Barnaby Joyce has lost leadership of the Nationals to his deputy David Littleproud.
Mr Joyce faced a challenge from Mr Littleproud and MP Darren Chester in an extraordinarily long party room meeting in Canberra on Monday, which may suggest the poll was extremely close.
The result means Mr Joyce’s second tenure as leader lasted less than a year after he rolled Michael McCormack in June 2021.
Barnaby Joyce has lost leadership of the Nationals to his former deputy David Littleproud
David Littleproud (pictured on election day with girlfriend Amelia Dobson) challenged Mr Joyce for Nationals leadership
Speaking after the ballot, former agriculture minister Mr Littleproud said: ‘This is the proudest day of my professional life.’
The 45-year-old’s election represents a shift in direction for the Nationals and could help see an end to the so-called climate wars.
Mr Joyce had been against the Coalition’s net zero carbon emissions by 2050 target while Mr Littleproud was in favour.
The new leader said: ‘The National Party today starts its journey towards 2025, with a vibrant team, ready to articulate the policies that are important to regional and rural Australia.
‘This is about us as a party moving forward, not lurching to the left, not lurching to the right but bringing this thing called common sense to Canberra.
‘A sensible centre is where you win elections, not chasing extremities down rabbit holes that don’t work,’ he said.
NSW Senator Perin Davey has been elected deputy leader.
Mr Littleproud said he will work closely with the Liberal Party – now led by Peter Dutton – to hold Labor to account and ultimately return to the Coalition to power in 2025.
Mr Joyce made his case on the Seven Network ahead of a party room meeting on Monday, saying the junior coalition party must be doing something right given it retained all its seats at the federal election.
‘We won every seat we had before the election, we had three retiring members and still won the seats (and) we were in striking distance of one of the two seats we will be able to take in the next election,’ he said.
‘The Liberals lost 19 seats.
‘In the last two elections, that I’ve been the leader, we’ve only picked up seats. We must be doing something right but the job is not over.’
Mr Joyce refused to say if he had to numbers to remain leader.
‘That’s hubris. You don’t run around telling people you’ve got the numbers, you leave that to the room and I’ll be doing precisely that,’ Mr Joyce said.
Former defence minister Peter Dutton (pictured with wife) has been elected unopposed as Liberal leader, with former environment minister Sussan Ley taking the deputy spot
Despite the Nationals retaining all their seats at the May 21 poll under Mr Joyce, 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.
Former defence minister Peter Dutton has been elected unopposed as the new Liberal leader, with former environment minister Sussan Ley taking the deputy spot.
Mr Dutton has become the first Queenslander to lead the Liberal Party.
The Dickson MP has been touted as Scott Morrison’s likely replacement since the coalition lost government.
Mr Morrison put on a brave face when he arrived at Parliament House on Monday to watch his successor be elected.
Speaking to reporters after Mr Dutton was titled the new Opposition leader, Mr Morrison said both he and Ms Ley were an ‘enormously experienced team’.
‘I was very pleased that they served in my cabinet, they did outstanding jobs,’ he said.
‘They’re incredibly experienced, well versed, deeply committed Australians to both the Liberal cause and of course the cause of the nation and I think they’ll do an outstanding job.
‘It was a good opportunity for me to thank my colleagues for their great loyalty and support over these past more than three and a half years and to do that both on my behalf as well as on behalf of my dear friend Josh Frydenberg, who we’re all very sad couldn’t be with us today.
‘It’s been a great privilege to lead the federal parliamentary Liberal Party and I hand it over to Peter and Sussan and wish them all the very best.’
Former Liberal leader Scott Morrison put on a brave face when he arrived at Parliament House on Monday