Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack during a visit to Gympie.
Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack during a visit to Gympie. Renee Albrecht

Joyce fuels leadership speculation, O'Brien backs McCormack

MEMBER for Wide Bay, National Party MP Llew O'Brien has thrown his full support behind Deputy Prime Minister and National Party Leader Michael McCormack amid reports Barnaby Joyce wants his old job back.

Mr Joyce fuelled leadership speculation this week when he described himself as the "elected deputy prime minister” and said while he would not move against Mr McCormack, he would run for the top job if it was vacated.

"Michael McCormack has my full support as leader,” Mr O'Brien told The Gympie Times yesterday.

"We've achieved some great things in Gympie during his leadership,” he said.

No Caption
Michael McCormack and Llew O'Brien on the Bruce Highway near Gympie.

"He was critical to our success in the fight for Section D, the Nolan's regional jobs and investment package $5 million was delivered whilst he was the leader. The list goes on and on.

"We are focused on people not politics,” Mr O'Brien said.

Deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie took a swipe at Mr Joyce this week, saying Australia was frustrated with him over the escalating leadership tension and division over coal-fired power.

"Public commentary from the National Party more generally have been lock step behind Michael McCormack,” Senator McKenzie said.

"Michael McCormack is our leader, we all back him to the hilt, he'll be leading us to the federal election, he's delivered in spades as leader of the National Party.”

With a state election in NSW this month the Nationals leader there has told his federal colleagues to "stop talking about yourselves. We've been through this journey for a long time, people are sick to death of governments that are only focused on their internal ambitions and their own internal issues.”