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Australia Barnaby Joyce's return to Nationals leadership angers regional women fearing 'backward step'

05:00  22 june  2021
05:00  22 june  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Regional women angered by Barnaby Joyce ' s return to the nation 's second-highest political office are speaking out at what they dub "a backwards " step by the National Party. Key points: Barnaby Joyce ' s re-election has been described as a backward step by some women . Mr Joyce was sworn in as the Deputy Prime Minister on Tuesday morning, a day after toppling Michael McCormack as the Nationals leader . Pauline McAllister, a NSW trustee of the party and member of more than two decades, said the party's decision to vote out now-former leader Michael McCormack was a

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Hon David Littleproud, Barnaby Joyce are posing for a picture: Some rural female leaders have spoken out against Barnaby Joyce's return to the National Party leadership. (ABC News: Matt Roberts) © Provided by ABC NEWS Some rural female leaders have spoken out against Barnaby Joyce's return to the National Party leadership. (ABC News: Matt Roberts)

Regional women angered by Barnaby Joyce's return to the nation's second-highest political office are speaking out at what they dub "a backwards" step by the National Party.

Mr Joyce was sworn in as the Deputy Prime Minister on Tuesday morning, a day after toppling Michael McCormack as the Nationals leader.

Pauline McAllister, a NSW trustee of the party and member of more than two decades, said the party's decision to vote out now-former leader Michael McCormack was a backwards step.

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Barnaby Joyce defeated former Nationals leader Michael McCormack in a party room ballot on Monday. Mr Joyce will take and sign the oath of office at a swearing-in ceremony at Government House on Tuesday. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will attend via video conference while under home quarantine. Nationals MP Anne Webster said it remains to be seen if women voters would turn their backs on the party because of Mr Joyce ' s return to the top job. "I imagine we are going to find out," she said.

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"I think there are a lot of women who feel a bit disenfranchised. I think there will be a lot of women who will be totally disappointed," Ms McAllister said.

Ms McAllister said Mr Joyce's strengths as an "excellent negotiator" and "a great member for his electorate" were not enough to rebuild trust among female voters.

"I believe that a lot of women won't forget the events of some years ago, and I think it'll affect the female vote. I'm quite sure of that," Ms McAllister said.

"It's a very difficult situation that can't be fixed overnight."

A step backwards

Before yesterday's leadership spill, National Party MPs Anne Webster and Michelle Landry both warned against the reinstatement of the former leader, saying many women would be unimpressed.

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Barnaby Joyce will return as deputy prime minister after deposing Michael McCormack in a National party leadership spill. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP. The agriculture minister, David Littleproud, remains deputy leader of the Nationals , but Joyce is likely to want to reshape the Nationals ’ ministry representation as part of a new coalition agreement to be negotiated with Morrison. Joyce ’ s appointment will complicate the Morrison government’s attempts to recast its climate policy as it edges towards a commitment of net zero emissions by 2050, with Joyce an outspoken critic of the move.

Returning Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce during Question Time (AAP). Barnaby Joyce has wrestled back the leadership of the National Party, deposing Michael McCormack in the last sitting week before the winter recess.

Indeed, Mr Joyce's return as Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader has some fuming.

Former chair of the party's Women's Council and ex-Nationals member, Jess Price-Purnell was one of those shocked by the decision.

"It's actually pretty devastating," she said.

"My first reaction was a word I can't say on a recording. I think it's a backward step. I think we've now just taken a 10-year step backwards."

Ms Price-Purnell, who was a member of the Nationals for more than a decade and left last year, said women in regional Australia had grown frustrated by the party.

"I think women are getting frustrated that no-one really seems to be listening," she said.

"Everything gets turned into a women's issue. You know, childcare shouldn't be a women's issue, it should be a societal issue.

"My husband is just as affected by expensive childcare as I am, yet I'm the one who's meant to stay at home and give up my career that I've studied for.

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Disgraced former Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce is back and it was the talk of the town overnight.Source:Supplied. Australia has been grappling with the news that Barnaby Joyce is back and some are happier than others, with much of the conversation centred around the controversial politician’ s hopes to “come back a better person”. Mr Joyce , “clawing his way back”, remained the talk of the town overnight as his “resurrection” to Australian politics trended across television, radio and social media just hours after his big move to win back the spotlight — and as well as the leadership

Barnaby Joyce will return to the nation ' s second-highest office, marking a political comeback three years after losing the deputy prime ministership to scandal. Key points: Mr Joyce beat Michael McCormack in what was believed to be a very close vote. Mr McCormack says he wishes Mr Joyce the best of luck. Sources have told the ABC Mr Joyce defeated Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in a very close contest this morning after years of seeking a return to his party' s leadership .

'Women are being ignored'

Alana Johnson, a farmer from Benalla in Victoria and founding member of Women in Agriculture, said she was also surprised.

"I thought surely they would have learned by now that re-establishing Barnaby Joyce as the leader of the National Party would be a demonstration that they certainly haven't been listening to women," she said.

Mr Joyce resigned from the role in 2018 amid accusations of sexual harassment – allegations he strenuously denies – as well as revelations about his extramarital affair with a staffer.

The Member for New England yesterday said he was coming back into the leadership a better person.

"I acknowledge my faults and I resigned as I should and did; I spent three years on the backbench and I hope I come back a better person,” Mr Joyce told reporters on Monday.

“Hopefully one learns from mistakes and makes themselves a better person.”

But Ms Johnson wasn't convinced.

"They can be seen as very hollow words," she said.

"What we're hearing is that people like Barnaby Joyce will not deliver what women are looking for."

'What has happened in the past, I want to put in the past'

However, Nationals senator for NSW, Perin Davey, downplayed concerns about how women would react to Mr Joyce's return to the leadership.

"What has happened in the past, I want to put in the past, we want to focus on the future," Ms Davey said.

"I've had conversations with Barnaby about how we work together to get more women in the party and he's all for it."

Other women, such as Cecila Dries in Mr Joyce's electorate of New England, said they backed their local member.

"Who are we to judge people's personal lives? So no, I don't hold anything against Barnaby," she said.

For Ms Johnson, actions will speak louder than words.

"We'll certainly be needing to see some proof by action, if he's ever going to rebuild trust with women."

Nationals reshuffle sees some old hands return to the frontbench under Barnaby Joyce's leadership .
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