Chester falls short in leadership challenge

Gippsland MP Darren Chester. File photo.

Update: 1.10pm

Darren Chester has taken to Facebook with his thoughts on today’s party room meeting:

“While I missed out on the leadership of the party this morning, I fully support the new leadership team of David Littleproud and Perin Davey. I wish them great success in the future.

“I’m confident they have the skills, energy and experience to unite our party as we stand up for the interests of regional Australians and bring common sense to Canberra.
“I believe our party needs to do more to connect with younger and female voters, and fully reflect the diversity of our regional communities.
“I have no regrets about nominating for the leadership. I would rather take a risk in life and fail, than not try at all.”


Update: 1.07pm

David Littleproud has spoken to the media with his newly-elected deputy, Senator Perin Davey, and the returning leader of the Senate, Bridget McKenzie.

The Queensland MP has described his ascension to the leadership as “the proudest day” of his professional life.

“It has been a National Party that has guided me to who I am and what I am,” Mr Littleproud said.

“The National Party today starts its journey towards 2025, with a vibrant team, ready to articulate the policies that are important to regional and rural Australia, but also to draw on the experience of two former deputy prime ministers in Barnaby Joyce and Michael McCormack.”

Mr Littleproud pledge to lead with “enthusiasm and energy”, and insisted that the change of leader was not an issue of ideology.

“This is about us as a party moving forward, not lurching to the left, not lurching to the right, but bringing this thing called common sense to Canberra,” he said.

“That’s what the National Party believes in and we can to that by creating an environment where both men and women put forward themselves in an environment that encourages that.”

Barnaby Joyce and Darren Chester are yet to speak publicly regarding the leadership ballot.


Earlier: Gippsland MP Darren Chester has lost his challenge to lead the Nationals.

David Littleproud was confirmed as the new federal leader of the National Party at a party room meeting held Monday morning in Canberra, replacing Barnaby Joyce.

Mr Chester had announced his intention to nominate for the Nationals leadership last Friday, following the Liberal-National Coalition’s defeat at the recent Federal Election.

“I think it’s important that we listen to the message that we received over the weekend from the Australian people,” Mr Chester told ABC News Breakfast about his decision.

“I think they want us to be more moderate and more respectful in public debates in this country, they want a calmer democracy, I guess, and I think I can offer that to the room.”

Speaking to the Gippsland Times last week, Mr Chester admitted that he was unlikely to secure leadership of the Nationals, pointing to the fact that his party had not been led by a Victorian MP in five decades.

The Liberal Party also chose a new leader on Monday, with Peter Dutton elected unopposed and Sussan Ley chosen as his deputy.

More to come.