It appears to be all but over for the inbred tomato, via The Australian:
Barnaby Joyce’s leadership was in peril last night after he lost critical support within his partyroom, as senior Nationals moved to force his resignation over the love-child scandal.
As the Deputy Prime Minister dug in to defend his leadership, a group of Nationals MPs plotted to remove their leader after his repeated failure to explain the potential misuse of taxpayer funds in creating jobs for his former staffer and now-partner Vikki Campion.
The crisis threatened to spill into a Coalition turf war, with supporters of Mr Joyce expressing anger to The Australian after it was disclosed that Malcolm Turnbull, as Liberal leader, had contacted at least one Nationals MP, despite his office earlier denying he had talked to backbenchers.
Nationals MPs, including Andrew Broad, Keith Pitt, Luke Hartsuyker and leadership contenders Michael McCormack and Darren Chester, held crisis meetings in parliament yesterday as The Australian was told that Mr Joyce had lost the numbers to ring-fence his leadership.
A delegation, believed to include Mr Broad, Mr Pitt and Mr Hartsuyker, was last night considering approaching Mr Joyce and urging him to step down.
Mr McCormack denied he had had any conversations to replace Mr Joyce.
A senior government source said the Prime Minister had become “increasingly frustrated” that the government’s agenda was being hijacked by Mr Joyce’s personal crisis. Several senior cabinet colleagues of Mr Joyce said last night they did not believe he could remain in his position.
“He should step down for the good of the government, his family and his pregnant partner,” one cabinet minister said.
A senior Nationals source confirmed the issue would be resolved one way or another before Friday, claiming that the scandal was “infecting” the government.
Party greybeards are moving, via Domainfax:
Former deputy prime minister Mark Vaile says the Barnaby Joyce scandal is threatening the Turnbull government, and urged Nationals MPs to urgently resolve the deepening personal and political crisis.
Former Nationals leader Warren Truss has also intervened in the saga, saying Mr Joyce’s affair with former staffer Vikki Campion had damaged the Deputy Prime Minister’s ability to lead and the issue needed to be resolved “constructively and quickly”.
Late on Tuesday, some Nationals MPs were discussing whether to form a delegation that would approach the embattled Deputy Prime Minister and call on him to stand aside.
However, many are paralysed with doubt and aren’t ready to move on Mr Joyce. Unlike the Labor and Liberal parties, Nationals MPs have traditionally shied away from cutting down leaders and have only done it once in their history.
Mr Joyce fought back on Tuesday, insisting he could survive the scandal that threatens his career and has derailed the government’s start to the 2018 political year.
But he was hit by fresh questions after Fairfax Media revealed he charged taxpayers to spend 50 nights in Canberra when Parliament was not sitting in 2017 – more than any other cabinet minister.
Mr Vaile, who served as deputy prime minister under John Howard, told Fairfax Media the story was “now getting to the point where it is affecting the government”.
He said Nationals MPs had a responsibility “to the national interest first, the government second and the party’s interests third”.
“They are the junior Coalition partner and part of the government of Australia. They need to deal with this. How they do it is up to them,” Mr Vaile said. “They must resolve this.”
Asked if Mr Joyce could survive, Mr Vaile said: “I don’t know”.
Looks like his goose is cooked. All that needs to be done first is the assignment of a coal industry sinecure. Mind you, he already has one so demotion from the leadership will probably be enough.