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Barnaby, just another inebriated pollie

By Bert Hetebry

How sad to see the image of Barnaby Joyce on the pavement, cursing at himself as he talks to his wife on the phone.

Dear Barnaby is not the first politician to find himself in an embarrassing situation after having enjoyed one or two too many drinks, in fact the list is long of politicians who seem not to be in full control while enjoying the company of a few drinking buddies, or perhaps leaning lonely on a bar after every one else has retired for the night. In fact, the list is a long one including Prime Ministers and dating back to the very first Federal Parliament and the first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton.

Adam Brereton wrote in The Guardian of 29 December 2015 of Jamie Briggs who resigned from the Turnbull ministry over “an error of professional judgement” in a Hong Kong bar.

Listed in the article are former Prime Ministers Malcolm Fraser, discovered wearing a towel instead of trousers and missing a very expensive Rolex watch and a wallet with $600 spare change.

Apparently drugged.

And a memorable story about John Gorton who on boarding a VIP jet in Melbourne to take him to Canberra, fell asleep and was woken by the noise of engines and vomited… apparently airsick but the plane was still on the tarmac.

Who can forget the confession Kevin Rudd made of visiting a strip club in New York but being too drunk to remember the details.

And John Barton, and Tony Abbott… the list goes on.

But drunken shenanigans are not restricted to politicians in Canberra when we look at the sad case of Brittany Higgins on a fateful night drifting from pub to club with a work colleague.

The wheels of power it seems need the lubrication of the odd drink now and again, from kids just out of their teens seconded to helpful roles assisting the parliamentarians to the most senior members within the ranks of government and opposition.

Politics can be a brutal game, where the image and trustworthiness of the politicians are grist for the campaign mill, and yet we see that alcohol and the subsequent lapses of demeanour are all too frequently used to undermine the credibility of politicians. Or as with Christian Porter allegedly behaving inappropriately while drinking with young female staffer. The incident had been photographed by another staffer but fortunately Alan Tudge was on hand to delete the photograph from the phone, so the story goes.

Interestingly, despite the allegations, Malcolm Turnbull considered Porter of enough upright character to appoint him as Attorney General a couple of weeks later.

Simmering in the background had been stories of misogyny, alleged rapes and a group of senior male members who proudly proclaimed themselves to be members of the ‘Big Swinging Dick’ club.

The drinking culture within Parliament House was addressed in a review the workplace environment within Parliament House by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins in 2021, and while the review focussed very much on workplace bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault, it was noted that the significance of drinking and a drinking culture were risk factors in the prevalence of the issues addressed in the report.

But alcohol is still available in Parliament House, in the dining room and at very reasonable prices.

It would be difficult to actually ban people who work in Parliament House from drinking, but it surely would be a good idea to limit drinking, ban it completely within Parliament House. Parliamentarians would doubtless say that would be impossible since there are many official functions held which may well include meals with toasts and so forth, so limit the alcohol to those functions but ban alcohol at all other times.

A most noteworthy book on the topic of drunkenness and the inevitable lapses in demeanour is the aptly titled ‘The Psychology of Stupidity’ in which, through various contributors it is pointed out that even the most gifted, talented, intelligent people do stupid things, and to see a drunken politician berating himself while talking on the phone to his wife and admitting that he should not have been drinking because of his prescribed medication is an absolute act of stupidity. The other qualifiers mentioned above, gifted, talented, intelligent, I will leave to the reader’s judgement, but one would be forgiven for thinking that the lessons of previous alcohol fuelled indiscretions appear to have not been well learned, at least by some.


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  1. GL

    “… that even the most gifted, talented, intelligent people do stupid things…” Three of these things definitely aren’t Bananababy.
    I’ve also sent my local bookshop Petrarch’s Books an email to order a copy of the book.

    On another note: For about five seconds I thought it was a photo of The Spud in drag.


    It’s good news, yet another a waste of space and gorger in the public funded pig trough from the LNP will soon go bye-byes.

  2. Roswell

    If that’s the only job in the country where you can be drunk at work then I’ve clearly missed my calling.

  3. paul walter

    Seen politicians on both sides in a poor state during Question Time.
    You would have trouble banning it.
    They would just have mates sling a few slabs over the fence.

  4. paul walter

    As for his wife and phone call. ” This is YOUR fault again for nagging me about mowing the front F……g. lawn This is your fault, collect me or watch out when I get back.
    Bloody wimmin !!!

  5. Phil Pryor

    This skinful of scummy schooner scourings in a public position, lower than a nematode’s nuts, is B Joyce, the pox of choice for many New England voters, who fail to succeed in basic thinking. A brimmng bedpan is no political representative. The TV apparently has run a Mad Morrison cartoon, the Shire Liar for Hire, and general universal failure at everything over time. Is the nation cursed, doomed? Harlotry to donors Howard, Abyssmal Abbott, Tosser Turnbull the one man egofixated papalist, and Morrison the Majestic Maggot for Merde Dog media… Let’s pull the plugs and scupper the nation, before the greedy, ignorant, selfish, foul, vain and utterly stupid humiliate us further.

  6. Pingback: Barnaby, just another inebriated pollie - independent news and commentary Australia

  7. Attuross

    The difference with Joyce is that he appears to be inebriated 24/7, 7 days a week.

  8. New England Cocky

    Uhm …. as a too long suffering Australian voter in the New England feral electorate having a representative of the NOtional$ restricting economic development to create a19th century living theme park to the genocide of Indigenous Aborigines by their predecessors; Bert Hetebry fails to recognise that we have been subjected to this former pub bouncer performing this antic since he replaced the very competent Tony Windsor (INDEPENDENT) at the 2013 feral elections, and the stark contrast is simply disgusting!!
    But this example of acute alcoholism is the least of his sins. Consider preaching ”Notional$ family values” while conducting an adulterous affair with a staffer, apparently NOT a sackable offence under the Canberra Bubble Parliament. Consider unwanted sexual harassment of attractive female volunteer party workers, condoned by a party investigation. Consider the over $600,000 Ministerial report by mobile phone message. When is ”incompetent” too inept for COALiiton politicians??
    Now check out his mates in the New England Campaign Committee for the 2016 Kiwi bye-election. Some of ”Tamworth’s finest” concocting a known lie that Windsor was chasing any skirt that passed ….. when it was common knowledge that Windsor was very happily married to his kindergarten sweetheart. But roll on the NOtional$ election campaign broadcasting this known lie. Reliable sources confirm that many of these doyens of the Tamworth business community were themselves involved playing away at that time.
    The Notional$ are delightful persons, very sensitive about ignoring the extra-curricular sexual activities of their spouses because jumping the blanket is the preferred traditional sport.
    But the sick bullying of Mrs Windsor Senior by NOtional$ telephone goons was completely gutless, like the politicians elected.
    The NOtional$ have been unable to staff all their polling booths in New England since the 1976 name change from ”Country Party” to ”NOtional$” to benefit the Joh to Canberra Campaign. So why are they still on ballot papers across Australia? Financial support from the heavy road transport industry protecting their bailiwick of fuel rebates & government subsidies while suppressing the renovation of competing railway lines despite the world wide increase of rail freight by about 10% per year over the past decade.
    There are no excuses for Beetrooter, the adulterous, alcoholic, misogynist representing the Notional$ (and himself) in New England.

  9. leefe

    The only sad thing about that image is that there are so many people who have, and still will, vote for him.

  10. wam

    Every time I see the beetrooter, I think of the old whisky nose spread all over his face and wonder how anyone could vote for him much less over 50000?

  11. Clakka

    Thanks NEC, the scope and reach of the Beetrooter’s guile and destruction goes on and on, like the wreckage of APVMA, up to his gills in rorts on the MDBW Plan with dire community affects reaching right up to northern NSW and SEQ, and his current attempted wreckage of climate abatement measures by renewables. And the list could go on, as he ploughs ideological stupidity and ignorance forming his own parasitical class.

    It is notable that right across Oz, the OHSE Acts, subsidiary Acts and regulations (fed & state) make it explicitly illegal to be under the influence of alcohol, consume alcohol, or have alcohol in the workplace (unless the business is for wholesaling or retailing alcoholic beverages), or whilst traveling to or from the workplace or from events organized by the employing organization. Even in pubs or restaurants it’s illegal to provide alcohol to the inebriated or to the point of inebriation. And preventive and reporting obligations apply to all in such circumstances with liability increasing by ‘management seniority’.

    So what to say about parliaments, fed, state or local govt? The premises are unquestionably workplaces. The utter bs peddled is that MPs are neither employees or employers (regardless that the PS is). It is irrelevent whether the parliament is incorporated, and significantly notable that political parties are corporations.

    It sums to an utter political farce, and an entrenchment of intemperate behavior, giving a finger to the rest of society, who can no longer use the euphemism of ‘tired and emotional’. Regardless of medications (wherein he knew the warnings), the Beetrooter is a serial offender, vexatious, and a peddler of parasitism and a destroyer of economies and environment. That he is known in quarters of the Canberra bubble as ‘a great retail politician’, is an indictment on political machinations, and the feckless, immature and moronic media that peddle such crap.

    In my rural neck-o-the-woods, the farmers and their employees, and others may go to the pub for a counter-meal, or a restaurant, but leave, heading home by 9pm so as not to be affected by alcohol. It’s only the sonks, soaks and losers that start early, and stay on, and they vote.

    It’s those the Beetrooter loves to pump them up, whist enfeebling them at the same time. His self-description as a “Dead F##king C##t” is spot on, and Littleprong and the collective pretenders of the National Party haven’t got the guts to turf him, nor the Duttonate, for the fear of collapsing their gerrymandered cross-blackmailing coalition. Parasites all.

  12. Terence Mills

    Barnaby will be encouraged to cash in his chips before the next election is what I’m hearing : the National Part now view him as an embarrassment and an encumbrance ; no longer as described by Tony Abbott Australia’s best retail politician – but who pays retail anyhow and who listens to Tony Abbott ?

    Barnaby will probably be entitled to an annual pension in excess of $150,000 indexed taking into account an MP’s base salary plus top-ups for additional roles such as Deputy PM – but then there may be claims from his former spouse.

    He may find it hard to get employment but there’s always Gina although he hasn’t been much use to her since he lost the leadership of the Nationals.

  13. Max Gross

    Yeah, nah. Everbody seems to have shrugged it off with “Oh, it’s just Barnaby being Barnaby.” Australia’s best “retail politician”! Whatever that means. But can you imagine the uproar if it was say, Albanese flat out drunk on a footpath? Or, say, Penny Wong???

  14. Phil Pryor

    What is the difference between B Joyce and a huge brown reeking log of jungle dropping? Hmmnn? Any?? No?? Drunken dunce…

  15. Roswell

    Phil, huge brown reeking logs of jungle droppings don’t sit in Parliament.

    Oh, wait. Hang on …

  16. Phil Pryor

    Dressed in a suit, horizontal, contents malodorous, a nostril nudgng noxiousness, a beerish coprophagic crapulous crepitation…don’t wait for that, Roswell.

  17. Henry Rodrigues

    Fornicating, intoxicating, just another useless day in the life of the worst example of a coalition dole bludger. He is not worth a fraction what he’s paid to sit in the parliament and make a laughingstock of himself and his useless party, starting with his malodorous leader, the spud headed enforcer and Little dick his party director, and of course the screeching squawking feathers flying Susan Ley.

  18. B Sullivan

    Max Gross,

    If it was Anthony Albanese or Penny Wong flat out drunk on the footpath it would not be unreasonable to think that they had taken to drink to silence their nagging consciences that keep reminding them that they are complicit in assisting Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza. The guilt and shame of depriving these suffering people of UNWRA humanitarian relief at the behest of their tormentors and executioners would be enough to drive anyone to drink.

  19. New England Cocky

    @ GL: Corruption is a way of life in the COALition ….. it is only ”in error” and never an indictable offence as occurs in commercial workplaces.

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