David Littleproud elected new Nationals leader with Perin Davey as deputy | National party

David Littleproud has been chosen as the next leader of the Nationals.

Littleproud ousted former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce following a post-election leadership spill in Canberra on Monday morning, with NSW Senator Perin Davey elected deputy.

Three people each had been nominated for the leader and deputy positions.

In his first press conference as leader, Littleproud said Australian elections were won from the center, contrasting his new team with Joyce’s leadership.

“This is not about the National lurching left or lurching right; it’s using common sense and being in the sensible center. That’s where you win elections, not chasing extremities.”

In a statement, Joyce congratulated the new leadership team and said the decision would allow him to return to his “second greatest love, after my family, and that is my beloved people of New England”.

“I suppose you think I am sad. Not really,” Joyce said.

“I gave every ounce of my energy to make sure that I looked after the people of regional Australia, the people in the small family businesses, the people in the weatherboard and iron, the people on the farms, making sure that we drove the investments to take their standard of living ahead.”

Despite the Nationals retaining all their seats, the former deputy prime minister has been accused of having Liberal blood on his hands after his party’s support of coal turned inner-city voters off sitting moderate Liberals.

Littleproud underlined the National’s commitment to net zero by 2050 after Matt Canavan’s comments that net zero was “all over” during the campaign.

He said signing up for the 2050 target was essential to being part of a global community.

David Littleproud

“If we didn’t sign up to that … every Australian Treasury modeling would have shown that markets had already factored in, nearly up to a 3% increase in your mortgages, and your commodity prices would have gone down.”

“So I couldn’t look my people in the eye and say, we can’t be part of a global community. Because if we’re not part of the global community, then we don’t make money.”

However, he was critical of Labor’s commitment to a 43% emissions reduction by 2030, a target former North Sydney Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman called on the Coalition to support to win back more progressive city electorates.

“It’s about making sure that those people in regional rural Australia don’t bear the brunt, particularly in agriculture, who have borne the brunt for us to meet Kyoto and meet Paris and had property rights stripped away but weren’t compensated for. That’s not the Australian way,” Littleproud said.

Asked whether he remained committed to the Coalition in opposition, Littleproud said the Liberal and National party would continue with discussions,. Still, he pointed out that “the National Party can’t win an election by itself”.

Littleproud is a former banker representing the Queensland seat of Maranoa, the safest seat going into the recent campaign. He said he joined the National party 40 years ago, at 6, handing out National party flyers for his father at the Chinchilla Courthouse.

Maranoa takes 729,000 square kilometers in southwestern Queensland and is one of only three rural seats (including Kennedy and Groom) that voted against marriage equality.

As agriculture minister, Littleproud set up a pilot program to allow businesses to pay farmers for the protection of biodiversity and carbon, a program he said reflected the nation’s commitment to providing incentives for action on climate change.

Davey is an NSW senator, a former water lobbyist with a government relations business, and an army reservist who lives near Deniliquin, near the Murray River in southern NSW.

As the Coalition formulates its policy around the final years of the Murray Darling Basin plan, Davey and new Liberal deputy Sussan Ley, whose seat Farrer runs along the Murray, are expected to create greater pressure on water policy in the southern basin.

“We are a diverse team, and the one thing we all are unanimous on is that the regions are vital for Australia’s economic security going forward,” Davey said.

“We held all of our seats under Michael McCormack. This year, we had all our seats under Barnaby Joyce, and next time, we will have all our hearts and some under David Littleproud.

Bella E. McMahon
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