Michael McCormack has revealed some of his fellow politicians are encouraging him to reclaim the Nationals leadership following the Coalition's election downfall.
The Member for Riverina has not ruled out recontesting the top job and hinted at strong opposition towards current Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce hurting the Coalition in vital metro areas.
"Certainly no inner-city politician or indeed candidate was ever campaigning against Michael McCormack and using my name and discussing my integrity and reputation," Mr McCormack said.
"At the last election, the Nationals were all returned to their seats, and we had a couple of transitioning seats ... and the votes were much higher last time than they were this time - others can work out why that might have been."
Mr McCormack was ousted from his role as deputy prime minister following a leadership challenge from Mr Joyce in June last year.
Looking back, he said there "simply shouldn't have been" a leadership change and that some politicians have recently called on him to return to the role.
"I have discussions with colleagues all the time and some are wanting me to put my hand up," Mr McCormack said.
He also said he believes the Coalition would have performed better in the election if he was still the leader of the Nationals.
The current vote tally suggests the Nationals will retain all 10 of their federal seats, however their Coalition partners - the Liberal Party - have been impacted significantly be a rise in votes for Labor, the Greens and teal independents.
Mr McCormack hit out at the teal candidates, who he said should not be considered independents.
"They are a party and they should be considered as such because they're orchestrated, well financed and they communicate with each other," he said.
"True independents don't communicate with other independents prior to an election, have the same policies, have the same colours, have the same mantra."
The Nationals MP also said he was alarmed at the Greens' rise and denied that the Coalition was taken by surprise by the importance of climate change for voters.
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