THE year is going from bad to worse for Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum.
He has become collateral damage in the Barnaby Joyce saga/scandal and been dumped from his post as Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister
A position in which his tenure could be measured by weeks, not months or years.
Michael McCormack, who has succeeded Mr Joyce as leader of The Nationals, has summoned allies Darren Chester and Keith Pitt from the backbenches meaning Mr Drum and Luke Hartsuyker had to go.
Both Mr Chester and Mr Pitt had been tossed off 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.
This blow to Mr Drum comes on top of news in January his seat may be abolished in a boundary restructure by the Australian Electoral Commission.
Following last week’s changes in The Nationals, Mr McCormack said he had wanted to cause minimal disruption when he reshuffled the Nationals team.
Mr McCormack insisted he did not get rid of the supporters of Mr Joyce – rather he wanted the best people for the job.
Implying he did not view Mr Drum as one of the party’s talents – and that he had been too close to Mr Joyce.
Mr Chester will today be sworn in as Veterans’ Affairs Minister, while Mr Pitt will take over Mr Drum’s former role and officially become Assistant Minister to Mr McCormack.
Speaking when news broke of the AEC dismembering his electorate, Mr Drum said “it really doesn’t make any sense because one thing people need in relation to their electorates is communities of interest,” Mr Drum said about concerns for the future of Murray.
“All the major towns in the Murray electorate have a connection to each other and it is important these connections can continue on a federal level,” he said.
“It is important the Murray electorate continues on as it is, with only minor changes so I can continue with the job of representing its people.”