From journalist in Wagga Wagga to the high office of Deputy PM — how Michael McCormack rose through the ranks.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on February 26, 2018

Michael McCormack is the new Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, after being elected the leader of the Nationals Party this morning in Canberra.

The New South Wales MP was always the frontrunner for the position once Barnaby Joyce stepped down.

He beat out George Christensen, who yesterday sensationally called for the Nats to end the coalition.

He has promised to stand up to PM Malcolm Turnbull, and will call for the small business portfolio to be returned to cabinet.

McCormack’s career began as a journalist and then editor with the Daily Advertiser in Wagga Wagga, before he started his own publishing company.

He was elected to parliament as the Member for Riverina in 2010, and then became an assistant minister for Defence in 2016, before being appointed minister for Small Business, and then serving on the front-bench as Veteran Affairs Minister.

McCormack headlines

While at the Daily Advertiser in 1993, McCormack penned an editorial which claimed that “a week never goes by anymore that homosexuals and their sordid behaviour don’t become further entrenched in society”.

“Unfortunately gays are here and, if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn’t wipe out humanity, they’re here to stay,” he added.

The column resurfaced last year when he was overseeing the same-sex marriage plebiscite as Minister for Small Business, and he apologised and said his views had changed.

“I have grown and learnt not only to tolerate, but to accept all people regardless of their sexual orientation or any other trait or feature which makes each of us different and unique,” McCormack said last August.

“I apologised wholeheartedly for the comments at the time and many times since, but I am making this statement to unreservedly apologise again today.”

just.equal spokesman Rodney Croome told AAP many LGBTI Australians are “justifiably concerned” about his appointment.

“The apologies Mr McCormack made in the past are welcome but given the hatefulness of what he said, and the high office he may step in to, he needs to walk the talk,” Croome said.

“He needs to get behind initiatives that will reduce the unacceptably high levels of LGBTI isolation, prejudice and suicide that still exist in some parts of rural Australia.

“He needs to heal the wounds caused by the kind of prejudices he publicly expressed in the past.”

McCormack was also responsible for the 2016 census, which he took online for the first time.

The website encountered its fair share of major technical problems. So much so, that the process led to the trending hashtag #CensusFail. An alleged cyberattack even resulted in it being shut down.