David Littleproud has vowed to lead the Nationals from the "sensible" centre after knocking off Barnaby Joyce to seize the party's top job. The former leader has already pledged his support to Mr Littleproud and new deputy Perin Davey as they embark on a "mighty task ahead of them". "I suppose you think I am sad. Not really," Mr Joyce said a video posted to social media on Monday. "I gave every ounce of my energy to make sure that I looked after the people of regional Australia, the people in the small family businesses, the people in the weatherboard and iron, the people on the farms, making sure that we drove the investments to take their standard of living ahead." Mr Littleproud emerged from a marathon meeting on Monday as the new Nationals leader, having defeated Mr Joyce and former minister Darren Chester in a party room ballot. The 45-year-old's elevation to the top job completes a meteoric rise for the former rural banker, who only entered the Federal Parliament in 2016. "This is the proudest day of my professional life," Mr Littleproud told reporters inside Parliament House. The three-way leadership contest was framed as a choice about whether the Nationals would veer further to the right or reposition itself in the centre after the Coalition's election defeat. While the Nationals held all 16 of its lower house seats at the May 21 ballot, Mr Joyce's personal unpopularity in the inner-cities has been blamed for the wipeout of moderate Liberals MPs which contributed to the Coalition's downfall. Mr Littleproud signaled that he would seek to position the Nationals in the political middle-ground, saying that was where federal elections were won. "This is about us, as a party, moving forward, not lurching to the left not lurching to the right ... but bringing this thing called common sense to Canberra," he said. "That's what the National Party believes in." Mr Littleproud indicated the Nationals wouldn't renege on its commitment to net zero by 2050, but strongly signaled that it wouldn't pursue stronger action, including backing Labor's plans to legislate a 43 per cent emissions reduction target for 2030. Mr Littleproud was noncommittal when asked about the Nationals' position on an Indigenous Voice for Parliament. One of the vanquished moderate Liberals, Trent Zimmerman, said the Nationals needed to decide if it wanted to return to government with the Liberals when weighing up whether to keep Mr Joyce. "It's pretty small comfort that you've retained all your seats when you see others falling," Mr Zimmerman told ABC's RN Breakfast. Mr Zimmerman, who was among the loudest voices inside the Liberals calling for stronger climate action, said National senator Matt Canavan's mid-campaign comment that the pursuit of net zero was "dead" was "one of the killer moments for us". Mr Littleproud wouldn't be drawn on whether he would attempt to reign in his outspoken colleagues such as Senator Canavan. But Mr Littleproud said the Liberals and Nationals needed to work together to win elections. "We've got to understand that we are part of a coalition and we can only win together," he said. "But chasing extremities won't win, it won't win us anything. The sensible centre will. Understanding each other's values, principles and aspirations is important."