It’s been a tough few weeks for the Nationals, after leader Barnaby Joyce announced he was resigning following a scandal which saw his secret romance with a pregnant staff member exposed.
And now Nationals MP George Christensen, who is known for being outspoken with his views, has boldly called for an end to the coalition as it currently stands – instead revealing his hope for the National Party to push the “reset button” and end their 95-year partnership with the Liberals, before forming a coalition with “regional Australia” instead.
Christensen, who has threatened to leave in the past if Malcolm Turnbull remains in power, says the Liberals have now begun “lurching further away from the values we still hold,” in a lengthy public Facebook post.
“The National Party should be in coalition with the people who work hard to build this country, to feed its people, and to secure a better future for our children,” he wrote, before adding: “I need the support of the National Party, not the shackles of an aimless Liberal Party.”
If the parties were to break their long-running agreement – and there are no solid signs they will – it could spell trouble for Turnbull’s party.
Surprisingly, Christensen said he would support the Liberals if it came to it, (under a number of conditions), as he believes the compromises being made are becoming “increasingly difficult to accommodate.”
“I believe the formal Coalition is too restrictive. I would rather see a Liberal Prime Minister, Liberal Deputy Prime Minister, and a full cabinet of Liberal Ministers than have to compromise our values and the welfare of the good people we represent,” he wrote on the social media site.
It comes after Barnaby Joyce stepped down as leader on Friday following revelations he’s expecting a child with a former staff member, Vikki Campion.
According to several reports, Riverina MP Michael McCormack is currently the favourite to replace him, but there is also competition from NSW MP David Gillespie, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Meanwhile, Christensen himself recently sparked outrage as he was slammed by Turnbull for a “very inappropriate” photo of him posing with a gun, reportedly captioning it: “Do you feel lucky, greenie punks?”
It sparked a police investigation, and he eventually deleted the offensive photo.