The Turnbull government needs to move on from the furore surrounding Barnaby Joyce, who “clearly” doesn’t plan on going anywhere, cabinet minister Mathias Cormann says.
The soon-to-be acting prime minister was laying out the coalition’s plans on Wednesday amid ongoing questions about the future of Mr Joyce, who is on personal leave after his extramarital affair with a former staffer was revealed.
When it was put to him that Mr Joyce was not going anywhere, Senator Cormann replied: “That is clearly what he is saying”.
“We just keep doing the job that we were elected to do, do the best we can to secure more jobs and higher wages,” he told Nine Network.
Mr Cormann said the nation needed to move on from the saga.
“We must move on. The country wants us to move on, we must move on, we need to focus on the things we were elected to do,” he said.
“Our next priority is to get our business tax cuts through the Australian Senate so that Australian businesses can be globally competitive.”
Mr Joyce is defying anyone suggesting he stand down as Nationals leader in the wake of the breakdown of his 24-year marriage and relationship with Vikki Campion who is having his baby.
WA Nationals state leader Mia Davies issued a statement on Tuesday telling Mr Joyce, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, to go.
“Mr Joyce’s actions have caused pain for his family but it is the ongoing damage Mr Joyce is causing the Nationals organisation that is of greatest concern to me as WA leader,” she said.
Mr Joyce pointing out that WA didn’t have any federal MPs and that the eastern states, which had more “skin in the game”, supported him.
“I find it surprising that a federal issue has so much momentum in the west, when people in the east in the National Party have, in the majority, a different view,” he said.
While the WA branch does not have any federal MPs it was second only to the NSW branch in raising political donations last financial year, receiving $1.79 million.
The NSW and Victorian Nationals both say the federal leadership is a matter for federal MPs.
“Further commentary on this issue in the public domain is unhelpful,” the NSW branch said in a statement.