Member for Riverina Michael McCormack “has not considered” whether he would run for the Nationals’ deputy leadership in the wake of a High Court ruling that leaves the party without its leadership team.
Both party leader Barnaby Joyce and deputy leader Fiona Nash were ruled to be dual citizens, which made them ineligible for election to the Australian parliament.
Mr McCormack said on Friday the party was to appoint Northern Territory Senator Nigel Scullion as interim parliamentary leader, while Mr Joyce would remain as overall party leader.
Mr Joyce has already indicated he is intending to contest a by-election for his seat of New England on December 2.
“I honestly didn’t know which way this would go,” Mr McCormack said on Friday.
“The High Court has reached a decision and we have to respect that decision.”
Mr McCormack said the party would now be concentrating its efforts on getting Mr Joyce re-elected.
He was unable to say on Friday what would happen to Senator Nash.
“We will have to wait and see what happens,” Mr McCormack said.
He is also yet to consider whether he would nominate for the role of deputy leader.
“I haven’t even thought about it yet,” Mr McCormack said.
Charles Sturt University lecturer Troy Whitford has described the loss of the Nationals’ leadership team in this way as “unprecented”.
“You’ve got to give them some time. They will be in shock. There’s a lot of things going around and really at this stage we can only speculate,” Dr Whitford said.
He did have one prediction: “I do think it is likely Barnaby will be re-elected.”