Deputy PM Warren Truss to resign from politics
DEPUTY Prime Minister and Wide Bay MP Warren Truss is expected to announce his plans to retire from politics.
Speculation over his future in politics has been a constant in recent weeks, with the Nationals Leader asked about his future plans at almost every public appearance.
Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodino has told Sky News that Mr Truss will make a statement about his future tomorrow.
Fairfax Media is reporting Mr Truss is not expected to step aside as Deputy Prime Minister until March 17, which would allow Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull time to adjust his government.
Trade Minister Andrew Robb is also expected to make public his plans to leave Parliament on Thursday.
The Nationals are likely to anoint Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce as his successor, meaning that an open leadership ballot is not assured.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described the loss of Mr Truss and Mr Robb as a sign of "chaos" in the Coalition Cabinet.
"It's only a matter of time before Malcolm Turnbull stands in his courtyard to tell Australians that 'good government starts today'," Mr Shorten said.
"Malcolm Turnbull should be focused on Australian jobs , but he is completely paralysed by Ministers who are only worried about their own."
Mr Truss was first elected to Parliament in 1990 and has led the party since late 2007.
TRUSS WILL NO LONGER BE THE NATIONALS' STEADY HAND
AFTER almost 26 years in federal parliament and a lifetime of involvement in agri-politics, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss is expected to call time on his parliamentary career on Thursday.
Mr Truss, the 12th federal leader of the Nationals, has held the top job in the party since 2007 after entering parliament in 1990 as the Member for Wide Bay.
Widely acknowledged as a "steady hand" on the tiller of the junior Coalition partner, Mr Truss was expected to make the official announcement in Canberra, the ABC reported.
Mr Truss held several ministries in the Howard, Abbott and Turnbull governments - agriculture, transport, trade and customs and consumer affairs.
As well as being Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Truss has been responsible for infrastructure and regional development since the 2013 election.
Mr Truss's expected announcement comes as the former federal director of the Liberal Party, Trade Minister Andrew Robb, is also expected to call it quits.
Mr Robb is the Member for Goldstein in Melbourne's bayside and was instrumental in driving Australia's free trade agreements with China, Korea and Japan signed under the current government.
Pending the announcement, attention in Canberra now turns to the deputy leader of the Nationals, Barnaby Joyce, who has long coveted the top job.
But, with several Nationals MPs privately opposed to Mr Joyce taking the leadership, he is not assumed to become leader.
Among the contenders expected to vie for either a deputy role under Mr Joyce or compete for the top job were Riverina region's Michael McCormack, Gippsland's Darren Chester and northern New South Wales's Luke Hartsuyker.