Barna-be Careful What You Wish For, Australia


Australia has jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire on the Barnaby Joyce affair, writes Josh Dabelstein.

Although an immediate pang of relief is delivered when someone like Barnaby Joyce is publicly humiliated out of the (formal) National Party leadership and, further, as Deputy Prime Minister of the country, it’s important to cheer with caution.

Barnaby Joyce’s shortcomings as a representative of the Australian people have unfortunately been overshadowed by his problematic relationship with, and subsequent nepotism on behalf of, one of his staffers. I don’t see any utility in repeating her name — every human satellite in his life, decommissioned or freshly thrust into his orbit, deserves a bit of a break from the million media telescopes.

It was not until pictures of her Barna-baby bulging belly that Australia decided to hold hands together in moral high-horsery and condemn this man over what, realistically speaking, is his least socially, environmentally, and economically damaging decision.

Former Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, pictured during an appearance on ABC Lateline last year.

When I was 13 my mother gave me some advice which only now, thanks to Barnaby Joyce, makes complete sense: “Be careful where you put your pen, AND be careful where you put your penis.”

Our outrage at Barnaby’s inability to have heeded the latter half of that sentence is a gross indictment of our failure to have had the adequate means, interest, or both, to have been hard enough on his gross negligence of the advice’s former half.

The son of New Zealander James Michael Joyce and quite possibly a blood blister (‘coagulate conception’, which might explain his ignorance as to his own New Zealand citizenship), Mr Joyce has been a consistent perpetrator of misdeeds significantly worse than philandering, nepotism, and indoor hat-wearing.

It is this highlight reel of misdeeds that, in the wake of his significant demotion, now reflect far more poorly on the voting public than he:

  • Ignoring productivity commission reports. As Shadow Minister for Water in 2010 Joyce remarked that he’d used the most recent Productivity Commission report on water as toilet paper — which I’m guessing he ate considering his disregard for the utility of flushing.
  • His support for offshore detention of refugees, and insistence on the matter of Australia’s sovereignty as being more important than the illegality of our offshore detention camps and the daily human rights abuses that they house.
  • His bizarre argument against the carbon tax and subsequently very confused understanding of feminism, citing that a tax on carbon emissions as something that “will end our sheep industry, [and]mothers aren’t going to be happy spending $100 on a roast”. At least he seems to have acknowledged that not all wives get a roasting for free.
  • His tireless campaigning for the wealth creation of offshore mining magnates, his lying over the number of jobs being created by Adani, and his ostrich-like insistence on the mythological entity that is automation. “[The Adani Carmichael Coalmine] will get Australians out of poverty.” All four Australians pushing buttons on all 400 machines digging up land, poisoning waterways, and sending all profits generated back to Indian magnates.

For all these things, and more, Malcolm Turnbull should have demanded his resignation. Instead, the PM appears to have had a gutful of dealing with Barnaby, thrown him under the bus in predictably opportunistic demagoguery, and we all took the bait.

And his replacement?

New Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack.

Michael McCormack the new Deputy Prime Minister and proud owner of Australia’s longest piece of string, requires no introduction or analysis. I’ll just leave you with a quote to mull over from an article McCormack wrote in 1993, while the wind whispers, “is this what we wanted?”

“A week never goes by anymore that homosexuals and their sordid behaviour don’t become further entrenched in society.

“Unfortunately gays are here and, if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn’t wipe out humanity, they’re here to stay.

“On Monday hundreds of thousands of homosexuals marched through Washington in a demonstration intended to show their demands for equal rights and an end to discrimination …

“How can these people call for rights when they’re responsible for the greatest medical dilemma known to man…”.

McCormack claims that his views have ‘evolved’ since penning this column for the Wagga Daily Advertiser, which is a surprising use of words for a conservative. Whether he ever did or didn’t believe these words when he wrote them, he had them published as one of many moving parts in the machine that has vaulted him to his new position.

This makes McCormack an even smellier pile of poo than Barnaby, and Australia once again finds itself taken one step forward and two steps backward.

As a side note, Bob Hawke was Australia’s most popular prime minister of all time, and a known philanderer. That is all.

Joshua Dabelstein is a writer's writer and a sporadic New Matilda contributor.