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Barnaby Joyce has won the Nationals leadership, defeating Michael McCormack in a party room spill to return as deputy prime minister.

Mr Joyce returns to the position he held from February 2016 to February 2018, when he resigned amid revelations he was expecting a child with a former staffer.

David Littleproud will remain as deputy leader of the party, with his position not contested.

Barnaby Joyce will return to the Nationals leadership.
Barnaby Joyce will return to the Nationals leadership. (Getty)
Barnaby Joyce
Barnaby Joyce (right) in the House of Representatives this morning with his Nationals colleagues ahead of the leadership ballot. (Sydney Morning Herald)

The spill motion was moved by Nationals Senator Matt Canavan this morning and comes after days of speculation over the leadership of the party.

Mr Joyce is expected to speak this afternoon.

Nationals whip Damian Drum revealed the outcome of the ballot in a brief media conference at Parliament House.

“There was a spill motion put forward. (The) spill motion was carried,” Mr Drum said.

“We had an election and Barnaby Joyce has been elected leader of the National Party at a federal level.

“He has to go through a process now to be sworn in, to have all the conversations, to talk to the Prime Minister, and effectively get on with the job of representing our people.”

Mr Drum described the Nationals as “the most democratic party in Australia”.

Michael McCormack has been toppled as Nationals leader in a spill.
Michael McCormack served as acting prime minister only last week. (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mr McCormack served as acting prime minister last week while Scott Morrison was overseas.

Mr Morrison is in quarantine at The Lodge but will resume his duties remotely.

Labor hits out at ‘self-indulgent’ government

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese slammed the timing of the spill and used a media conference to highlight what he says are differences in Labor and Coalition policy, particularly around climate change.

“This government had just two jobs this year,” Mr Albanese said.

“They had to roll out the vaccine, and they had to fix national quarantine.

“Now instead of rolling out the vaccine to the Australian people, they just concentrated on rolling each other.

“The rolling of Michael McCormack, a decent human being, by Barnaby Joyce represents the sixth combination of prime minister and deputy prime minister under the eight long years of this government.

“It’s a vote of no-confidence in their own government.

“The fact is, if you want to end this circus, it’s time to end this government.

“I’ve seen governments be self-indulgent before and get punished.

“This is a government that is being self-indulgent at a time of the pandemic.

‘”The last time there was a spill was in the middle of the bushfire crisis – this time it’s in the middle of a pandemic.”

Source: 9News

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