IT was a turbulent second half of the year for the Federal Agriculture portfolio, as deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce became a victim of the citizenship saga.
The High Court declared Mr Joyce ineligible for parliament in late October, after it was revealed in August he had breached Section 44 of the Constitution and was a citizen of New Zealand by descent via his father.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took custody of the agriculture portfolio in Mr Joyce’s absence, while Mr Joyce prepared for a by-election in the seat of New England after renouncing his New Zealand citizenship.
The by-election was held on December 2, with Mr Joyce re-elected convincingly against 16 candidates.
Mr Joyce won more than 64pc of first preference votes, representing a 12pc swing in favour of the Nationals.
The election landslide came as a welcome relief to Mr Turnbull, who faced a shaky second half of the year with ongoing citizenship dramas and a fractuous relationship with the Nationals.
“This has been a stunning victory, and it has been a demonstration of the strength of our coalition,” Mr Turnbull said shortly after the by-election.
Mr Joyce described the win as a “resounding victory” and thanked the public for its support.
“People are reading our message, they understand what we are doing,” Mr Joyce said.
“For the coalition in general I want this to be a reset, absolutely, and I think the Australian people want to as well.”
Mr Joyce was sworn in on December 6, and returned to his position as Deputy Prime Minister.
However, in a cabinet reshuffle in late December, Mr Joyce took the Infrastructure and Transport portfolio, leaving David Littleproud the new Agriculture and Water Resources Minister.
The Queensland MP has only been in parliament one year, but has a strong background in agribusiness.