Drum moves to backbench

March 03, 2018

Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum has been demoted from his position as assistant minister to the deputy prime minister following the appointment of Michael McCormack as the National Party leader.

Mr McCormack said he had wanted to cause minimal disruption when he reshuffled the Nationals team after being elected by the party, and taking over the Deputy Prime Minister’s role on Monday this week.

But it was not good news for Mr Drum as well as Luke Hartsuyker, who were both demoted when Mr McCormack announced his line-up for the Coalition ministry on Thursday night.

Mr McCormack insisted he did not get rid of supporters of former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, but rather he wanted the best people for the job.

The party’s new leader opted for minor changes by promoting Darren Chester back to the ministry and returning a role to Keith Pitt.

Mr Chester will be sworn in as Veterans’ Affairs Minister on Monday, while Mr Pitt will take over Mr Drum’s former role and officially become Assistant Minister to Mr McCormack.

Both had been dumped from the frontbench in Mr Joyce’s controversial reshuffle late last year.

Mr McCormack said he chose Mr Chester because of his experience as a former assistant defence minister.

Mr McCormack was elevated to the leadership role after Mr Joyce resigned over a scandal surrounding his affair with a former staffer.

—With APP

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