Michael McCormack elected Nationals leader as Joyce saga ends

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#Breaking Michael McCormack has been elected the new Leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister.
He won the contest from late entrant into the race – George Christiansen!
Born in Wagga Wagga, Michael has been the member for Riverina since 2010. A former journalist, he is currently the Veterans Affairs Minister, and will enter the cabinet for the first time, possibly as the minister for Small Business.
His elevation comes as Dr David Gillespe withdrew from the contest yesterday as well as David Littleproud, who was canvassing support as late as last night.
Barnaby Joyce now sits on the backbench.

Joyce matters implode as Nationals Partyroom supports leader

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Truth be told, we haven’t written anything about Barnaby this week as each time we got close, the situation exploded again.
Together with the improper employment allegations of his new partner, Joyce has faced further pressure over receiving a house rent free for 6 months. The owner of the house, offered him this to him as a gift, noting his personal circumstances. The pair are friends.
Labor has uncovered that the owner of the house also owns a hotel in Armidale, which the government has used for functions in the past, paid for by the taxpayer. 

This new set of questions revealed on Thursday came at a point where tensions inside the Nationals were beginning to simmer.

Mr Joyce is now on personal leave next week. All reports from Nationals HQ is that they are solidly behind him as the leader.

Dual Citizenship – Round Two

Section 44 Cases

We’re in the final stretches of busting dual citizens in the federal parliament and one thing is for certain – it’s not looking pretty.

Following the publication of the citizenship register, up to 20 MP’s fall into the following categories:

– Some MP’s indicated they had renounced, but the date was after the close on nominations for the 2016 election.
– Some MP’s believed they renounced, but could not find the relevant papers.
– Some MP’s indicated they had connections to another country, but did not provide any documentation that confirmed or denied potential citizenship.

The next step will be for the parliament to refer the MP’s with questionable circumstances to the High Court, who will decide if they need to be booted.

The High Court would likely rule on all the cases in March, meaning that we could be heading to a ‘Super Saturday’ of by-elections in April.

This should be all over by May 2018. We promise.

Barnaby victorious in historic by-election result

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‘We’re getting the band back together!’ said Malcolm Turnbull, upon hearing the massive victory Barnaby Joyce received in the New England by-election.

And massive it was – a 7.3% swing towards him, and primary vote of 64%.

Historically, by-elections in government held seats since WWII have resulted in the Government feeling swings away from them. This is clearly in the opposite direction and is so for three reasons:

He is a popular member, with a prominent position inside the government
He did not have an opposition candidate that was well known.
It’s recognised that he’s in a difficult situation!

Barnaby will take his seat in the House of Representatives once the vote is formally declared. Next stop – Bennelong on December 16

Barnaby Joyce may be a New Zealand citizen

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In a statement to the house a short time ago Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce announced he may be a dual citizen of New Zealand*. He has referred himself to the High Court.

Joyce was born in Australia to an Australian mother and a New Zealand father. The New Zealand High Commissioner believes he is a citizen, because of the descent of his father.
The Joyce case will be sightly different to the others. Senators Ludlam, Waters and Roberts were born overseas and Senator Canavan claims his mother filled in citizenship forms without his consent. Joyce says he has no formal documentation.
He will remain Deputy Prime Minister through this time.
*We’re not joking. This is happening, again. 

Budget 2017: Agriculture & Water


Concessional loans will are again at the centrepiece of the agriculture and water measures for this budget.

For the last few years the government has provided concessional loans to the regions to fund water and agriculture projects. This budget allocates 4 billion dollars to water and farm loans to continue to drive investment.

The agriculture sector in NSW is in celebration mode following the news that a new inland freight link will be constructed. Allowing farmers to get their product faster to the export dock, the rail link will span from Melbourne to Brisbane.

The 8 billion dollar project is expected to begin construction before the end of the year.


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Budget 2017: Regional Development


The regions of Australia are big winners from this budget with major infrastructure projects and fresh investment.

At the heart of this package is a 472 million dollar program to assist the bush in infrastructure projects, which includes 200 million dollars for the ‘building better regions’ fund.

In addition to this, the government will spend 24 million dollars in rural and regional enterprise scholarships and improve mental health services to the bush with a 9.1 million dollar investment through the telehealth service.

More than 8.4 billion dollars will be provided for a new inland rail project spanning from Melbourne to Brisbane.

As well as these measures, the government has begun the process of investigating the outsourcing of Commonwealth agencies to more rural locations. An example of this is the pesticides authority moving to Barnaby Joyce’s electorate in Armidale – it was previously located in Canberra.


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Christensen hangs up the whip

After six months as National Party of Australia whip, George Christensen has quit his role as party whip. The occasionally rebellious MP is known for his frequent objections to Government policy and threats to cross the floor.

When asked if he would rule out a move to the Bernadi or Hansen parties, he didn’t rule it out.