A vacancy has been created for the Federal Leadership of the Nationals today following confirmation that Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss will retire.
Metropolitan media reports at the time of Beef Central’s publishing deadline today suggested that Deputy Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce will run unopposed in a ballot for the party’s leadership.
Federal President of The Nationals Larry Anthony said history will mark Mr Truss as one of the The Nationals’ greatest leaders, after he took the Party from the despair of the 2007 election loss to a near win in 2010 and triumph in 2013.
In doing so, The Nationals’ numbers in the Federal Parliament have increased to a healthy 21 – made up of 15 MPs and six senators – with aims to increase that tally later this year.
“Warren is the sixth longest federal leader of the party since the Country Party was formed in 1920. His extraordinary service in the House of Representatives to the people of Wide Bay since 1990 means he is the equal fourth longest serving member of today’s Parliament,” Mr Anthony said.
“He has been the ballast for the Coalition and a calming force is a sea of change. Since becoming leader in 2007, Warren’s proven leadership has worked as the steady hand with successive Liberal leaders.
“As a minister he has a record of achievement in agriculture, consumer affairs, trade, regional development, transport and infrastructure, with major progress made in selling our produce to the world, in branding Australian-made products and in building the roads and rail of the 21st century.
“Warren has never forgotten his roots and the major improvements along the Bruce Highway in Queensland are testament to this. His deep and abiding knowledge of aviation has informed improvements in safety and efficiency across that sector, and we are better placed in regional communications for his efforts.
“Warren was also crucial to the campaign to end Labor and the Green’s destructive carbon tax.
“Warren has been involved in public life since becoming a councillor on the Kingaroy Shire Council in 1976, the Shire’s Chairman in 1983 and then Federal Member for Wide Bay in 1990.
“Over 40 years, he has served the people of Kingaroy, Wide Bay, Queensland and Australia with dignity and decency, with a record of remarkable accomplishment.
“Unlike so many in politics, he has been able to decide the time of his own departure. This is even more remarkable given that, today, he is the longest serving federal leader of any political party… and by a long way.
“To Warren and his wife, Lyn, we wish them well on their return to their beloved Maryborough, safe in the knowledge that he has been one of the greats and that regional Australia is a better place to live and work because of his efforts.”
Robb to retire
It was also announced today that Federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb will also retire from Parliament.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described Mr Robb as “most successful Trade Minister in our country’s history”.
“He has landed three enormous free trade agreements with Japan, South Korea and China,” Mr Turnbull said.
“In addition, he has secured agreement of the historic Trans Pacific Partnership, eliminating tariffs on 98 per cent of traded goods and creating better access for Australia’s innovative service industries in 11 leading economies, including the US, Japan and Canada.
“These agreements are driving and securing strong economic growth into the future. They have opened exciting new growth opportunities for Australian business in the world’s most dynamic economies.
“Andrew is engaged in ongoing free trade negotiations with important trade partners which we hope to bring to a successful conclusion in the not too distant future.
“I will announce new ministerial arrangements in due course.”