Barnaby Joyce: Can I say right from the start, this is never about me.
It’s about the person in the weatherboard and iron, something that manifestly expressed what the National Party is about.
It’s about the person in Limbri or Woolbrook or Niangala or Dirranbandi, their right to transcend through the economic and social stratification of life.
Their right that even though they might not have had inherited wealth or might not have been born to the best family, or might not have had the best education — their right to advance, limited only by their innate abilities, to get as far ahead in life as they possibly can by the sweat of their own brow.
That is what this has always been about, the incredible privilege that I’m so humbled by, to have been the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, someone who went to Woolbrook Public School.
But it’s only fair on those people in the weatherboard and iron, it’s only fair on that purpose of trying to make sure we continue that advancement of the person so that if they are on the periphery of society, they can have the best opportunities, that there be some clear air.
Over the last half a month, there’s been a litany, a litany of allegations. I don’t believe any of them have been sustained. A litany of allegations.
Might I say right here that any person in any political party always says the leaking, the backgrounding, all that, it will destroy not our government, it will destroy any government.
And we work on the premise that what the National Party has done is so important.
It is the reason that you have a Coalition Government, because at the last election we didn’t lose a seat, in fact we gained one.
We did not lose a seat, we gained one and by so doing, there was a Coalition Government.
But to give these people in the weatherboard and iron, in those regional and small towns, the best opportunity than this current cacophony of issues has to be put aside.
And I think it’s my responsibility to do my bit to make sure that it happens.
Now, might I say, with the last allegation that was in the paper today, I have asked that that be referred to the police.
I’ve asked for the right of the person who’s made the allegation and I’ve asked for my right of defence that that be referred to the police.
But it’s quite evident that you can’t go to the Despatch Box while issues like that are surrounding you.
So, I can’t enter into any discussions about that. As you all understand if it is going to be before the courts, it is going to be before the courts.
But what I will say is that on Monday morning at the party room, I will step down as the leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.
I have informed the acting Prime Minister, Mathias Cormann, of this.
I informed my colleagues of this and there are a couple of other things I would like to clearly say.
I want to thank the people of New England.
I am so humbled that today — today, whilst walking around Armidale, there were people — I don’t want to be so bold, but I got a sneaking suspicion some of them didn’t vote for me, but they were so good at offering their support.
The people of Tamworth, the same, the people in the small towns. I’m so humbled and I thank you for the overwhelming support.
People literally running up, and some of them crying, and offering their support to me.
I just say, I don’t deserve the support that you’ve given me.
I’d like to say that it’s absolutely important, it’s incredibly important that there be a circuit-breaker, not just for the Parliament, but more importantly, that it be circuit-breaker for (Mr Joyce’s partner) Vikki (Campion).
It be a circuit-breaker for my unborn child, it be a circuit-breaker for my daughters and it be a circuit-breaker for (Mr Joyce’s estranged wife) Nat.
It’s got to stop, this has got to stop. And it’s not fair on them.
It’s just completely and utterly unwarranted, the sort of observation that’s happened.
If on a humorous side, I think it’s got to stop for the poor buggers who are parked outside my house every day. I think it’s got to stop the for them as well. They need to go home.
But in all, on Monday morning the whip, Michelle Landry, will have a meeting at 8:00am for the National Party and I will be stepping aside at that point.
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