JUST one vote separated Riverina MP Michael McCormack and a job as deputy leader of the Nationals, it has emerged in the wake of Thursday night’s ballot.
In a remarkable turn of events, more than a third of the federal Nationals party room nominated for the deputy leader’s job after Barnaby Joyce replaced Warren Truss as leader.
The job eventually went to Riverina-based Senator Fiona Nash.
Even though Mr McCormack had missed out on the top and then deputy job, Charles Sturt University lecturer in politics and history Troy Whitford said you could “never say never”.
“McCormack is an asset … he brings a lot to the party,” Dr Whitford said.
“Anyone who goes into politics is ambitious, they get there because they want to do as much as they can.”
Dr Whitford believed Mr McCormack would not be too bothered by missing out.
After several resignations, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to reshuffle cabinet this weekend.
“McCormack has good leadership potential, you will certainly see him as a full minister (in time),” Dr Whitford said.
“If there is a fourth cabinet position, he would be a likely candidate for it and it’s a good opportunity for the PM to get rid of the dead wood.”
Meanwhile, Mr McCormack said the matter of a reshuffle was purely for the PM and deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to work out.
“I’m sure that whatever they come up with, it will feature plenty of talent,” Mr McCormack said.
“I’m ready to serve if asked to continue in a ministerial role.”
He said even with any additional duties he would put the Riveirna first.
Mr McCormack said he was looking forward to working with deputy leader Fiona Nash as she is based in Mr McCormack’s electorate.
“She has been a voice for regional Australia and southern NSW since she was elected,” Mr McCormack said.
Mr McCormack said it sent a signal to grassroots members they could rise to the top of the party.
Mr McCormack said he was ready for Tumbatrek on Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to that fresh Kosciuszko air, it will be better than the rarefied air in Canberra,” he said.
“I’m just heading home to pick up my hiking shoes, Akubra and Tim Fischer’s walking stick.”