Two months after Barnaby Joyce reclaimed the federal leadership of the Nationals Party, a former frontbencher has announced he's taking "some time away".
Victorian-based MP Darren Chester took to social media on Sunday to confirm reports he was "taking a break" but was careful to clarify that he is not quitting the party.
"My decision follows months of frustration with the repeated failure of the leadership to even attempt to moderate some of the more disrespectful and offensive views expressed by a minority of colleagues," Mr Chester posted online.
He says he will not attend organised meetings, events and activities in the Nationals federal parliamentary party room, and will reassess his position when parliament resumes in mid-October.
Mr Chester, 54, lost his frontbench spot when Mr Joyce returned to the Nationals leadership in June.
His return marked a three year political comeback after losing the deputy prime-ministership to scandal.
Mr Chester has been increasingly concerned about Mr Joyce's reluctance to rein in close supporters George Christensen and Matt Canavan.
When asked about his colleagues decision and reasoning, Mr Joyce said the National party room is the most democratic organisation in federal parliament.
He also laughed off suggestions he could gag Mr Christensen.
"George Christensen is retiring from politics and I do talk to George but this idea that somehow you can just go up there and demand that he no longer talks or, I don't know, put hobbles on him, gaffer tape his mouth up - that's not going to work," Mr Joyce told ABC's Insiders program on Sunday.
Australian Associated Press