They have their obvious differences, but new Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce insists there is no gulf between himself and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Joyce, elected unopposed to replace the retiring Warren Truss, believes ‘in a funny way’ there’s a real similarity, given they both made their ‘own way in the world’.
‘That means that both Malcolm and myself see the world through the prism of practicality and making sure we’re not tied to any philosophy but tied to a desire to do the very best for the nation,’ he told ABC radio on Friday.
Mr Joyce acknowledged there would be times when the coalition partners did not agree on every issue.
‘We’re a business partnership, not a marriage,’ he said.
The incoming deputy prime minister confirmed a fourth cabinet position is on the cards for the Nationals.
But any other changes to the coalition agreement will be reviewed by deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash and Senate leader Nigel Scullion.
Mr Turnbull congratulated Mr Joyce and Senator Nash in a brief meeting on Thursday night, saying he was excited to work with both of them.
‘I’m very pumped up, I think it’s a great result and I think this will be a very formidable team. We haven’t got long to go to the election,’ the prime minister said.
Senior Liberal Christopher Pyne said the new partnership would be good for Australia because they represent all sides of the political spectrum.
‘They’re yin and yang in politics,’ he told the Nine Network.
Mr Joyce has vowed to be a champion for regional Australia and build on the work of the party’s ‘most recent giant’ Warren Truss.
He becomes the 13th leader of the Nationals, while Senator Nash is the first woman in a leadership role.
She will join five Liberal female MPs in the cabinet.