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Michael McCormack
Michael McCormack 2018-02 (cropped).jpg
McCormack in 2018
18th Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
In office
26 February 2018 – 22 June 2021
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Scott Morrison
Preceded by Barnaby Joyce
Succeeded by Barnaby Joyce
Leader of the National Party
In office
26 February 2018 – 21 June 2021
Deputy Bridget McKenzie
David Littleproud
Preceded by Barnaby Joyce
Succeeded by Barnaby Joyce
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development
Infrastructure & Transport (Feb. 2018 – Aug. 2018)
In office
26 February 2018 – 22 June 2021
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Scott Morrison
Preceded by Barnaby Joyce
Succeeded by Barnaby Joyce
Minister for Veterans' Affairs &
Minister for Defence Personnel
In office
20 December 2017 – 5 March 2018
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by Dan Tehan
Succeeded by Darren Chester
Minister for Small Business
In office
19 July 2016 – 20 December 2017
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by Kelly O'Dwyer
Succeeded by Craig Laundy (as Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation)
Assistant Minister for Defence
In office
18 February 2016 – 19 July 2016
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by Darren Chester
Succeeded by David Fawcett (2018)
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Riverina
Assumed office
21 August 2010
Preceded by Kay Hull
Personal details
Michael Francis McCormack

(1964-08-02) 2 August 1964 (age 59)
Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia
Political party National
Other political
Catherine McCormack
(m. 1986)
Children 3

Michael Francis McCormack (born 2 August 1964) is an Australian politician who served as the 18th deputy prime minister of Australia from 2018 to 2021 under Prime Ministers Malcolm Turnbull and later Scott Morrison. He was also Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, having previously served as Minister for Defence Personnel and Minister for Veterans' Affairs from 2017 to 2018. McCormack has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2010, representing the Division of Riverina in New South Wales. He was a newspaper editor before entering politics.

Early life

McCormack was born in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales as one of five children born to Eileen Margaret (née Margosis; 1938–2018) and Lance McCormack (d. 2008), a dryland farmer. His maternal grandfather, George Peter Margosis, was born in 1896 in Akrata, Greece; his other three grandparents were born in New South Wales. He had four siblings, Denise, Robyn, Julieanne and Mark. He grew up on the family farms in nearby Marrar and Brucedale. He attended St Michael's Regional High School and Trinity Senior High School (later merged into Kildare Catholic College).

After leaving school, McCormack took up a cadetship at The Daily Advertiser, the local daily newspaper. He was appointed editor of the paper in 1991, aged 27, making him reputedly the "youngest newspaper editor in Australia". McCormack was sacked from The Daily Advertiser in February 2002. In response, "more than 20 journalists, photographers and other editorial staff" staged a 24-hour walkout. He went on to sue the Riverina Media Group for unfair dismissal, and in 2003 settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. McCormack subsequently started his own media and publishing company, MSS Media Services and Solutions. He also served as a director of the Murrumbidgee Turf Club from 1994 to 2003, as well as its official historian.

Political career

Michael McCormack Portrait 2010
McCormack in July 2010

McCormack was campaign director for Kay Hull, the Nationals MP for Riverina, at the 2004 and 2007 federal elections. Hull announced her retirement from politics in April 2010, and McCormack subsequently won preselection for her seat at the 2010 election. The Liberals stood a candidate in Riverina for the first time since 1998, but that had little impact on the result, with the Nationals recording a 3.6-point positive swing on a two-party-preferred basis.

Ministerial posts

After the Coalition won the 2013 election, McCormack was made parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Finance, Mathias Cormann. He was later appointed Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Warren Truss, in September 2015. In February 2016, he became Assistant Minister for Defence under Marise Payne.

In July 2016, after the 2016 election, McCormack was appointed Minister for Small Business. In that capacity, he was responsible for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which conducted the 2016 national census and the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey during his tenure. He opposes same-sex marriage, but voted in favour of the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 after promising to vote in line with the survey result in his constituency. In a ministerial reshuffle in December 2017, McCormack was made Minister for Defence Personnel, Minister for Veterans' Affairs, and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, positions which had previously been held by Dan Tehan.

When Warren Truss retired as leader of the National Party in February 2016, McCormack publicly contemplated standing as his replacement. He eventually chose not to run for the leadership, allowing Barnaby Joyce to win the position unopposed. He did stand for the deputy leadership (which Joyce had vacated), but lost to Senator Fiona Nash reportedly by only a single vote. In December 2017, McCormack again contested the deputy leadership of the National Party, which had been made vacant as a result of Fiona Nash's disqualification from parliament. He was defeated by Bridget McKenzie, once again losing by only one vote.

Deputy Prime Minister (2018–2021)

Deputy Prime Minister and Member for Riverina, The Honourable Michael McCormack
McCormack in 2018

Following the resignation of Barnaby Joyce in February 2018, McCormack announced that he would contest the resulting leadership vote. Several other MPs publicly endorsed him for the position, and the only other announced candidate, David Gillespie, withdrew his candidacy the day before the election. George Christensen launched a last-minute bid for the leadership, but was defeated by McCormack, who succeeded Joyce as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. He also replaced Joyce as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

After the Coalition won the 2019 federal election, McCormack was re-elected party leader unopposed. On 4 February 2020, Joyce unsuccessfully challenged McCormack as leader of the Nationals. McCormack was removed as party leader on 21 June 2021 in a National Party leadership spill, with Joyce taking over as leader and McCormack returning to the backbench.

Personal life

McCormack, a Roman Catholic, married Catherine (née Shaw) in Saint Michael's Cathedral, Wagga Wagga in 1986. They have three children, Georgina, Alexander and Nicholas.

In 1995, he became the owner of "the biggest collection of bound volumes of The Times anywhere in the world outside London", acquiring 900 volumes from Charles Sturt University when it ran out of storage space.

In 2022, McCormack was taken to the hospital after drinking a bowl of Micronesian sakau, a concentrated version of kava. He had reportedly underestimated its potency.

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