Barnaby Joyce has said he will quit the National’s Party if members of his party publicly declare they have lost faith in him.
Mr Joyce told 7 News that he will resign from his position and sit on the crossbench if at least four members of the state Nationals make public statements saying they no longer support him.
This comes after fellow members of the NSW Nationals reportedly spoke about expelling him from the party for his involvement in the campaign to stop abortion laws being passed in the state.
As a federal MP, Mr Joyce has no vote on the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill which is before the NSW parliament, but that hasn’t stopped him making his stance well and truly known.
Mr Joyce gave firey speech at an anti-abortion rally near NSW parliament this week, claiming the abortion bill that has been put to parliament “is not a reflection of a civilised society”.
He even organised a series of robocalls, which told recipients that the bill would “legalise abortion for any reason right up until the day of birth”.
His strong stance against abortion doesn’t reflect that of his party members, with many of his fellow Nationals backing the bill.
As a result of his ongoing campaign against the bill, his colleagues reportedly discussed on Tuesday about ousting him from the party.
In response, Mr Joyce has urged party members to go public with their concerns.
“Lets get out from behind the shrubs and say it publicly,” he told 7 News.
“If we can get four (party members) at a press conference to say so, then I will resign.”
He lashed out at colleges who told him to stay out of state issues, calling it a “weasel word cop out”.
Despite his threat to quit the party, his colleagues don’t seem to be taking it very seriously.
“I have no doubt that Barnaby will stay in the National Party,” MP Darren Chester said.
If he does choose to sit on the crossbench Prime Minister Scott Morrison will lose his one seat majority.
However, Mr Joyce said even if he does quit the party he will still support “the conservative side of politics”.
His involvement in the NSW abortion debate hasn’t just rilled up his own party members, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian taking a veiled swipe at the federal Nationals MP earlier in the week.
“The NSW parliament is for NSW parliamentarians to get views from their communities, to look at their own consciences and vote accordingly,” she told reporters.
“This is an issue for NSW MPs.”
Ms Berejiklian’s comments came after many residents across the state received robocalls from Mr Joyce urging them to oppose the abortion bill.
In the recorded call he can be heard saying: “Barnaby Joyce here. I’m calling on behalf of the Foundation for Human Development about the abortion bill in the NSW parliament. This allows sex selective abortions. It legalises abortions for any reason right up until the day of birth.”
Social media has been flooded with angry posts from people who have received the calls.
“Don’t do it again Mr Joyce. It’s an invasion of my privacy and, quite frankly, your opinion of women’s rights appears quite skewed,” said one Facebook user.
Another person said the call was “lecturing”, had disturbed her evening and appeared to be hypocritical.
“Did he not leave his wife and daughters to be with his pregnant girlfriend? What right does he have to tell women what they can and cannot do with their lives?”