Peter Dutton elected Liberal leader, David Littleproud replaces Barnaby Joyce as Nationals leader

Peter Dutton will lead the Liberal Party in opposition after the Coalition’s federal election loss, taking the reins from deposed prime minister Scott Morrison.

The former defence minister was uncontested in the party room ballot on Monday morning, with Sussan Ley, the former environment minister, voted in as his deputy.

Dutton, who becomes the first Queenslander to lead the Liberal Party, has held the Brisbane seat of Dickson since 2001.

He has also been a minister in various portfolios, including home affairs, immigration and health.

In his first press conference as leader, Dutton vowed to represent Australia’s “forgotten people” in the outer suburbs and regional areas.

“Under my leadership, the Liberal Party will be true to our values that have seen us win successive elections over the course of the last quarter of a century,” he said.

“Make no mistake and Australians understand this, the next three years under Labor is going to be tough for the Australian people. Already they’re breaking the promises and foreshadowing policy shifts. They weren’t ready to govern.

“Sussan and I lead a team which has the experience to make the right calls on supporting government policies that are in our national interest and standing against those that are not in our national interests.”

He also spruiked his experience as a former police officer and small business owner.

Ley, an MP for the southwestern New South Wales seat of Farrer, has held the health and aged care ministerships.

Morrison congratulated Dutton and Ley on winning the leadership positions.

“They are incredibly experienced, well versed, deeply, deeply committed Australians to both the liberal cause and of course the cause of the nation and I think they’ll do an outstanding job and I look forward to giving them all of my full support,” he said.

“It was a good opportunity for me to thank my colleagues for their great loyalty and support over these past more than three and a half years and to do that both on my behalf as well as on behalf of my dear friend Josh Frydenberg, who we’re all very sad couldn’t be with us today.

“It’s been a great privilege to lead the federal parliamentary Liberal Party and I hand it over to Peter and Sussan and wish them all the very best.”

Nationals leadership
Meanwhile, regional Queensland MP David Littleproud has beaten incumbent Barnaby Joyce in a party room ballot for the Nationals leadership.

Littleproud had been deputy leader of the party since 2020.

Despite the Nationals retaining all their seats at the May 21 poll under Joyce, the former deputy prime minister has been accused of having Liberal blood on his hands after his party’s support of coal turned inner-city voters off sitting moderate Liberals.

Joyce had made his case on Sunrise ahead of a party room meeting on Monday, saying the junior coalition party must be doing something right given it retained all its seats at the federal election.

“We won every seat we had before the election, we had three retiring members and still won the seats (and) we were in striking distance of one of the two seats we will be able to take in the next election,” he said.

“The Liberals lost 19 seats.

“In the last two elections, that I’ve been the leader, we’ve only picked up seats. We must be doing something right but the job is not over.”