A Nationals succession plan supposedly being plotted among the halls of Parliament would see Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker elevated to deputy leadership of the party.
A Nationals succession plan supposedly being plotted among the halls of Parliament would see Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker elevated to deputy leadership of the party. Trevor Veale

Rumblings afoot for Nationals leadership

MEMBER for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker would be appointed deputy leader of the National Party under a succession plan floated by Victorian MP Darren Chester.

The plans show Agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce would replace Warren Truss as leader of the Nationals and the Gippsland MP said he was seeking support for the plan from his colleagues.

The proposal comes amid speculation Mr Truss will stand down before the 2016 federal election, despite indicating he will re-contest.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Mr Chester said he was "not trying to push Truss out."

"Warren is under no pressure to leave and we will give him the respect to choose his own future ... but when the position becomes vacant, I'll be supporting an orderly transition to Barnaby Joyce and Luke Hartsuyker as the leadership team,"he said.

During a visit to the Coffs Coast this week, Mr Joyce said he would not challenge Mr Truss for the leadership, but would "put his hand up" should it become vacant.

"At some point Warren will get to a time when he says 'I intend to retire' … and in that point in time I'll throw my hat in the ring and me judged by my peers," he said.

Mr Hartsuyker said Mr Chester's plan had not been discussed with Mr Truss.

"I'm busy doing my job as Minister for Vocational Education and Skills," he said.

"We do the work we've got in front of us, and I'd always be honoured to serve in any capacity that my peers would elect me to."



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