Michael McCormack replaces Barnaby Joyce as Australia’s new deputy prime minister

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Michael McCormack MP
Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack MichaelMcCormackMP/Facebook

Australia has declared Michael McCormack as its new deputy prime minister on Monday following former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce’s announcement of his resignation. McCormack, who once wrote a tirade against gay people, was elected as after defeating Nationals MP George Christensen in a party room vote.

The Member for Riverina will take the previous position of Joyce, who announced on Friday that he was resigning as leader of the Nationals after an extramarital affair with his former press secretary was exposed. The National Party leader automatically becomes deputy prime minister under the terms of the coalition agreement with the Liberal party.

McCormack has confirmed that he has been elected by the National Party. “I will honour the faith and trust and responsibility by always doing my best,” he told reporters. Joyce, who is expecting a son with his partner, will remain as the member for New England on the backbench.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he is looking forward to working with the new National party leader. Speaking to reporters in Washington DC, he thanked Joyce for his service as deputy prime minister. “I think he’s taken the right decision and the judgment he’s made in resigning is the right one for himself and his family and, as I said, we thank him for his service and look forward to working with his successor,” Turnbull said.

Australia’s declaration of its new deputy prime minister is expected to ease pressure on a government that was threatened to be fractured following the revelations of Joyce’s affair.

However, McCormack’s election has gained various reactions, specifically because of an article he penned in 1993. The former newspaper editor had penned a column that focuses on gay people and describes homosexuality as “sordid.” But the Veterans’ Affairs minister insisted that he no longer hold these views and has voted in favour of same-sex marriage.

McCormack started working as a cadet journalist with local paper the Daily Advertiser. He first came to parliament in 2010 and has held various roles in the junior ministry, which include assistant to the deputy prime minister, assistant defence minister and small business minister.

From Wagga Wagga in New South Wales’ Riverina region, he was raised on family farms at Marrar and Brucedale. He resides in the Riverina with his wife and three children.

ABC News (Australia)/YouTube