When Julie Bishop suggested that Labor should back off Barnaby she used the phrase “glass houses”. Personally, I’ve always thought that the saying, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’ was a little silly. I mean, if you live in a brick or wooden house, does that make it ok?
While I understand that Bishop was attempting to suggest that there was an unwritten rule that politicians don’t delve into each other’s private life, her timing does raise some interesting questions. So let’s just re-cap the past few days events:
- The media show a photo of a pregnant woman, Vikki Campion. Her pregancy someone is thought to be proof about a rumour concerning our Deputy PM. While I’m not sure how the mere fact that she’d pregnant proves said rumour, it allows everybody to acknolwedge what everybody – except Malcolm – has known for a long time. I mean, she wasn’t wearing a T-shirt saying, “Barnaby is the Dad”. However, the story is now in the public domain.
- Labor announce that they don’t intend to delve into Barnaby’s sex life because that’s both something that they find distasteful to discuss, as well as being something they find even more distasteful to think about.
- Questions start to be raised about the circumstances surrounding Ms. Campion’s changes in employment. From working for Mr Joyce, she moved to Matt Canavan’s office. When that was no longer possible, she moved to Damian Drum’s office as media adviser on $190,000 a year. Mr Drum clearly needed a media adviser because until this week he hadn’t appeared in the media since he was coach of Fremantle. I think we can all say that it’s thanks to Ms Campion that he is now appearing in the media with such frequency, although it’s unclear whether it was her advice that he’d be better to say as little as possible.
- Mr Turnbull says that he knows nothing – which is a first. He clarifies this by asserting that, unlike everyone else in Canberra, he was unaware that Ms. Campion was in a relationship with Mr Joyce and that, even if she was, he’s married so she’s not his partner because the ministerial guidelines only preclude partners and at the time of her appointment, she and Barnaby were not living rent-free in the house of a “mate”‘; Barnaby was a family man with Christian values that were being offended by the idea that people of the same sex could marry. To be clear, it’s only when you’re on Centrelink benefits that someone becomes your “partner” as soon as they spend one night at your place. In the case of politicians, it’s only when you’re wife runs over your clothes with a lawn mower that your status changes. If this were not so, Tony Abbott could have been considered the partner of all those AFP boys he was staying with on those cold, Canberra nights.
- Ms Bishop suggests that Labor shouldn’t be pursuing any of this, because people who live in glass houses, etc. This was a concept that she strangely ignored when the Liberals were targetting Sam Dastyari over links to Chinese businessmen. Apparently, it’s corrupt to have Chinese businessmen pay a bill for you, but it’s ok for them to donate to the Liberal Party. And it’s also ok, to have an Australian businessman give you rent-free accomodation.
- Scott Morrison does interview on 7:30 and seems to be smirking for the first part of the interview. Not sure why. Perhaps, he’s seen a beautiful set of numbers.
Now, Ms Bishop’s “glass houses” comments raises a few questions. Is she saying that even though the PM was blissfully ignorant of the Joyce rumours, the Liberals know all about Labor’s dirty secrets? If they’re relevant to Labor’s ability to govern, shouldn’t she reveal them anyway? If they’re not, what would be the motivation to reveal them apart from nastiness. I mean, Labor didn’t break the story – It was one of Rupert’s papers. Shouldn’t she be revealing secrets about Murdoch journalists if she wanted to punish those responsible?
Whatever, it’ll be interesting to see how Barnaby stands up as Acting PM, as well as watching Turnbull flash his forced smile and tell us all that everything is just fine and could you direct your questions to someone else, because he’s not commenting while he’s out of the country.
Breaking news: As I’m writing, Barnaby Joyce has confirmed his relationship with a “former staffer” but assures us that they were not together when she worked in his office. Phew! That’s a relief.
Ok, hopefully we can put this whole issue to bed – if you’ll pardon the expression – and get on with talking about jobs and growth again. Because jobs and growth are important. Why isn’t that the reason that Adani weren’t cautioned over their failure to disclose the CEO’s links to a company convicted over an environmental disaster in South Africa. Ok, it was found they “may” have been negligent, but hey aren’t jobs and growth a more important than a little bit of negligence here and there?