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Australia Barnaby Joyce must 'rebuild trust' after Nationals leadership spill, WA leader Mia Davies says

10:06  21 june  2021
10:06  21 june  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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a woman who is smiling and looking at the camera: WA Nationals leader Mia Davies says she is disappointed in the Nationals' leadership change. (ABC News: Andrew O'Connor) © Provided by ABC NEWS WA Nationals leader Mia Davies says she is disappointed in the Nationals' leadership change. (ABC News: Andrew O'Connor)

West Australian Nationals leader Mia Davies says it is disappointing there has been a leadership change at the party's federal level and it is up to Barnaby 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.

"Three years on, it's now up to Mr Joyce to rebuild that trust and to prove his focus is very much on regional Australia and making sure that we've got a government that's ready to take us to the next election," Ms Davies said.

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She said the federal party's decision to switch from Michael McCormack back to Mr Joyce was destabilising.

"I had a good working relationship with Michael McCormack," Ms Davies said.

"I'm disappointed the party felt they needed to change leaders. I think it shows they're focused on internal matters instead of the people of regional Australia."

Joyce caused 'ongoing damage': Davies

In February 2018 Ms Davies called on Mr Joyce to resign as federal leader, following revelations of his affair with former staffer Vikki Campion, who was pregnant with his child at the time.

She said at the time Mr Joyce had lost the support of the party in Western Australia because of the "ongoing damage" he was causing the party.

In response, Mr Joyce questioned the WA branch's commitment to the federal Nationals.

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But amid continuing pressure over his extramarital affair, he stepped down three days later as deputy prime minister and Nationals leader.

That same month, Catherine Marriott, 2012 WA Rural Woman of the Year, had lodged a confidential sexual harassment complaint against Mr Joyce with the federal branch of the National Party.

Ms Davies previously said she had received a complaint from Ms Marriott, and referred it to the then federal Nationals president Larry Anthony.

Ms Marriott had not intended to make the allegations public, but details of the complaint and her name were subsequently leaked.

Mr Joyce has always categorically denied Ms Marriott's allegations.

WA Nationals 'worked hard for women'

The WA Nationals are affiliated to the National Party of Australia but have their own separate structure.

Ms Davies said the WA Nationals worked hard to make the party a safe place for women to be involved.

"Myself and others in the party have gone to great lengths to try and address some of the concerns we see across political parties, not just at a state level but at a federal level," she said.

Ms Davies said she stood by her comments calling for Mr Joyce to stand down in 2018, saying his leadership had become untenable.

There are no federal Nationals MPs from WA.

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