Everything old is new again.
Especially with an election coming up.
After three years on the backbench, Barnaby Joyce is back.
But is he? The Governor-General is away and the resurgent leader can't be sworn-in quickly after the rolling of the - now departing - Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in the Nationals party room, by apparently one vote, no less.
The first volley in question time to the fresh from the G7, home-quarantining Prime Minister Scott Morrison from the leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese was, "Who is the deputy prime minister of Australia?"
Via Zoom via The Lodge, the working from home PM said it was Mr McCormack until Tuesday and he thanked the Member for Riverina for his service.
Cue, the Labor leader saying he could not hear what the PM was saying.
Cue uproar. Cue farce.
Cue politicians talking about themselves.
"It has been a tough day for me, but I still have a job," said in Mr McCormack's few quips during his last day in the hot seat.
"There are a lot of Australians out there doing it a lot tougher, many Australians today who are in hospital wards recovering from Covid. My thoughts are with them. It is not about me, this is not about me, it is about Australians."
At least he tried. But there he was, a man with the rug pulled from his feet a few short hours earlier fronting up to represent the government of Australia. Because there was no one else.
McCormack's party room had rolled him because, basically, they have contemplated the next election and - no matter what the senior coalition party, the Liberals, said or did - they blinked.
He'd just stood in as acting prime minister with Morrison away and his performance was found basically wanting by his colleagues and the media, laughable in some quarters.
But the replacement is Mr Joyce, a man who lost the deputy prime ministership three years ago in the wake of revelations he'd had an affair with a staffer. There was also a sexual harassment complaint to the Nationals about Mr Joyce, but that ended without an official finding and has been kept confidential.
A politician regarded with good cut-through even though he can easily get tangled with his words, Mr Joyce was asked at his comeback press conference on Monday, what's "the problem you are apparently the solution to?"
Here is Mr Joyce straight-talking about it all being about the next election:
"Well, I want to make sure that we have a process that we can go to places such as Central Queensland, that we have the capacity to, on behalf of the Coalition, to give us the very best chance of winning the next election," Mr Joyce said.
"I'm not detracting for one second, in one iota, the qualities that Michael has and has shown the parliament.
"I'm not saying also that I had the same suite of issues. I have a different suite of issues. I have a different suite of attributes, and hopefully we'll be able to apply them in such a way as to give us our best chance and that was not a decision as I keep saying that I made is the decision that my colleagues made versus nationals later."
Does this dramatic move fix anything?
The Morrison government is already regarded as having a woman problem and routinely records lower approval ratings with female voters in opinion polls. This move will certainly not fix that.
The federal government is now more than divided as ever on climate change and working towards any goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The move to Mr Joyce is one of the Nationals standing apart from the Liberal Party on climate change, whereas Mr McCormack was seen within the Nationals as too much of a follower to the prime minister.
Mr Joyce has made no commitment on climate on day one of being back, but he promised to stand up for the Nationals.
And he says, he has learned from his mistakes.
"I've spent three years on the backbench and you know, I hope I come back a better person," he told reporters.
"I don't want to dwell on the personal, except to say, hopefully one learns from their mistakes and makes a better person of themselves."
Michael McCormack's last words in question time as acting PM were "que sera, sera". Indeed, let's see what will be.
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