Australian former deputy prime minister returns to parliament

Australian former deputy prime minister returns to parliament
From Reuters - December 2, 2017

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australias former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will return to parliament after he won an essential by-election for his seat, just over a month after he was kicked out over a dual citizenship crisis that cost the conservative coalition government its majority.

Joyce, who was widely expected to win, said he was utterly humbled by his sizeable victory in the rural New South Wales seat of New England, in which he looks likely to increase his primary vote by an additional 10 points.

ABC election analyst Antony Green reported that Joyce is on track to achieve a primary vote of about 64 percent, a significant increase on his 52.3 percent primary at the last federal election in 2016.

The win gives the government and its embattled prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, some much-needed breathing space, as it restores its slim one-seat majority. The government is already claiming the victory as a vote of confidence of its performance, despite a series of polls showing its growing unpopularity.

This has been a stunning victory, Turnbull told supporters as he joined Joyce at a pub in the town of Tamworth to celebrate the win.

Exit polls were predicting the largest swing to the government in the history of by-elections in Australia, Turnbull said, adding it was a sign of confidence in his government.

Joyce added that he was completely and utterly humbled, after winning from a record field of 17 candidates.

I say to the people of New England, that I never take anything for granted, and for every person who voted for us and voted for us for the first time, he said, the ABC reported.


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