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The Nationals media conference after election of Barnaby Joyce

  • Written by The Nationals

Barnaby Joyce:

 

First of all, I'll say something briefly and then I'll hand to the deputy and then hand to the leader of the Senate. I'd like to say to my colleagues how humbled I am that the task going ahead first and foremost is to make ourselves a team that is formidable for the next election.

 

No one person makes a decision. It's a democratic decision, and nothing is a certainty and you don't have the minds of other people. And I'm sure that's a question that you're going to be asking about the circumstances that gave rise to this. But that is really secondary. The most important thing is this is about, first and foremost, the people of Australia. Then the people of regional Australia and to be brought about by that wonderful team, The Nationals. 

 

Before I hand over, I would like to sincerely thank Michael McCormack and I believe that Michael has conducted himself right to the press conference he just had with dignity and that is something that is a very admirable trait and is a great example is Michael McCormack. Now, I'll hand to David.

 

David Littleproud:

 

Thank you, Barnaby. And can I pay tribute to the conviction and passion of Michael McCormack and all of that he has done as the Deputy Prime Minister and as leader of the National Party and all of that has done for Riverina. The statesman like way is a reflection of the who the man is, and for, that the National Party should be forever grateful.

 

But today, we now have to draw a line in the sand and get on with the job. It's as simple as that. We need to come together and unify, doing the things that we do best, which is looking after regional Australians. 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. 

 

So it's great honour, always, firstly to be a member of the Federal Parliament and to be a member of the National Party is something that I take great pride in. I joined the National Party in 1998 in a place called Stanthorpe and it's something that I'll continue to hold dear to be a National Party member and it is a great opportunity that the National Party has given me - one that I'll continue to strive to do and one that they're looking for me to do.

 

Bridget McKenzie:

 

Thank you. Well, the party room has spoken. With one of the great democratic traditions comes from the National Party. You see it in the fact that we don't announce numbers.

 

We actually respect the room and that's what we're seeking to do and as part of the leadership team, I'll serve loyally Barnaby Joyce as deputy leader and Michael McCormack, and now it is time to unify our party and get on with the job that we've all been sent here to do, which is to stand up for rural and regional Australia.

 

Michael McCormack is an incredibly good and honourable, decent man. And you all witnessed that here a few moments ago. And I know all of us, including the party room, wish he and Catherine all the very best.

 

Barnaby Joyce:

 

Okay, okay, okay, I'm going to go first of all to Phil.

 

Reporter:

 

Now that you're the leader, will you be seeking to negotiate a new Coalition agreement with the Prime Minister? And what will be your view on climate policy, especially commitment to net zero towards 2050?

 

Barnaby Joyce:

 

I’ve already had a meeting with the Prime Minister, as one should. And we will have further discussions, I imagine, as we go forward. That is part and parcel of when you have a new leader, you have a new agreement. And I'll be making sure that I talk to my colleagues in The Nationals about the issues that they see as pertinent, and I will be making sure that that respect is given to the party room. And then I can, at a later stage, tell you how we're going. And then I'm going to go...

 

REPORTER:

 

Can I ask you - what have you learned about being a leader since leaving last time? How are you different?

 

Barnaby Joyce:

 

Well, I acknowledge my faults. And I resigned as I should and I did. I've spent three years on the backbench and you know, I hope I come back a better person. I don't walk away from the fact that you have to have time to consider, not only the effect on yourself, but more importantly, the effect on others. I've done that. I don't want to dwell on the personal, except to say - hopefully one learns from their mistakes and makes a better person of themselves.

 

REPORTER:

 

What portfolios will you be hoping that The Nationals get? Will you be asking for the trade portfolio back?

 

Barnaby Joyce:

 

These are discussions that I would be having with the Prime Minister and I'm not going to litigate them at a press conference and also with my colleagues as well. Okay, okay.

 

REPORTER:

 

Mr Joyce, do you believe that Scott Morrison should be going to the Glasgow Climate Summit with a net zero by 2050 climate policy?

 

Barnaby Joyce:

 

Surprisingly, I was expecting you to ask that, Probes! I will be guided by my party room. It is not Barnaby policy - it's Nationals policy. And Nationals policy is what I will be an advocate for and if the National Party room believes that the best deal for regional Australia is to make sure that we secure their jobs, is to make sure that we secure their industries, is to clearly understand, clearly understand the dynamics of an Australian economy as to opposed to a Danish one or a German one - if that's the view of the National Party room, that's the view that I'll support.

 

REPORTER:

 

With wanting to unify the party, what would you say to critics who said that you spent three years trying to undermine Michael McCormack's leadership?

 

Barnaby Joyce:

 

I would say that I was actually on the back bench and I would say that I've always stuck with the party. I didn't walk off. I stayed with it. That's important. And I'll leave other comments for other people.

 

REPORTER:

 

Can you confirm you've been seeking this, a return to leadership, for the last three years? And will you keep Keith Pitt as resources minister? Or does Matt Canavan make more sense?

 

Barnaby Joyce:

 

Well if I thought it was going to happen, I would have brought my hat. So the issue is - this is not the wish of one person. It's a decision and the democratic process by a party. And when we said that we didn't know the numbers, it's because we don't. And we knew the outcome - we didn't. The party makes those decisions and I respect the party and they're always your boss.

 

REPORTER:

 

There's a couple of female MPs in your party who have raised concern that you might be some sort of turn off with female voters. You've also been very outspoken in the past about a ban? Is that something that you would like to see overturned because it focuses media attention on these issues? And, just take us through - why did you resign? Because at the time, there was an allegation of sexual harassment that was pursued by The Nationals and ultimately went nowhere. But what's your version of events of why you left in the first place?

 

Barnaby Joyce:

 

Let’s start with the most difficult one first. I believe that you had to clear the air, that even though I absolutely clearly say that if there was ever an issue of that sort, it should be taken to the police, I completely deny it and said that they were spurious and defamatory. Nonetheless, for the sake of my party, I did not want to be litigating that one at the dispatch box. With other issues, I can and I won't start telling other people how they should start thinking of other people. I will try, always, to be the better person. I acknowledge my faults. I resigned, I've spent three years on the backbench. I don't walk away from making sure that I can be a better person to do a better job. And I'm reminded by that by the people that I love dearly - my four daughters and my two sons and Vicky.

 

REPORTER:

 

Can I just clarify - you said earlier in the year that you would cross the floor against the Government if it pursued a net zero by 2050 policy. When you send your letter of demand to the Government, which is the way agreements are made, will it specifically include a commitment or a demand for what the emissions reduction target should be?

 

Barnaby Joyce:

 

As a back bencher, you have the capacity to... And I do - to try to articulate what you believe is an important issue. Now, as the leader, I'll be talking with my party room about what they believe is best for them and then fighting on that premise.

 

REPORTER:

 

Your colleagues have said that it has not been a position that has been put to The Nationals by the Prime Minister?

 

Barnaby Joyce:

 

Well, I will be talking to my colleagues and The Nationals and I'll be guyed by them.

 

REPORTER:

 

How will you change The Nationals? What is your solution to this?

 

Barnaby Joyce:

 

I want to make sure that we have a process that we can go to places such as Central Queensland. That we have the capacity to, on behalf of the Coalition, give us the very best chance of winning the next lest. I'm not detracting for one second or one iota, the qualities that Michael has and has shown the Parliament. I'm not saying also that I have the same suite of issues. I have a different suite of issues. I have a different suite of attributes and I hopefully will be able to apply them in such a way as to give us the best chance. And that was not a decision, as I keep saying, that I made. It's a decision that my colleagues made.

 

REPORTER:

 

As Nationals leader, what will your attitude be towards China? And particularly China's foreign investment in Australia?

 

Barnaby Joyce:

 

The Nationals, as a party brought about some of the most substantial changes in foreign investment laws when everyone was calling us bigots and everything under the sun and now they just call us correct. I will make sure that we always protect this nation, understanding the nuances and complexities of also dealing with our biggest trading partner. Now, the sanctity of the liberties that we hand over to our children, the expectations that they can grow up being able to say whatever they want like we can say whatever we want and to live in a free nation is first and foremost in my mind, and if due course, there will be further discussions to enlighten me on other things.

 

REPORTER:

 

The implication of what you said about reflecting the National Party view on these areas is that you don't believe Michael McCormack was doing that. Is that the case not just on net zero but on the Biloela family and the agriculture visa? What was he not reflecting from the party room?

 

Barnaby Joyce:

 

I’m not going to give a press conference about anything other than the path forward. I absolutely respect Michael McCormack. As I said, it's not that... He has a different suite. We all have different attributes and he has a suite of attributes and I have another suite of attributes and they apply in different ways to the circumstances that come before us, and now I've got to go to question time.

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