Barnaby Joyce faces another challenger to the National Party leader, with his deputy, David Littleproud, confirming that he will also run for the party’s chairwoman position.
Deputy Citizens Leader David Littleproud has confirmed he will challenge Barnaby Joyce as leader when the party meets in Canberra on Monday.
It follows Gippsland MP Darren Chester, who has also announced his intention to run for the party’s top position.
Littleproud, a Maranoa MP and former agriculture secretary, said he informed Mr. Joyce of his intention on Saturday.
“I notified Barnaby Joyce this afternoon of my intention to run for Citizens Leader,” he said in a statement.
“I also took the opportunity to thank him for all his services to our party.
“I feel like this is the time to introduce myself in order to consider my party room as their leader.
Ultimately, this is a decision on who will lead the citizens to the elections of 2025. Therefore, out of respect for my colleagues, I will not make any further public statements until after Monday’s meeting.”
ABC reported that nine citizens privately expressed their intent to support Mr Littleproud in a leadership vote.
The ABC said others either supported Mr. Joyce or were undecided.
Darren Chester says he’s going to challenge Joyce
Earlier, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Darren Chester confirmed he would challenge Barnaby Joyce for citizen leadership when the party meets on Monday.
“We need to be honest with each other in the party room and take some responsibility for the city’s liberal toll,” Chester told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age late Thursday.
“How we develop our policies, deliver our mission, and work with our coalition partners in the future will determine whether we can return to government and provide assistance to regional communities.”
Mr. Chester added that it was time for a change at Nationals.
Mr. Joyce’s position as Citizens Leader was threatened after the coalition lost last weekend’s federal election, with many saying he bears at least partly responsibility, and some colleagues speaking of his detrimental effect on the party.
According to Mr. Chester, many of his constituents expressed support for him during the campaign, but said they “could not stand” Mr. Joyce as leader.
“We can’t pretend these things weren’t a problem for us in our seats because we were seeing some backlash,” he told The Project on Tuesday night.
“At any time after a federal election, leadership positions for the National Party become available, so it is a natural transition point in the party room.
“I’m thinking of raising my hand for this role.”
A member of the East Victoria electorate in Gippsland said he was concerned the party was a burden on liberal candidates in cities – something Mr Joyce denied.
“It’s a bit like a surgeon coming out of an operation saying, ‘The operation was very successful, but the patient died,'” he said.
Deputy leader David Littleproud and former leader Michael McCormack have also hinted at racing and are expected to face challenges on Monday.
McCormack previously spoke of Mr. Joyce’s popularity with voters, saying he believed the election result would have been more favorable to the citizens had he remained a leader.
“The voices were much louder last time than they were this time,” McCormack told reporters on Monday.
“There should not be a change in the leadership of the National Party in June last year, there simply should not be.”
Connecting with younger voting groups and women will be a challenge for the party moving forward especially as more people move from cities to regional seats during the pandemic, according to Mr Chester.
“I think we need to look at what our future as a party looks like in this respect,” Chester said.
Mr Chester, who said during the campaign that he supported Australia in achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, described the citizens in many ways as a “loose coalition of like-minded independents”.
“There are people from North Queensland, people like me from southeast Victoria, very different communities that we represent but have a common passion for regional Australia,” he said.
Talk of leadership challenges within the party came after Joyce declared he was “going nowhere” in the wake of Saturday night’s election results, the Daily Telegraph reported.
“I’m not going anywhere,” said Mr. Joyce, regarding rumors at the time that Darren Chester or David Littleproud might consider challenging their leader and call on the Liberal Party to become more “moderate” to so-called “seasoned” voters.
“I stand on the premise that we took every seat, won a seat in the Senate, and got within walking distance of two more seats against the massive tide,” said Mr. Joyce.
“Wouldn’t the liberals like the result we got?”
Originally published as David Littleproud, Darren Chester to Challenge Barnaby Joyce for National Leadership