Conservative Michael McCormack succeeds Barnaby Joyce, who has had to resign because of an extramarital affair with his former press officer, who is expecting a child from him.
A conservative Australian from a rural area, former author of anti-gay statements, was appointed Monday, February 26 Deputy Prime Minister to replace Barnaby Joyce, swept away by a controversy over his extramarital affair with a former collaborator.
Michael McCormack, 53, was elected by the National Party, forming minority of conservative coalition in power to take the head of the party and become number two in the government. “We are the party of small business and farmers and we want to make sure it continues to be , “ McCormack told reporters after the vote.
Mr. McCormack is not as well known as Barnaby Joyce, who gained international notoriety by threatening to euthanize the dogs of US star Johnny Depp who entered Australia illegally . But it is considered a safe bet after the scandal that caused tensions between the NP and the Liberal Party of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, ultimately forcing Mr. Joyce to resign.
It was in turmoil since early February, the date of the revelation of his relationship with a collaborator of almost twenty years his youngest, who is now waiting for his child. He had, moreover, been accused of having contravened the government’s rules by appointing his companion in a ministerial cabinet.
Mr. Turnbull had violently attacked his deputy and decreed the prohibition of sexual relations between the ministers and their collaborators. Mr. Joyce had lambasted in return Mr. Turnbull’s “inappropriate” and “useless” comments . He initially refused to resign , but his position became untenable with information on sexual harassment charges, the origin of which is unknown. Mr. Joyce denies these accusations with force.
The Prime Minister has welcomed the appointment of Mr. McCormack. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 in the rural riding of Riverina, New South Wales. More than twenty years ago, he wrote in an editorial that homosexual relations were “sordid” . But in August, during a national consultation on same-sex marriage, he “apologized wholeheartedly for his words of the time . ” He had also voted in Parliament for the legalization of marriage for all .