Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer is undergoing chemotherapy in a Melbourne hospital for acute leukaemia.
Mr Fischer, 72, is being treated at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
“I can confirm I have been diagnosed with acute leukaemia and completing a 28-day cycle of treatment in the Peter Mac Hospital,” he told AAP on Monday.
“I am feeling okay but face further rounds of chemotherapy treatment.”
Mr Fischer praised staff at Peter Mac and the Albury Wodonga Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital, where he has also received treatment.
The former Nationals leader and ambassador to the Vatican gave up most of his public roles and moved with wife Judy to a cattle farm at Mudgegonga, near Yackandandah in Victoria’s northeast.
Last December, he said he had been undergoing mild chemotherapy for a cancer that had been diagnosed in 2008.
Mr Fischer last week called for calm as murmurs of a leadership spill swirled just two months after the Liberals toppled Malcolm Turnbull.
With reports of a possible return to former leader Barnaby Joyce, Mr Fischer told The New Daily the Nationals should stick with current leader Michael McCormack.
“Michael McCormack has covered more ground in his first six months than I did in my first six months as leader,” Mr Fischer told The New Daily, noting Mr McCormack was disadvantaged by becoming party leader and deputy prime minister at the same time.
Mr McCormack came to the job in February when Mr Joyce quit after his relationship with former staffer Vikki Campion was revealed and a sexual harassment allegation was made public. A party investigation was unable to make a finding on the allegation.
Mr Fischer, who was deputy prime minister to John Howard from 1996 to 1999, rejected the notion that the National Party tended to shy away from infighting seen in other major parties.
“It’s not all beer and skittles, I can tell you.
“And it just is necessary – every now and then – to make a stand against in my case some proddings from Queensland. Nothing changes.”