Page MP Kevin Hogan and new Nationals party leader Barnaby Joyce in 2013.
Page MP Kevin Hogan and new Nationals party leader Barnaby Joyce in 2013.

Hogan excited for new style of National Party leadership

THE National Party's new leadership team is a great outcome for the party and a win for gender equality, according to Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan.  

"I'm really excited about our new leadership team," he said.

"Barnaby is a passionate man and while he has an interesting turn of phrase he is nobody's fool. And Fiona, how wonderful to have the first woman in the Nationals leadership."

Election of 'Barnaby Whisperer' Fiona Nash to deputy leader a wise move by Nationals to calm Joyce down

Mr Hogan said new deputy leader Fiona Nash had a great relationship with the Clarence Valley region through her role as the Minister for Rural Health.

"She has a good background in rural education and knows our region exceptionally well - she has been visiting for 10 years in a political capacity," he said.

As for the direction of the party under Mr Joyce's leadership, Mr Hogan believed there might be some changes.

"I think we will see the Nationals become a little bit more independent, and that Barnaby will be a little bit more public about what we're advocating for," he said.

"Warren didn't seek the limelight. When he had big wins he didn't go out and broadcast them, whereas that style may well change with Barnaby.

"I think the fact he is only one of a few leaders, and that he automatically becomes deputy prime minister - that was not lost on him. He is very conscious of the responsibility and position that he has and I am very much looking forward to working with him as leader."

While Mr Joyce was elected as leader unopposed, a third of the party room, including neighbouring Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker, put their hands up for the job of deputy.

"We have quite a stable leadership; the party's nearly a hundred years old and this is only the 12th or 13th leadership change, so these positions don't come up a lot.

"When they do a lot of people are going to put their hands up."

And while he didn't join in this year, Mr Hogan said he wouldn't rule out putting his hand up for more responsibility in the future.

"I've only been an MP for just over two years, and I love being the Member for Page, but if I'm fortunate enough to be re-elected I may look at putting my hand up for something like that in the future," he said.  

Mixed emotions for Cowper MP

WHILE most of the political commentary this morning is on the new National Party leadership team, there are some within the party room left a little disappointed.

A number of party members unsuccessfully nominated themselves for the role of deputy leader of the Nationals including Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker.

Mr Hartsuyker said the new leadership team of Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash has his full support but he did admit to some disappointment at not being elected to the deputy role by his colleagues.

"If you go to nominate for any position you do so because you wish to fulfill that role and quite clearly there's personal disappointment in not achieving that," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"But I've been in Parliament a long time and it's a pretty brutal business and it's won on the numbers."

federal member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker.  01 April 2015 Photo Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate
federal member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker. 01 April 2015 Photo Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate Trevor Veale

The Cowper MP said each person who nominated for the deputy leader position was given three minutes to speak on why they believe they should be elected before a secret ballot was held.

In the party room he pointed out his experience since first being elected in 2001. He outlined his eight years as a Minister and opposition spokesperson pointing out the development of the mobile phone black spots policy, the Job Active program, Work For The Dole and the work he's doing in his current role including the introduction of the VET-fee help Bill. 

"I've done a fair bit and I put that case but my colleagues chose Fiona Nash and that's democracy," he said.

Mr Hartsuyker said now wasn't the time to dwell on his own personal ambitions being thwarted but the time to look forward with a new leadership team in an election year.

"I think it (the new leadership) presents a different face of the Nationals and I think it stands us in good stead to represent the interests of regional and rural Australia into the future," he said.

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