Barnaby Joyce will face a challenge to his leadership at Monday’s Nationals party room meeting after Victorian backbencher Andrew Broad called on him to resign for the good of the party and the country.
Mr Broad, who earlier had attacked Mr Joyce’s character, revealed on Thursday afternoon would take a resolution to the meeting saying the embattled Nationals leader should resign.
The MP for the Victorian seat of Mallee said his views reflected the feeling in his community, saying Mr Joyce should go to the backbench to reflect on controversy engulfing the government sparked by his affair with staffer and now pregnant partner Vikki Campion.
“The Nationals are not people who actually go through this very often and I’m sure these things can be worked out in a conversation in the partyroom and that’s what will happen,” Mr Broad told ABC radio.
“He should see some time out, clear his head and if he’s done nothing wrong in the fullness of time, he’ll come back. He’ll be able to mount his case in the partyroom.”
Mr Broad said he had no leadership ambitions himself and refused to say who he would back if a spill was called.
He questioned Mr Joyce’s decision to conduct a range of media interviews, including telling Fairfax Media he and Ms Campion were preparing to move out of an Armidale townhouse provided to them by a key supporter.
“I’m not here for any ambition and I can’t go anywhere forward or go anywhere backwards,” Mr Broad said.
“I’m a humble backbencher but I have to sit here and think from a national interest, and whoever has to be at times the acting prime minister of Australia, which is traditionally the leader of the Nationals, they have to have their mind on the job,” he said.
“That is no reflection of the person as an individual, that is a reflection on the role and the responsibilities we have as MPs to think what is in the national interest.”
“He is meant to be taking a break and he is clearly playing to the media. This is an issue we should have let quietly die and get on with the core job, but he’s not prepared to do that.”
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