The Australian government says net zero emissions by 2050 remains its preference, but the new Deputy Prime Minister (PM) Barnaby Joyce as a climate change skeptic casts a shadow over the issue.
Nationals deputy leader for Victoria Steph Ryan on Tuesday said she believed Mr Joyce's previous actions meant he should not have returned to the leadership.
"Until someone else gets sworn in, I am still the Deputy Prime Minister".
A climate change revolt in Australia's governing coalition on Monday brought in a new deputy prime minister likely to challenge the country's already hesitant moves to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
McCormack has been beset by leadership rumblings for yonks - quite extraordinary, considering the party room consists of just 21 people.
"It is not Barnaby policy - it's Nationals policy", he said, arguing that his focus would be on getting the best deal for rural Australia.
"I still have to take that chair as Scott Morrison is in the Lodge, doing the right thing (by quarantining)", Mr McCormack said. Given he (Mr Morrison) can not be here physically, I will hold that chair.
Joyce previously held the Nationals' leadership but stepped down in a 2018 scandal when it was revealed the married father-of-four had an affair with a young adviser and she was pregnant.
Speaking to the media on Monday afternoon, Mr McCormack said he accepted the "democratic process".
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