MICHAEL McCormack has signalled his intention to serve in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s cabinet after the sudden resignation of two ministers and a looming reshuffle.
The Riverina MP told the Advertiser he stood ready to serve – a move a Wagga political expert believes may be a thinly veiled pitch to the PM.
“Cabinet spots are at the behest of the Prime Minister with consultation with the Deputy Prime Minister,” Mr McCormack said.
“If the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister feel I am someone they want in the cabinet, I would be privileged and honoured to serve."
An elevation to cabinet would be a remarkable rise for the former newspaper editor turned MP.
After three years on the backbench, Mr McCormack was appointed parliamentary secretary to the finance minister, while the dumping of Tony Abbott saw him promoted to assistant minister status – a role which has significantly increased his time away from the electorate.
Charles Sturt University political lecturer Dr Troy Whitford believes Mr McCormack’s experience warrants a position in cabinet.
Dr Whitford said the MP is also considered to be on the “shortlist” to replace Nationals’ leader Warren Truss, who is expected to announce his retirement soon.
“Michael McCormack would be in contention,” he said. “He’s well-disciplined, he stays on message, he’s articulate and he’s got the interests of the community at heart. He is certainly different to (former Riverina MP) Kay Hull in style and approach, but he equally treats the Riverina with respect.”
Dr Whitford said a cabinet posting would put Mr McCormack at the “epicentre” of decision-making.
“There is always benefits with having your local member in cabinet,” he said.
“They are at the epicentre of decision-making and when you’re making those decisions, you’re mindful of your electorate.”
However, etched in Riverina political folklore is the former MP’s reluctance to accept a ministerial posting for fear her electorate would take a back seat during tough times.
“When you’re a minister, you belong to the nation … you are in every state and territory,” Mrs Hull said.
“In those times, my electorate wanted me there on the journey with them. We’re in very different times now, and I would 100 per cent support Michael in his ministerial quest.”
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