Canavan’s fall to backbench triggers Nationals rebellion
THE political fall from grace of Central Queensland-based Nationals Senator Matt Canavan has sparked discontent within the party and the threat of a rebel group splintering off to derail the Coalition Government's political agenda.
Regarded as one of the National party's brightest talents, the former Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Canavan was one of the losers of leader Michael McCormacks Cabinet reshuffle, relegated to the back bench after doing the "honourable thing" by resigning in support of Barnaby Joyce's leadership bid.
After sitting in the role of Minister for Resources and Northern Australia for more than two years, Senator Canavan was replaced by Bundaberg based Keith Pitt, a former sugar cane farmer, tradesman and engineer, who will helm a new super-portfolio of Resources, Northern Australia and Water.
Outraged by Mr McCormack's decision to shun Joyce's backers for Cabinet positions in the reshuffle, Mr Joyce has warned Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday that it created a "precarious position" where a group of rebel Nationals would be formed in the House of Representatives.
The government holds a slender two seat majority which is under threat from at least three Nationals MPs - Barnaby Joyce, George Christensen and Llew O'Brien - who were prepared to use their balance of power to vote down government legislation in retaliation for Mr McCormack's refusal to promote any of his opponents to the frontbench.
Mr Morrison called for calm after Mr Joyce's warning about the breakaway group saying he recognised the instability and resentment caused by a leadership challenge and would be prepared to listen to all MPs' particular concerns about legislation.
It is unclear if Senator Canavan will go rogue in his role on the back bench but he will reveal his plans for the future in an interview this afternoon with The Morning Bulletin.
The Senator has posted a comprehensive explanation on social media to his 12,000 followers.
Read the full post below:
A lot happened in Australian politics this week. I have stood down as the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia as a result of the leadership contest in the Nationals party and I would like to explain to you my decision.
It has been a great honour to be the Resources and Northern Australia Minister. I want to thank the many who have supported me to achieve great things, especially the jobs we have created in our mines and in the north. I wish my successor, Keith Pitt, all the best in his new role and congratulate Michelle Landry on her appointment as Assistant Minister for Northern Australia.
Our wealth producing industries, like farming, mining and manufacturing, have never been under greater attack. Farmers have had their land rights stripped off them, dams are stopped because of some snail or frog and mines get sabotaged by rich, city-based whingers who threaten and bully law abiding businesses.
I believe we must fight fire with fire. When we do we normally win. That's what I did on Adani. I didn't get intimidated, I didn't back down to the bullies and now we have a fantastic mine creating thousands of jobs in central and north Queensland. All the greenie activists are left with is lots of useless Stop Adani merchandise.
My judgement was that Barnaby was a firebrand who could get that job done. I made the call that I thought was right and I am at ease to live with the consequences. I respect the decision of the Nationals party room to re-elect Michael McCormack as leader and I have given him my full support.
The fire hasn't gone out in me though. I will return to focusing on my job as a Senator for Queensland. Being a Senator is such a great honour. I am fired up to get stuck back into the job of fighting radical green activists and other "white flagists" in our midst.
I am not ready to raise the white flag on factory jobs, on farming development and on building dams. I am not going to surrender to the meek mice who seem to think that where appeasement has failed every time, it will just happen to work with the Greens.
We have so much more to build in this country if we just regained our confidence, got rid of red tape and let people do things again.
Our laws are like a big chokehold on anyone that wants to show enterprise. If our modern green tape was in place in Captain Cook's times then Aborigines would have had nothing to worry about. Do you reckon greenies would let us build Creek St in inner city Brisbane today? There would have been some frog or leaf in the creek which would have allowed them to stop it.
I will take up this fight and I am looking for things to do. So if you want a fighter that will defend jobs, build industry and pursue our nation's destiny just get in touch with me.