Sycophancy 101: The Great Parliamentary Guffaws Of Barnaby Joyce


In some circles, he’s known as ‘The Deputy Prime Minister of Australia’, or the ‘Member for New England’. In Hollywood, he’s known simply as ‘The Tomato’, which is how Johnny Depp described him after Barnaby Joyce threatened to euthanise his dogs, Pistol and Boo.

But to us, Barnaby Joyce – the Leader of the National Party – will always be a class clown sycophant prone to occasional snaps followed by angry rants.

Speaking of sycophants, we had cause to revisit Malcolm Turnbull’s recent ‘sycophancy speech’ – the blistering attack on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in federal parliament on February 7. It’s covered in depth in this excellent analysis by Fergus Peace.

One of the great ironies of the speech was that Turnbull was accusing Shorten of sycophancy (a reasonable accusation, granted)… but sitting right behind Turnbull was Barnaby Joyce, delivering one of the truly great sycophantic performances Australian Parliament has ever seen.

Joyce variously looked like a school child egging on a bully, a class clown vying for the teacher’s attention (at one point he appears to make a ‘fart gag’), and just a general douche bag who consumes wayyyy to much sugar.

We’ve pulled together a video that zooms in on Joyce’s reactions throughout the speech. See if you can spot the sycophant…

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.