Nationals deputy leader Barnaby Joyce has been elevated within the ranks of cabinet.
The New England MP and Minister for Agriculture and Water was one of the major winners in a reshuffle of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s order of seniority.
He now holds the No. 5 position, one step ahead of Treasurer Scott Morrison, according to The Australian, who obtained a copy of the official ranking.
Mr Joyce rose from the No. 7 spot – which he had jokingly labelled 007 – while Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, now sits in that position.
Defence Minister Marise Payne moved from No. 25 to No. 11, which reflected Mr Turnbull’s “high regard” for her, News Limited reported.
She now outranked more experienced members, including Peter Dutton (12), Greg Hunt (13) and Sussan Ley (14).
Mr Joyce’s elevation came amid speculation he could soon become leader of the National Party.
Warren Truss has held the role for the past eight years – meanwhile the Liberals, ALP and Greens have had 11 leaders between them – and has been in Federal Parliament for a total of 25.
Some opposition remains within the Nationals to Mr Joyce taking over as leader, although Gippsland MP Darren Chester, also believed to be a leadership contender, recently put his support behind the New England MP as the next leader.