Australia’s prime minister hopes a new deputy will restore stability

MALCOLM TURNBULL, Australia’s prime minister, looked relieved when on February 26th the junior party in his coalition, the Nationals, elected Michael McCormack (picured centre) as its new leader and thus deputy prime minister. For almost three weeks Mr Turnbull had endured a festering embarrassment after the press reported an affair between Barnaby Joyce, the previous Nationals leader, and his former press secretary, who is now pregnant. Mr Joyce had at first refused to resign as party leader, despite being caught flouting his own talk of family values. His long goodbye exposed tensions in the coalition, just as Mr Turnbull was trying to revive its fortunes ahead of an election due next year. Leaders of the Nationals have mostly been restrained and unobtrusive. Mr Joyce proved an aberration. As a minister three years ago, he rowed publicly with Johnny Depp, an American actor, who had brought two dogs into Australia without the right paperwork. Last year Mr Joyce had to quit parliament... Continue reading

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