Barnaby Joyce’s position as Nationals leader is under threat as colleagues speak of his detrimental influence on the party.
According to Nationals MP Darren Chester, several of his voters expressed support for him during the campaign, but said they “can’t stand” Mr Joyce as leader.
“We can’t pretend that these things haven’t been a problem for us in our places, that we’re feeling some reaction,” he told The Project on Tuesday night.
“At any time after the federal election, the leading positions of the National Party become available, so this is a natural transition point in our party room.
“I’m thinking of raising my hand for this role.”
Mr Chester said he was concerned that the party was obstructing liberal candidates in the cities – something Mr Joyce had denied.
“It’s a bit like the surgeon came out of the operation and said, ‘The operation was very successful, but the patient died,'” he said.
A member of East Victoria Gipsland’s electorate has suggested that in the next 24 hours he will talk to fellow citizens to determine how much support he has.
Other names nominated for the leadership include former leader and deputy prime minister Michael McCormack, former agriculture minister David Littleproud and former water and resource minister Keith Pete.
Mr McCormack also spoke about Mr Joyce’s popularity with voters, saying he thought the election result would be more favorable to citizens if he remained the leader.
“Last time the votes were much higher than this time,” Mr McCormack told reporters Monday.
“Last June there should have been no change in the leadership of the National Party, it just shouldn’t have happened.”
According to Mr. Chester, liaison with youth and women’s constituencies will be a challenge for the party moving forward, especially as more people move from cities to regional locations during a pandemic.
“I think we need to consider what our future looks like as a party in this regard,” Mr Chester said.
Mr Chester, who said during the campaign that he supports Australia’s achievement of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, described the Nationals in many ways as a “free coalition of independent like-minded people”.
“There are people from North Queensland like me from south-east Victoria, quite the different communities we represent, but we have a common passion for regional Australia,” he said.
The party will meet next Monday to discuss its leadership.