Nationals need a bigger table as new MPs join the party room

FEDERAL Nationals MPs found themselves with an enviable problem when they met for the first time in Canberra since Saturday's election win.

With the party welcoming four new lower house MPs, it quickly became apparent there were not enough seats around the party room table.

There was a buzz in the room as the new Nationals MPs were introduced one-by-one followed by the arrival of party leader Warren Truss, who was later re-elected unopposed.

Despite losing the Western Australian seat of O'Connor to its Coalition partner the Liberals, the National Party enjoyed its best lower house election result since 1998 and will now have 15 MPs in the House of Representatives.

The party succeeded in picking up the New South Wales seats of Page, New England and Lyne - both formerly held by independents - and Capricornia in Queensland.

In fact, Capricornia was only decided two hours before the party room meeting began when Labor's Peter Freeleagus conceded.

The result allowed Michelle Landry, who received a big round of applause from her Nationals' colleagues, to take her place in the party room meeting.

But the biggest cheer for the new MPs was reserved for Kevin Hogan, who managed to defy expectations in unseating Labor's Janelle Saffin in Page.

Mr Truss then congratulated his team on the result.

"It's (the party room) much bigger than it was when I arrived in 1990 and the biggest, I think, since 1998.

"It's just fantastic and very well done to everyone involved," Mr Truss said.

Barnaby Joyce, who won New England after resigning from the Senate mid-term, was elected as the deputy leader after seeing off a challenge from John Cobb.

Nigel Scullion will replace Mr Joyce as the party's leader in the Senate, with Fiona Nash getting the deputy's role.

Mark Coulton will continue as the Nationals' chief whip and Bridget McKenzie will be the party's Senate whip.



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