaby Joyce set to return as Nationals boss three years after affair
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 is set to return as Nationals leader three years after his affair with a staffer became public.
Joyce stepped down as the party's head and deputy prime minister on February 26, 2018, when details of his relationship with former press secretary to ex-Treasurer Peter Costello, Vikki Campion, became national headlines.
Support for the 54-year-old has been gaining momentum, with a source inside the Nationals telling thehe is preparing to overthrow current leader Michael McCormack.
'Barnaby's got the numbers and the plan is to call a spill on Monday,' they said.
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 change would be devastating for the country's climate change ambitions - including net-zero emissions by 2050 - with mining set to be a huge part of his agenda.
Joyce, who in 2017 lobbied to have a breed of possum taken off the critically endangered list so a logging company could destroy a forest, was identified by MPs to re-take control after the Nationals didn't receive credit for their role in the budget.
McCormack responded to the reports on Saturday afternoon, dismissing the 'online unsourced report' and saying he was focusing on important issues.
Video: Barnaby Joyce criticises Malcolm Turnbull for supporting independent candidate in byelection (Sky News Australia)
'I am concentrating to make sure we get things sorted during this pandemic which has killed 3.8million people and we have a big job to do for and on behalf of all Australians,' Mr McCormack said.
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.
'If others want to talk about themselves then that is a matter for them.
'It is only an unsourced online report and I am not going to speculate on an online news story.'
He said he has 'no reason' to believe his party isn't behind him and stated he has 'delivered' for regional Australia since taking over the reins.
'I am the elected leader of the Nationals and I have been elected three times leader,' he said.
Joyce shocked the country in 2018 when he announced that and his wife Natalie Abberfield had separated following an affair with Ms Campion.
On April 16 the following year Ms Campion gave birth to a son, Sebastian, with the three living near Armidale in the New England area of New South Wales.
The pair welcomed a second son, Thomas, on June 1, 2019.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Barnaby Joyce for comment.
Nationals reshuffle sees some old hands return to the frontbench under Barnaby Joyce's leadership .
The Nationals frontbench has a makeover after last week's leadership spill saw Barnaby Joyce oust Michael McCormack as leader of the party. Here's who's in and who's out of Cabinet, to be sworn in on Friday.In: Barnaby JoyceAfter three years on the backbench and one unsuccessful tilt at the leadership last year, Barnaby Joyce again stuck his hand up for the Nationals' top job earlier this week.After a spill motion was moved by Queensland senator Matt Canavan, Mr Joyce was elected the party's new leader.