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Andrew Gee: Why I flipped on Barnaby Joyce

May 30 2022

By Peter Holmes

Concerns Barnaby Joyce might not see out a full term as leader of the Nationals played a role in federal MP Andrew Gee withdrawing support for Joyce.

Gee, who recently retained the seat of Calare at the May 21 federal election in an easy victory, told The Orange News Examiner on Monday night that he supported Queenslander David Littleproud over Joyce and the third candidate Darren Chester at the long party room spill on Monday.

The Nationals open leadership positions after every election.

“I supported David Littleproud in today’s party room ballot," said Gee.

"It was a very difficult decision for the party room, especially after the Nationals didn’t lose a seat in an election where there were heavy losses for the Coalition."

The former minister for veterans affairs said he made his decision about Joyce "with longer term stability in mind. If for example Barnaby had decided to hand over the leadership at some point, I think uncertainty around that would have led to more jockeying, speculation and turbulence".

Gee said all major parties failed to set out a "clear enough vision for the nation" ahead of the election.

"That's why primary votes were down across the board. Working out what that vision is will take a lot of work and you need stability for that.

"It’s going to be a difficult time for the Coalition but I believe the new leadership team will hit the ground running.”

Gee praised Joyce as a "champion of key regional development projects like the inland rail" who has made "an enormous contribution".

A media statement sent out by the deposed leader began in typical Joyce style: "I suppose you think I am sad. Not really”.


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