In a bleak year for Australian politics, those who saw the fall of Barnaby Joyce as some rare silver lining might yet turn out to be disappointed. At the time of writing, rumours were circulating of yet another leadership spill — this one in the federal National Party — while Michael McCormack, despite being party leader, remains in the political obscurity from which he was never really plucked.
Joyce has made it clear that he would not be averse to a comeback. The Australian’s Chris Kenny was not wildly exaggerating when he called Joyce “the spiritual head” of the National Party, but that might not be complimentary either to Joyce or to the party. And the path might not be entirely smooth: rural women appear to have remained angry about Joyce’s behaviour — not just the relationship with staffer Vikki Campion that made a wreck of his marriage, but also the alleged sexual harassment that a party inquiry was unable to resolve.