Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has won the tussle over his leadership, but it would be unwise to assume this fight is over.
ANALYSIS: Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has won the tussle over his leadership, but it would be unwise to assume this fight is over.
Barnaby Joyce's most predictable trait is perhaps his unpredictability.
And he's not shy about his desire to return to the top Nationals job.
As the Deputy Prime Minister emerged from the Nationals party room this morning, his smile confirmed what we had already guessed.
The sight of a grimmacing Barnaby Joyce appearing in the corridor moments earlier - before quickly vanishing - had said it all.
It was the role of Chief Whip Damian Drum to state the obvious.
"The Leader's position was won by Mr Michael McCormack."
The Nationals Leader and his new Deputy, David Littleproud, were engulfed by a media pack.
A reporter fired the question: "Did you ask Barnaby Joyce if he'll challenge again?"
"No, I don't expect him to," Mr McCormack replied.
"I've been endorsed as leader."
He had shaken hands with his opponent and they would move on, he insisted.
But whether Mr Joyce is willing to move on from his leadership ambitions is another matter.
He gave little away in a statement released a short time later.
"It is appropriate that if an issue needs resolving as to contentions held, there is a procedure to resolve it," it read.
"That process has been followed and the issue is finalised."
It's virtually impossible to walk away from a leadership spill without any damage done.
Wounds have been opened, and they may now fester.
McCormack fought and won and his opponents have quietly retreated - but he must remain on guard
And the issues that prompted the challenge haven't changed.
Some within the Nationals feel Michael McCormack isn't a tough enough leader.
Some in the junior Coalition partner feel they're taken for granted by the Liberals - and are looking for a heavyweight to stand up for them.
Senator Matt Canavan is one of the casualties of this battle.
Last night, he announced he would resign as Resources Minister, as he declared his support for Mr Joyce.
Mr McCormack was a "great bloke", he said. It was nothing personal.
"We've got a tough job to do in the National Party...we need a bulldog, we need a fighter," he said.
Today, Mr McCormack fought and won - and his opponents have quietly retreated.
But he must remain on guard.
This was a bold coup attempt on the first day of parliament.
Frenemies that bolshy are likely to eventually roll off the backbench and have another crack.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/nationals/f9ca569d-4797-48c3-a28c-1d6368cde56e