SUPPORT: MP Llew O'Brien has praised recently resigned Deptuy PM Barnaby Joyce as supportive and aware of what electorates like the Wide Bay need.
SUPPORT: MP Llew O'Brien has praised recently resigned Deptuy PM Barnaby Joyce as supportive and aware of what electorates like the Wide Bay need. Rowan Schindler

Llew backs Barnaby up until the end

"INCREDIBLY supportive" and holding "a great understanding of what the Wide Bay electorate needs" is how Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien has described Barnaby Joyce after the Deputy PM's resignation.

The Member for Wide Bay praised Mr Joyce, who resigned as Deputy PM and Nationals leader yesterday amid a political storm over his relationship with former media advisor Vikki Campion.

Mr O'Brien voiced support for Mr Joyce earlier in the week, saying the matter had been "heavily scrutinsed" and he did not believe the Deputy PM had committed "a sackable offence".

After Mr Joyce resigned, the Member for Wide Bay praised him as a "very good" and "capable" minister.

"Barnaby visited Wide Bay a number of times during the last federal election campaign and in his time as Deputy Prime Minister.

"He has a strong interest in the Bruce Highway and a keen understanding of the importance of Section D Cooroy to Curra, which I know he has highlighted to his cabinet colleagues.

"I have always found Barnaby to be incredibly supportive and to hold a great understanding of what the Wide Bay electorate needs, and I worked closely with him to secure funding for a number of projects," Mr O'Brien said.

"My focus is and always will be delivering for Wide Bay. Lowering unemployment and stopping the needless deaths on the Bruce Highway are my priorities and I look forward to continuing to work with the party's new leader in pursuit of those and many other goals."

Mr Joyce's relationship with the now-pregnant Ms Campion has been the subject of an intense public backlash, with revelations there had been a series of jobs created for her in the offices of other Nationals MPs

He will remain as an MP and move to the backbench.

In a statement, the departing Nationals leader again denied sexually harassing a woman in 2011 but said the allegations helped him decide to quit.

He hoped his resignation would help end 16 days of scandal.

"It's incredibly important that there be a circuit-breaker, not just for the parliament but more importantly a circuit-breaker for Vikki, for my unborn child, my daughters and for Nat (Mr Joyce's ex-wife)," he told reporters in Armidale.

"This has got to stop."

He denied the sexual harassment allegation but called it the "straw that broke the camel's back".

Sportsbet has named Michael McCormack as the favourite to become the new Nationals leader at $1.65, followed by David Littleproud ($3), David Gillespie ($4.50) and Andrew Broad ($7.50).

The new leader will be elected in a party room ballot on Monday.

Gympie Times


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