When the LNP last lost Government in 2007, the Nationals party was reduced to a party room of just 10 members. A subsequent by-election loss reduced our representation to single digits.
The outlook was dire. There had been a global surge in concern about climate change following the Stern review and a documentary by Al Gore. The Nationals' traditional defence of farming, mining and manufacturing looked out of date for the coming new world order. Anyone remember Rudd's "toolbox of the 21st century" or his "Green new car plan"?
John Anderson, a former Deputy Prime Minister and scion of the Nationals, wrote a review of the election. He recommended that the Nationals party was not viable as a stand alone entity and that it should merge with the Liberal Party. In Queensland, the parties did merge, although more for reasons to do with the state election system than federal.
Despite the dark horizon, within just a few years the Nationals party burst back, pulled off a stunning capture of seats and, with Liberal victories too, helped force Labor to minority government after just one term.
The story of how this phoenix-like rise from the ashes occurred has never been fully told. But at the centre of it is Barnaby Joyce. At the 2009 Nationals Federal Convention Barnaby gave the "Cortes" speech.
Barnaby riffed of the legend of the conquistador Hernan Cortes, who reportedly ordered his men to burn their boats after they had just landed in the Americas. The message to his men, hidden in the rising smoke was clear, there was no turning back, they had to succeed or perish.
Barnaby argued that now was the time for the Nationals to take such a risk. The Nationals should fight Kevin Rudd's proposal for a carbon emissions trading scheme because it was a "big, new tax" on regional jobs. In Barnaby's view, to succeed the Nationals needed the same frame of mind as Cortes's men, to fail was not an option.
The odds were daunting. At the time, just 7 per cent of Australians opposed Rudd's climate policy. The Liberals and Nationals parties had also proposed introducing an emissions trading scheme at the 2007 election.
Still the Nationals pushed on. Eventually, Tony Abbott's Liberals would join the crusade. The new carbon tax was defeated. Later we would show similar steel in defeating the mining tax and supporting the development of the Adani mine in the Galilee Basin.
The coal and gas industries had a decade of record growth helping areas like Central Queensland grow and develop. The Nationals have not lost a seat in Parliament since.
This week Barnaby lost the Nationals leadership despite the party holding all seats at the last election. In light of the overall loss of government, the party has chosen a new leader. I wish David Littleproud, and his Deputy, Perin Davey, all the best.
The Nationals have succeeded over the past decade not because of Barnaby, or any one individual, but because we have fought fearlessly for the interests of the Australian people.
We have taken up that fight even when it has been thought to have been unpopular. By doing so we put our own seats and jobs at risk. However, people tend to rally around someone that is willing to sacrifice for them.
To continue our success the Nationals must always put the interests of people who live away from the capital cities ahead of merely winning elections alone.
Ultimately, the old Latin saying is true, fortune favours the brave.