Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt.
Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt. Mike Knott BUN160517SHADE2

Pitt not out of the race for deputy

MEMBER for Hinkler Keith Pitt has not ruled out putting his hand up for the Nationals' deputy leader role, should it become available.

Half a dozen MPs are in the running for the role vacated by former deputy Fiona Nash, who was booted out of the Senate as one of the victims of the dual citizenship saga.

Senator Matthew Canavan is considered frontrunner for the job along with NSW MP Michael McCormack, with Mr Pitt among the contenders.

The position comes with a guaranteed spot in cabinet.

It is understood the Nationals are waiting to elect a new deputy leader after the High Court releases its reasons why and when Liberal Hollie Hughes was ineligible to replace former Nationals deputy Fiona Nash in the Senate.

"Depending on the outcome of the High Court as to whether or not a casual vacancy exists in the Senate, there may or may not be a ballot on the deputy leader position for the Nationals," Mr Pitt said.

"The Nationals are a democratic party and the role would be determined by an exhaustive ballot."

Yesterday the High Court handed down its finding that Ms Hughes, the next person in line for the Senate seat, held an "office of profit" and can't take a Senate seat.

After winning his New England by-election, Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce returned to Parliament after a tumultuous week, where several rogue Nationals threatened to take advantage of the government's weakened numbers to push for a banking royal commission, forcing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull into a backflip.

But Mr Pitt backed the banking inquiry: "I support the banking royal commission, which the government has established to ensure a comprehensive investigation into how financial institutions have dealt with cases of misconduct in the past, and whether those examples expose systemic issues in terms of the regulation and supervision of the industry."



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