A koala crisis which threatened to cripple the NSW coalition has spread to federal parliament.
Bridget McKenzie, the leader of the Nationals in the Senate, strongly defended NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro after he threatened to blow up the state government over koala protection policies.
"The NSW Nationals are doing exactly what they were sent to Macquarie Street to do and that's to stand up for their constituents," Senator McKenzie told the ABC on Friday.
"I don't think it's surprising that city-centric policy decisions being made in the main by the Liberal and the Labor Party are being challenged by the Nationals, whether it's in Macquarie Street, in Canberra or in Spring Street."
Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has also backed Mr Barilaro's tactics, saying the Liberal Party had failed to treat their junior coalition partner with respect.
Mr Barilaro eventually capitulated on his threat and pledged to support the coalition.
Nationals MP David Gillespie, who represents the federal NSW seat of Lyne, said Mr Barilaro was simply standing up for farmers worried about being able to manage their land.
"This is all about policy, it's not about personalities," Dr Gillespie said.
"I support John Barilaro - he was never trying to change the government, he was just trying to change the policy.
"They tried the behind-closed-doors negotiations, both backbenchers and ministers, and nothing has happened so this is where it has all ended up."
Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, a senior Liberal Party member, said NSW needed to focus on supporting Premier Gladys Berejiklian as she concentrated on suppressing the threat of coronavirus.
"These are matters for the NSW Parliament and government to resolve between themselves," he said.
"But from South Australia and as a member of the federal government, I can only be full of praise for Gladys and her government overall as to how it's managed the number one problem of our time, which is COVID-19."
Australian Associated Press
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