Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has been defeated by National Party member Barnaby Joyce in a leadership contest.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s report, a spill motion was moved to bring on the leadership vote at a party room meeting on Monday morning, when Joyce won in a very close contest, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Nationals form the governing Coalition with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party.

The leader of the Nationals has served as the eputy Prime Minister since the Coalition won power in the 2013 election.

It was reported by local media over the weekend that McCormack, the leader of the National Party, is facing a leadership challenge, with a vote on whether to move a no-confidence motion expected to take place in a party room meeting on Monday.

Earlier on Monday, Morrison showed his support behind his second-in-command amid leadership speculation.

“I’ve got a wonderful partnership with Michael. We’ve worked very closely together,” Morrison told Nine Entertainment radio.

“The Nationals will have their discussions, I’m sure, as they always do, and we’ll just get on with the job.”

–IANS

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