Michael McCormack was our nation’s 19th deputy prime minister. While he lost that title this week, no one can take away his membership of this select club and the service he provided to the nation.
Michael is a man of impeccable integrity. He worked hard as deputy prime minister. He was a regular visitor to Central Queensland. He was recently here to inspect progress on the Rookwood Weir, one of many projects he got moving as infrastructure minister.
Michael’s class shone through this week when he stood down, after a tough loss, in one of the most dignified acts seen in our House of Representatives.
Michael was replaced as deputy prime minister by Barnaby Joyce because a majority of the Nationals party room re-elected Barnaby as their leader. I moved the motion to ‘spill’ the leadership position and bring on that vote. I did so because I believe that we need a fighter like Barnaby to protect our jobs, our community and our way of life from the constant attack from woke, radically left wing activists.
Barnaby needs no introduction. Barnaby was deputy prime minister at the 2016 election and he successfully helped re-elect the government then. Barnaby is one of the few Australian politicians known by his first name. There are people that love him, there are people that hate him, and there probably isn’t that many in between.
Barnaby is a quintessentially Australian politician. He grew up near a small country town, Danglemah, where his parents tried to scratch out enough money to stay farming. That gives him his rough, country edges. But he also went to boarding school at Riverview in Sydney. He knows more Latin than most. He is a student of Ancient Rome.
Barnaby speaks his mind and that sometimes gets him in trouble. Australians, more than most others I think, love someone who speaks directly. Love him or hate him you know where Barnaby stands.
Barnaby was re-elected leader of the Nationals this week because he has courage. In Canberra, there is pressure to conform to a way of thinking, to adopt certain positions. In Canberra, emissions must be lower (whatever the cost), coal is a dirty word and dams hurt the environment.
Barnaby doesn’t care what people think of him in Canberra. So many Australians do not believe that Canberra represents them. Barnaby gives these ignored people a voice.
If we had listened to the Canberra classes, the Rookwood Weir would not be going ahead. But thanks to when Barnaby was leader, we have a major water project underway just 50 kilometres west of Rockhampton. That will secure Rockhampton’s water supply and it will generate thousands of jobs for decades.
If we had listened to the Canberra classes, the inland rail would remain just a study. Instead, we are building the nation’s first narrow gauge rail line through inland Australian, connecting Melbourne to Brisbane. We are now fighting to extend this rail line to Gladstone.
Now the Canberra classes want to sign away Australian jobs under an international ‘net zero’ emissions agreement. Net zero emissions is just a slogan that means we will shut down your industry, take away your jobs and give lots of money to the investment bankers that will trade the net zero certificates.
Australia does not need slogans. With the rise of an aggressive China, we need action to restore our manufacturing strength and become as powerful as possible as quick as possible.
Politics is about making decisions and making decisions is about deciding priorities. With Barnaby back in regional Australia’s corner, Australia will be put first.