Former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has not ruled out resigning after a coalition defeat in the election.
Mr Joyce was fully re-elected as a member of New England on Saturday night, but the coalition’s departure from the government means he will no longer be second in the team after the Prime Minister.
On Sunday morning, Mr Joyce said his future as leader of a junior coalition partner would be a decision to be made by the Nationals party hall.
“I always, with these things, I just wait and give the party hall the privilege of not publishing it publicly. It’s incredibly important, ”Mr Joyce told reporters in Tamworth after he was pressured into his plans.
“At the moment we have people, we don’t know if they are elected or not. And I’m not going to start … agitating or doing something like that, I’ll let everything be set up. “
And if he gave up the Nationals leadership, Mr Joyce said, it would mean spending “a lot more time in bed”.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
Mr Joyce served as Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister from 2016 to 2018 and resumed that post in 2021 after receiving figures to overthrow his successor, Riverina MP Michael McCormack.
Mr Joyce made his political comeback three years after he lost the Nationals leadership after revelations about his affair with a former employee and accusations of unrelated sexual harassment that he vehemently denied.
In this year’s election campaign, he became a controversial figure when independent Chiris took advantage of his skepticism about clean zero emissions to persuade traditional liberal voters, reminding them that their local MPs voted with citizens on climate change.
On Sunday, Mr Joyce sought to downplay his role in losing the Liberals five seats in the city center to an independent candidate.
“I’m in the National. And liberals are fighting liberals, and nationals are fighting nationals. And the national ones, we took every place, in fact, our party hall is bigger, ”he said.
Mr Joyce suggested that people who voted for the independents should consider whether the coalition would become more conservative after the loss of more tolerant liberals.
“It’s surprising when the party’s tolerant side was mostly sidelined by people who said they were tolerant.”
Asked whether Scott Morrison’s “guilt” was in the coalition’s historic defeat, Mr Joyce replied: “There is no point in going through the charges.”
Citizens maintained the status quo after the election, and the party is expected to retain its seats in New Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
Asked about the future of the coalition and whether a greater distinction is needed between the Liberal and National Parties, Mr Joyce replied: “I will leave this for discussion in my party hall.”
“Now that we have to move from good government – and I think we were good government, and especially to regional Australia – to good opposition,” he said.
“But I hope (work) doesn’t put regional projects in Australia on the sword. We fought because we have to make Australia fair. We need to have extensive investment across our country. ”