Nationals in crisis after leadership spill prompting questions around Question Time

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Barnaby Joyce will not be sworn in as Leader of the Nationals Party and Deputy Prime Minister before Question Time on Monday, with chaos expected to ensue.

The Nationals spill comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison begins 14 days of isolation inside the Lodge, after his trip to the United Kingdom and France.

Michael McCormack had been serving as the Acting Prime Minister during Mr Morrison’s sojourn, and while Mr Morrison is once again running the country from quarantine, he relies on his Deputy to physically field questions in Question Time.

Ousted Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack confirmed he will remain in his role until Mr Joyce can be sworn in by the Governor-General, which will not happen until later on Monday at the very earliest.

It’s understood His Excellency David Hurley is out of town.

“I still have to take that chair as Scott Morrison is in the Lodge, doing the right thing (by quarantining),” Mr McCormack said.

“Until someone else gets sworn in, I am still the Deputy Prime Minister. Given he (Mr Morrison) cannot be here physically, I will hold that chair.

“I will uphold the dignity of that chair as I have always done.”

Speaking to the media on Monday afternoon, Mr McCormack said he accepted the “democratic process”.

Twitter users have taken to the social media platform to question just who is “running this country?” in the meantime.

“What a mess,” one user said.

“Are the Nats technically leaderless?” another asked.

“I’m not even sure it matters for the purposes of QT though. Front benchers will deputise and hand-off questions all the time,” another said.

The Office of the Governor-General has been contacted for comment.

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