SYDNEY – National Party’s Michael McCormack replaced Barnaby Joyce on Monday as Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister.
Joyce announced his resignation on Friday after an allegation of sexual harassment against him was revealed by the National Party, which followed the fallout over an affair he had with a former employee, who is now his partner and is pregnant with his child.
McCormack said in a statement that the Nationals would continue its coalition partnership with the Liberal party, calling it “the most successful partnership in Australian political history.”
“We are a strong team and we know together we can achieve great outcomes for our nation,” he said.
The former minister for Veterans’ Affairs met on Monday with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“I’m delighted to welcome the appointment of Michael McCormack as the new leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister,” Turnbull said in a statement.
“Michael McCormack is a strong advocate for rural Australia. He will continue his party’s long tradition of standing up for farmers and all those living in regional Australia,” the prime minister added.
On Thursday, the National Party confirmed it had received a complaint over Joyce’s alleged involvement in a sex scandal, and his relationship with his former employee has been questioned by some National Party members for having damaged the image of the conservative, traditionally rural-based party.
Turnbull banned sexual relations between ministers and their staffers in response, and said that Joyce had made a “shocking error of judgment,” comments that Joyce later described as “inept.”
Joyce, 50, announced on Friday as that he would step down as the National Party’s leader, but said he would stay on as a member of parliament for New England.