The shock ousting yesterday of Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack as leader of the National Party will see his replacement Barnaby Joyce assume the key portfolios of Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development.
McCormack, who held the roles before he was unseated from the nation’s second highest office, was also acting Prime Minister in the recent absence of Scott Morrison who is currently in quarantine at The Lodge after attending meetings in the United Kingdom.
Queensland Senator Matt Canavan moved a spill motion to bring on the leadership vote at a party room meeting which was carried and sees Joyce return to the role he resigned from in 2018.
Joyce’s sudden ascension comes as the Nationals push back against a sharp pivot to net zero emissions by 2050 made by the Prime Minister.
Resources Minister, Keith Pitt had declared last week that the policy of net zero emissions by 2050 could not be adopted by Morrison without the backing of the Nationals.
Today the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator welcomed the appointment of Barnaby Joyce and thanked outgoing Minister Michael McCormack.
NHVR Chair Duncan Gay said he looked forward to working with Joyce to continue to grow safety, productivity and efficiency across the heavy vehicle industry.
“On behalf of NHVR staff, Chief Executive and the Board, I congratulate Barnaby and welcome him to the role,” Gay said.
“Barnaby has always been a supporter of delivering improved transport and infrastructure outcomes,” he said.
“I look forward to working with him to continue to deliver national consistency and reform for the heavy vehicle industry and improved road safety for all road users.”
Gay also thanked outgoing Minister Michael McCormack for his support.
“Michael was a strong advocate for regional communities and I thank him for his ongoing support of the NHVR,” he continued.
“I have no doubt that he will continue to play a role in championing the importance of heavy vehicle safety well into the future.”
Joyce, who launched an unsuccessful challenge to McCormack last year, returns after regional Australia had suffered through a sustained period of drought, bushfires and COVID-19 restrictions.
“We need to come together and unify, doing the things that we do best, which is looking after regional Australians,” Joyce said.
“They’ve had enough kicks in the guts.
“It’s time now to help them out of the fires, the droughts, the cyclones and get them back up and going and I think that it’s important that the National Party gets on with that job and those men and women and the children there, who put ourselves here, to give them their fair share.”