- Barnaby Joyce elected new Nationals leader
- 'World War III': The race to replace Robb
- Robb: how he became an unlikely hero
- Sketch: time to go
Malcolm Turnbull has ended his most tumultuous day as Prime Minister with a new Deputy Prime Minister yet to be sworn in, another minister hanging on by his fingernails, and the pressing need for an unscheduled ministerial shake-up expected within days.
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Two of Federal Politics' most experienced members in Warren Truss and Andrew Robb will retire from politics at the next election.
The frontbench turmoil has forced a reshuffle likely to be unveiled on Sunday.
It caps off a poor first fortnight back in Parliament for the new Prime Minister, which has been consumed by the opposition's sustained pursuit of Human Services Minister Stuart Robert.
Mr Robert has refused to answer repeated questions, referring each time to his previous statement, which said little.
Labor is demanding Mr Robert's scalp, having accused him of a clear breach of ministerial standards by behaving as a minister while accompanying a millionaire businessman and Liberal Party donor in China in 2014. Mr Robert had been on leave at the time and maintains he was acting entirely in a private capacity at a contract signing, at other functions, and a subsequent meeting with a Chinese government minister.
In a fiery attack in Parliament causing Mr Turnbull to tell him he had "really jumped the shark", Bill Shorten said Mr Robert's activities, while on personal leave from his then role as Assistant Minister for Defence, constituted an open-and-shut case of breaching the code of conduct.
Government unity is straining over Mr Robert's predicament, with documents relating to his application for personal leave, and the recommendation from the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet recommending it be granted, emerging into the public realm.
Mr Shorten used those in question time, referring provocatively to the file document numbers to reveal that the opposition has been handed copies of the papers.
The documents show approval for the leave was given by the then Prime Minister's Office - under Tony Abbott - without any reference to what appear to be quasi-official duties associated with the China leg of his three-country overseas tour. However, it is not clear if other emails of letters not yet released carried this information.
While Mr Turnbull was grappling with that crisis, other frontbench changes were being forced on him as well with the retirement of outgoing Nationals leader, Warren Truss, and that of Trade Minister Andrew Robb, although the latter may stay in his post for the time being.
Mr Joyce, a man uniquely recognised in Australian politics by his first name of Barnaby, was elected unopposed by the 21-strong Nationals party room on Thursday night, offering the regional party the prospect of a higher profile than it has generally been used to.
But what unanimity there was among Nationals over Mr Joyce's selection as leader could not be found for the position of deputy leader with seven candidates vying for promotion to the post made vacant by Mr Joyce's promotion.
NSW senator and current Minister for Rural Health, Fiona Nash, emerged from the exhaustive ballot as the first ever female deputy leader of the Nationals.
Her preferment has made for a unique situation in Australian history where all three main parties - the Liberal Party, the Nationals and the ALP - have female deputies.
Mr Joyce, who moved from a safe position in the Senate representing Queensland to successfully contest the last election as a New South Wales based lower house MP, is often described as the best retail politician in the country.
His partnership with Mr Turnbull is expected to draw attention as much for their philosophical differences as their areas of agreement.
In a rare double, Mr Truss and Mr Robb gave consecutive resignation speeches to the Parliament, expressing satisfaction over achievements in politics.
Mr Truss noted that leading the Nationals had not always been as coveted as it is currently.
"What I guess my objective when I became leader, somewhat reluctantly, was to rebuild a party that was at that stage at a pretty low ebb," he told the House.
"I am pleased to say that now things are different, and everyone wants the job.
"We lost the 2007 election, everybody was pretty dispirited, our numbers had declined and, indeed, the media was saying, yet again, that the Nationals were finished.
"Of course, we are used to that, they have been saying that for over 80 years now and we seem to have managed to survive most of our critics."