The National Party ran its national conference (utemuster?) over the weekend, and The Oz appears to have caught party fever, running across the board coverage from this important national event this morning:

On the front page, Michael Franklin reports on the party’s direct challenge to Malcolm Turnbull over the ETS, with Barnaby Joyce claiming many Liberal MPs are now joining the Nats in a blanket rejection of any emissions trading scheme. Followed up by page-2 coverage of Joyce’s big message to the federal council that the party is “finished” if it doesn’t stand up to the Liberals over big issues, and a report on divisions already emerging in the Coalition over the issue of nuclear power, on which Joyce wants to hold a referendum — an idea Nick Minchin has dismissed as “futile”.

Over on the op-ed pages, Glenn Milne analyses the party’s “one-finger salute” to Turnbull and points out the elephant in the party room: that, technicalities aside, it is now Barnaby Joyce at the helm the party, and not the actual leader Warren Truss.

Meanwhile, the paper’s editorial argues that it’s OK for the Nats to hold differing policy views to that of their conservative , and that, if anything, it is fractures within the Liberal party that is weakening the Coalition.

Peter Fray

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