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New deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce reveals why he won’t pretend to be mates with Scott Morrison

Barnaby Joyce has revealed he thinks of Scott Morrison purely as a ‘business partner’ in his first sit-down interview as Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister. 

The returned Nationals leader was sworn into his new role for the second time on Tuesday morning, after a spectacular political comeback. 

Mr Joyce, 54, who has already ruffled feathers after seizing the leadership in a party-room ballot, spoke about how he imagines the powerful pair’s relationship will be going forward.

Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Barnaby Joyce (pictured) was sworn in to his new role for the second time on Tuesday, after a spectacular political comeback

'I respect the office of the Prime Minister. It's incredibly important. But to say you have to like the person? You can, but it's not necessary', Mr Joyce (right) said of Scott Morrison (left)

‘I respect the office of the Prime Minister. It’s incredibly important. But to say you have to like the person? You can, but it’s not necessary’, Mr Joyce (right) said of Scott Morrison (left)

‘We’re business partners, that’s all’, he said, when speaking to News Corp last week. 

‘I respect the office of the Prime Minister. It’s incredibly important. But to say you have to like the person? You can, but it’s not necessary.’

Mr Joyce said what matters instead is what you can achieve for other people. 

‘You’re judged by whether you can get a deal for that person over there in that weatherboard and iron house: if you can get a deal for them, then that relationship is alright’, he said. 

The returned leader said he would like to prioritise Queensland’s Burdekin-into-Murray irrigation scheme as well as the nation’s nuclear power. 

After 40 months spent in political wilderness, the father-of-six said he was grateful to get back to work for Australians.

In a statement, Scott Morrison said he looked forward to 'working closely together to ensure Australia continues its recovery from coronavirus and the recession it caused'

In a statement, Scott Morrison said he looked forward to ‘working closely together to ensure Australia continues its recovery from coronavirus and the recession it caused’

‘I’m not a fool, I’m at the back end of my career not the front end, so I’m more focused on what I want to achieve politically, rather than trying to establish a long tenure,’ he said. 

Mr Joyce – who took the leadership from Michael McCormack – was sworn in by the Governor-General, the Queen’s representative in Australia, at Government House. 

His partner – and former staffer – Vicki Campion and their two sons Sebastian, three, and Thomas, two, sat in the front row to watch the ceremony. 

His marriage to previous wife Natalia – who he shares four daughters with – broke down in November 2017 after 24 years, and two months later it was revealed he had been having an affair with his former media advisor Ms Campion. 

The politician was forced to stand down three years ago after the affair became public and he denied sexually harassing a woman after an event in Canberra. 

Mr Joyce’s extraordinary return to the frontbench will see his pay packet more than double from $211,500 a year to $433,575. 

Mr Joyce - who took the leadership from Michael McCormack - was sworn in by the Governor-General, the Queen's representative in Australia, at Government House on Tuesday

Mr Joyce – who took the leadership from Michael McCormack – was sworn in by the Governor-General, the Queen’s representative in Australia, at Government House on Tuesday

Mr Joyce's partner - and former staffer - Vicki Campion (pictured) and their two sons Sebastian and Thomas, sat in the front row to watch him be sworn in to the new role

Mr Joyce’s partner – and former staffer – Vicki Campion (pictured) and their two sons Sebastian and Thomas, sat in the front row to watch him be sworn in to the new role

On Monday, Mr Morrison welcomed Mr Joyce’s return to the role.

In a statement, the prime minister said he looked forward to ‘working closely together to ensure Australia continues its recovery from coronavirus and the recession it caused’. 

Speaking to the Today Show on Thursday, Mr Morrison rejected claims Mr Joyce is a nuisance, describing the returned leader in glowing terms. 

‘I describe him as a wind in the sails,’ the prime minister told the Nine Network.

‘I was treasurer when he was deputy prime minister, Barnaby and I have sat around cabinet tables for years, and we’re both passionate about what we want to achieve for this country.’ 

The politician’s return has triggered a chaotic week in parliament, with the Nationals now casting doubt on climate targets and threatening to blow up the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. 

Mr Morrison was challenged on whether the wind Mr Joyce created could prove perilous for the government.

‘This is going to get us where we need to go as a country,’ Mr Morrison said.

‘You’ll see.’

The returned leader said he would like to prioritise Queensland's Burdekin-into-Murray irrigation scheme as well as the nation's nuclear power in his new role

The returned leader said he would like to prioritise Queensland’s Burdekin-into-Murray irrigation scheme as well as the nation’s nuclear power in his new role

Former Deputy Prime Minister Mr McCormack (pictured) told reporters on Monday that he respects the decision made by the National Party, and wishes Mr Joyce 'all the best'

Former Deputy Prime Minister Mr McCormack (pictured) told reporters on Monday that he respects the decision made by the National Party, and wishes Mr Joyce ‘all the best’

Mr Joyce was propelled back into leadership when Nationals leader Michael McCormack was overthrown in a party-room meeting after Joyce supporter Senator Matt Canavan moved a spill motion.

The spill – the third attempt to roll Mr McCormack in as many years – was prompted by growing disquiet over his lacklustre performance as Acting Prime Minister last week, when Mr Morrison was overseas.

But it came after long-running concerns that Mr McCormack was not cutting through in the Nationals’ regional heartlands amid fears that conservative voters would turn to One Nation or the Shooters, Farmers and Fishers Party.

Mr Morrison welcomed Mr Joyce’s election and thanked Mr McCormack for being a ‘tremendous bloke’.

Mr McCormack told reporters in Canberra on Monday that he respects the decision made by the National Party, and wishes Mr Joyce ‘all the best’. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk