Conservative rural politician is Australia’s new deputy PM

SYDNEY A conservative rural politician who once expressed strong anti-gay views was yesterday chosen as Australia's deputy prime minister, replacing scandal-plagued Barnaby Joyce, who resigned over an affair with his now-pregnant aide.

Mr Michael McCormack, 53, was chosen by the Nationals - the junior partner in the governing Liberal-National coalition - to take over as leader and deputy PM in a party-room vote.

"We are the party for small business and farmers and we want to make sure that continues and that can only continue with a close relationship with the Liberals," Mr McCormack told reporters in Canberra after winning the vote.

"I look forward to having a good discussion with (Prime Minister and Liberals leader) Malcolm Turnbull in a few moments," he added.- AFP