THE New England Nationals have quashed rumours of Barnaby Joyce retiring anytime soon, with the branch throwing its support behind the embattled MP.
Nationals leader Michael McCormack said it would be up to the local branch whether or not Mr Joyce stayed in politics.
“That’ll be a matter for a branch to nominate him and then that’ll be a matter for the branch members in New England as to whether or not they decide if he nominates or if anybody else nominates,” Mr McCormack said.
Chair of the New England Nationals Electorate Council, Russell Webb, said there had been “absolutely no talk” of Mr Joyce going anywhere
“To my knowledge, from where I sit, I’ve heard nothing to the contrary,” Mr Webb said.
“People might have been talking amongst themselves, but there is no talk among the party members.
“Many people may have had their own thoughts on everything that’s happened up to this point in time, but I can’t imagine anything other than running with what we’ve got at the moment.”
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Mr Webb expect Mr Joyce to return from his two weeks of personal leave and “continue to represent the electorate”.
“As far has standing again, that’s his decision, but I’ve got no doubt he’ll put his hand up to run at the next election,” Mr Webb said.
“I’ve got no reason to believe anything other than that.”
Mr Webb said the New England MP still had very strong support in the electorate “even though he probably has lost some”.
“Hopeful that once this interview is done and dust, that puts it to bed and we can move on to more important things in this region, and get on with life,” he said.
“Regardless of who you are or what side of politics you’re on, going from deputy prime minister to a backbencher in such a short time would be hard.
“But Barnaby is somebody that’s got a level of resilience that’s not very common.”