Australia

Peter Dutton elected leader of Liberal party as Nationals prepare for spill

Former defence minister Peter Dutton has been elected leader of the Liberal Party, with Sussan Ley to serve as deputy.
Former prime minister Scott Morrison – who stepped down as leader of the party following the Coalition’s election loss – congratulated Mr Dutton and Ms Ley.
“They are incredibly experienced, well versed, are deeply committed Australians to both the Liberal cause and because of the nation and I think they’ll do an outstanding job,” Mr Morrison said.
“I look forward to giving them all of my full support.”

Nationals prepare for spill

Barnaby Joyce is preparing for challenges by David Littleproud and Darren Chester for leadership of the Nationals.

Mr Joyce made his case on the Seven Network ahead of a party room meeting on Monday, saying the junior coalition party must be doing something right given it retained all its seats at the federal election.

“We won every seat we had before the election, we had three retiring members and still won the seats (and) we were in striking distance of one of the two seats we will be able to take in the next election,” he said.
“The Liberals lost 19 seats.”

“In the last two elections, that I’ve been the leader, we’ve only picked up seats. We must be doing something right but the job is not over.”

Barnaby Joyce speaking to media

Leader of the Nationals Barnaby Joyce speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. Source: AAP / LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

Mr Joyce refused to say if he had to numbers to remain leader.

“That’s hubris. You don’t run around telling people you’ve got the numbers, you leave that to the room and I’ll be doing precisely that,” Mr Joyce said.

More women in senior positions

Queensland Liberal MP Stuart Robert said earlier that former defence minister Peter Dutton and former environment minister Sussan Ley’s run for the parliamentary positions would not be contested.
“Peter Dutton … and Sussan Ley will be sworn in by the party room uncontested,” he told the Nine Network on Monday.
“(I’m) super happy about the party room and the leadership team we’re bringing in.”

Mr Robert also said he expected there would be more women on the Liberal front bench, following a reshuffle after former ministers lost their seats in the 21 May election.

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“We’ve got so many talented women in our ranks and you’d expect that talent to be recognised and rewarded,” he told Sky News.
“So absolutely, I’d expect far more women just because of the calibre of the women in the Liberal and National parties.”
The party room will also discuss some of the lessons to be learned from the Coalition’s federal election defeat.
“The party room is the opportunity for everyone to get together, to have a conversation, to share how things have gone, not just to elect their leadership team,” Mr Robert said.
“I’m one of the few MPs who was actually here in 2007 (when the coalition also lost), so the time to provide some guidance on what it means in opposition and how we hold the government to account, that will come later.”
Mr Dutton will become the first Queenslander to lead the Liberal Party.

The Dickson MP has been touted as Scott Morrison’s likely replacement since the coalition lost government.

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Mr Dutton, a former police officer, spruiked his credentials for the job of opposition leader following his nomination.
“In a prime minister you need someone who won’t buckle in hard times and will stand up for our country and I have proven that in the portfolios I’ve had,” he wrote on Facebook.
“My work ethic is second to none and I have the skill and experience having served five leaders and have learnt from each.”
Mr Dutton has pledged to take the party back to its core values and represent the aspirational “forgotten people” of Australia.

“We aren’t the Moderate Party. We aren’t the Conservative Party. We are Liberals,” the post said.

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