Barnaby Joyce Nationals Michael McCormack
(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

It's not quite up there with smearing blood on Parliament House doors but the current outbreak of in-fighting within the Nationals is, by major party standards, another low point in the records of political conduct in Australia.

Barnaby Joyce declares that he is entitled to the deputy prime ministership of the country because the Lady of the Electoral Lake had handed him the sword (or perhaps more accurately a beer stubby). In response, the actual occupant of the position, Michael McCormack -- a man who is, shall we say, not known for his cutting witticisms or soaring rhetoric -- invokes the failure of Joyce's marriage, in a particularly pointed rebuke.