Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is to step aside to give Barnaby Joyce a chance “to get back on his feet”.
In a selfless act in the otherwise cutthroat business of politics that has stunned the Canberra press gallery, Mr McCormack will resign as Nationals leader this afternoon, paving the way for the larrikin Member for New England to have access not just to the power and privilege that the deputy prime ministership provides but the hefty pay packet that comes with it as well.
The Bug understands that Mr McCormack this morning will talk of the “absolute shock and sorrow” he felt when he became fully aware of Mr Joyce’s economic plight.
“I know I’m a rather dull and boring man but I am also at heart a decent man,” Mr McCormack is expected to say.
“My personal ambitions must always take a back seat when you find a much loved and admired colleague in desperate straits. That’s the country way. When you see someone who is down and out, you do what you can to help get them back on their feet.”
Asked by The Bug whether he was referring to news that Barnaby Joyce has been misusing parliamentary allowances to pay his rent, Mr McCormack said: “No, not at all. Everyone of us rorts those allowances – and any others we can get our hands on, for that matter.
“No, what saddened me greatly was a photo I saw of Barnaby this week begging outside a former colonial bank building in Tamworth around the corner from his electoral office (pictured at top).
“That image made the decision I’m making today as a happily married man in a strong financial position unlike poor Barnaby a very easy one.
“Still, I’m not sure what shocked me most.
“The idea that a man who had once held the second most powerful position in the land had been brought down to this level of desperation, or that being just a humble country accountant at heart, Barnaby couldn’t even spell mouths properly.”