Lyne MP Dr David Gillespie will challenge for the Nationals leadership now Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has resigned.
Before Mr Joyce’s afternoon announcement, Dr Gillespie said if the position became vacant, he would “put his hand up”.
he said then: “At the moment Barnaby Joyce remains our leader and he enjoys the confidence of my colleagues in the party room.”
“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 others 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.
“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,” Dr Gillespie said.