Dr David Gillespie confirms he will stand for leadership of the National Party if Barnaby Joyce resigns

Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie.
Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie.

Lyne MP Dr David Gillespie will challenge for the Nationals leadership if Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce resigns.

Dr Gillespie said if the position becomes vacant, he will put his hand up.

“At the moment Barnaby Joyce remains our leader and he enjoys the confidence of my colleagues in the party room,” the federal assistant minister for children and families said in Taree on Friday morning

“Our leader is under enormous pressure, there is a lot of issues he has to work through and if he were to step down, people would ask me if I would put my hand up and yes I would.”

He added that he is not aware of who will run for the leadership and said Mr Joyce must be assumed innocent until proven guilty.

“An allegation has been made and natural justice dictates that we should follow the due process and allow natural justice,” Dr Gillespie said. 

“Allegations are allegations, you must assume someone is innocent until they are proven otherwise.”

Dr Gillespie could not clarify if the case currently before the High Court case, seeking to determine if Dr Gillespie had an indirect financial interest in the Commonwealth, would impact on his chances of becoming Nationals leader of the position became available.

“The High Court is looking at a preliminary matter as to whether the issue has standing,’’ he said.

“If I thought I had a problem I wouldn’t have stood for ministry and I wouldn’t have continued standing.

“It’s a completely different situation to what my other colleagues have had with citizenship issues.’’

Barnaby Joyce has called a press conference for 2pm on Friday where it is expected he will resign as leader of the Nationals.