Nationals use strong results as leverage

SENIOR Nationals figures have used a stronger showing at the polls than the Liberals in a bid to build their case for more from the deal to form a Coalition government with the Liberals.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will meet Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to talk turkey on the Coalition agreement in Canberra on Wednesday, after the Nationals met yesterday.

While the junior Coalition partner often talks up the deal, victories in 11 seats including the crucial central Queensland seats of Capricornia and Flynn have emboldened the party.

In the offing is a potential fifth Cabinet spot for the Nats and the party hopes to get the communications portfolio and possibly small business to add to transport, infrastructure, rural health and agriculture.

But the party is also pushing for an end to the backpacker tax - a $500 million revenue raiser Treasurer Scott Morrison has hopes of keeping - when Mr Turnbull and Mr Joyce meet.

Mr Joyce told the party room yesterday on Tuesday he believed the new government would deliver more stability and more for regional voters.

While Mr Turnbull did not hold any media conferences, it is understood he had been presented with some key demands from the Nationals that will be the subject of talks today.

Nationals frontbencher Darren Chester on ABC touted the fact that the party "didn't go backwards in any of our seats" and that several Nationals "withstood the challenge", a claim the Liberals cannot make in the wake of the lower house result.

Similarly, a slim win for Capricornia MP Michelle Landry saw her tell ABC she did want to see the backpacker tax "gone", as it was a "massive issue" across regional Queensland.

Despite the Nationals securing a bigger proportion of the Coalition vote, it is unclear whether Mr Turnbull will agree to an extra Cabinet seat.

Some have touted Queenslanders Matt Canavan and Keith Pitt and Victorian Bridget McKenzie as potentially up for promotion in the wider reshuffle

While Mr Joyce and Deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash decided with the minor party on final Cabinet candidates, all will be up in the air until Mr Joyce and Mr Turnbull agree on the final Cabinet in coming days.



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