Nats leader tipped to step aside be­fore poll

The Weekend Australian - - FRONT PAGE - DEN­NIS SHANAHAN GEOFF CHAM­BERS

The top lev­els of the Coali­tion ex­pect Michael McCor­mack will make way for his newly ap­pointed deputy David Lit­tleproud to take over the Na­tion­als lead­er­ship in an or­derly tran­si­tion of power.

Leading Na­tion­als and Lib­er­als now be­lieve the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter must step down ahead of the next elec­tion to en­sure the sur­vival of the coun­try party and main­tain sta­bil­ity in­side the Coali­tion.

The Week­end Aus­tralian un­der­stands a change in Na­tion­als lead­er­ship — fol­low­ing Barn­aby Joyce’s failed move against Mr McCor­mack — would see Mr Joyce not chal­lenge for the top job and in­stead work as a min­is­ter in Mr Lit­tleproud’s team.

While no for­mal agree­ment or timetable is in place for the pro­posed tran­si­tion, Coali­tion lead­ers have con­cluded a clean change is re­quired af­ter talks in Can­berra.

Mr McCor­mack told The Week­end Aus­tralian: “I in­tend leading the party to the next elec­tion.”

But he also said: “The lead­er­ship is the gift of the Na­tion­als par­ty­room. A week is a long time in pol­i­tics.”

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