Are the Nationals about to rip themselves apart over climate change, the future of coal and fresh internal divisions? The Bug late yesterday sat down with Nationals leader Michael McCormack (above) to discuss that prospect and the future of a stable Coalition with the Liberals.
The Bug: Mr McCormack, thanks for your time today.
McCormack: Time? What is it?
The Bug: It’s the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole, but that’s not important right now.
McCormack: No I mean…. what time is it?
The Bug: Well it’s 5.30pm. Is that a problem?
McCormack: No, no. Not at all. I’ve just got some calls to make later.
The Bug: Perhaps those calls are why we’ve wanted to have a chat to you today. The resignation of Llew O’Brien and now his election as Deputy Speaker? Surely, that’s a sign on ongoing instability in the Nationals?
McCormack: Of course not …. and I don’t think I’m being surly at all. Llew is still committed 100% to the excellent work of the Morrison-McCormack Coalition government, even if there’s only a one-in-four chance of that.
The Bug: But you’ve got to accept that Mr O’Brien is a big supporter of your former leader Barnaby Joyce who remains a thorn in your side and could challenge again?
McCormack: Not at all. I talked to Barnaby just this morning and I said to him: ‘I’m sure that we can handle this situation maturely, just like the responsible adults that we are. Isn’t that right, Mr… Poopy Pants?’
The Bug: You called him Mr Poopy Pants?
McCormack: I was trying to keep things civil.
The Bug: Fair enough. Besides, I suppose you had to do something?
McCormack: Doing nothing is very hard to do … you never know when you’re finished.
The Bug: Did the reportedly close vote in the Nationals parliamentary caucus come as a shock to you, maybe even a bitter disappointment? Tell us the truth now.
McCormack: Truth hurts. Maybe not as much as jumping on a bicycle with the seat missing, but it hurts.
The Bug: So you’re confident you’re keeping on top of things?
McCormack: Like a midget at a urinal I’m going to have to stay on my toes.
The Bug: What do you see as the main point of difference between the Nationals MPs who voted for you last week and those who supported Mr Joyce?
McCormack: When it’s all boiled down, the differences are almost negligible really. I’m happy with the size of the COAL in the COALition and Barnaby wants more COAL in it.
The Bug: That’s very funny but can’t you be serious for a moment?
McCormack: I am being serious and stop calling me a cunt.