When Warren Truss was approaching retirement, there was a significant push in the National Party for “anyone but Barnaby” to take up the reins of leadership.
Mr Joyce has been accused by those within the Nationals of being a “grandstander”, of needing complex information in a small number of dot points and not putting in enough hard work. Others love him as a “retail politician” — able to cut through with one-liners and understand what people really think.
This “retail politician” seems to decide what he will support based on what the guys in the front bar at the local pub want, what Gina wants, and, belatedly, what might win him votes in his local electorate.
From the time he parachuted himself into the seat of New England, he has embarked on a shameless parade of self-promotion, taking credit for the achievements of Tony Windsor and the Labor government whilst engaging in blatant pork-barrelling regardless of cost or efficiency.
Barnaby decided he wanted to move the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to Armidale. A subsequent cost-benefit analysis commissioned by the government and conducted by Ernst and Young cost $272,000 and found there were no material economic advantages to support the relocation which will cost $25.6 million.
The report warned the APVMA may be unable to relocate, recruit and replace key technical staff and management, and could lose access to stakeholders. It warned chemical companies may leave the Australian market and lose up to $2.37 million in revenue due to short-term productivity damages.
But what Barnaby wants, Barnaby gets, and we now find ourselves in the position where the business model prepared by consultants for the agency has said they will be forced to look outside Australia to fill permanent jobs. The pesticides authority will also have to outsource more of its work to external scientists for the relocation to succeed, the Pegasus report said.
Joyce also insisted that the responsibility for water be taken from the environment portfolio and given to him.
“We’ve taken water and put it back into agriculture so we can look after you and make sure we don’t have the greenies running the show basically sending you out the back door. That was a hard ask but we did it,” Barnaby told farmers at a Shepparton pub (where else).
When Four Corners exposed the theft of water by farmers and big conglomerates, Barnaby said it was the states’ problem, which is true to a degree, but one could reasonably expect the federal minister to investigate the implementation of federal legislation. No doubt the Four Corners program was too long to maintain his attention and the evidence they handed over too long to read.
We are told that it is the Prime Minster’s decision as to who shall be given cabinet roles but the recent reshuffle shows, once again, it is Barnaby largely dictating those decisions.
Darren Chester had been doing a good job in Infrastructure – well as good as his party will allow him to do. I don’t remember him posing for photo shoots or blaming Labor for stuff. He spoke reasonably and honestly when I heard him interviewed and projects were actually moving ahead.
But Barnaby wants to be the man to ‘deliver’ inland rail that will bring ‘prosperity’ to his constituents, to the farmers, to the owners of property and towns along the route like Gwabegar. So Mr Chester was kicked out after he had done much of the hard work towards advancing the project.
Plus Darren voted yes for marriage equality and against Barnaby’s pick for deputy leader, Matt Canavan, a previous KPMG and Productivity Commission employee who cold-called Barnaby asking for a job, got it as chief-of-staff in 2010, became a Senator in 2014, and is now Barnaby’s loyal foot soldier.
Barnaby’s sugar mummy Gina wants dams so expect the newly appointed Minister for Infrastructure to resurrect his 100 dams paper that caused such derision when it was released in 2013.
In March 2014, Barnaby announced a Ministerial working group to accelerate progress on dams.
“The Agriculture Minister will oversee the group, which includes Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, Environment Minister Greg Hunt, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, Senator Simon Birmingham.
The working group will consult with state and territory governments to understand their priorities and how they can best work together.”
Looks like it will be just up to Barnaby to “get ‘er done” now despite all the experts and previous reports saying new dams are economically unviable and environmentally unsound. Barnaby got told by Gina’s ANDEV and the IPA that it was a good idea so that’s all he needs to hear.
And whilst I hesitate to comment on someone’s private life, his moralising comments about ‘family values’ and marriage equality when he said that the “best protection” his daughters could have was a “secure relationship with a loving husband” seem so sad right now.
When Australia is in need of real leadership based on evidence and with the best interests of the nation in mind, we are lumbered with this selfish, puffed-up, beer-swilling buffoon and a Prime Minister willing to do his bidding in order to keep his own job.
Someone should remind Malcolm that, in the lower house, the Liberals (plus LNPers who identify as Liberal) hold 60 seats compared to 16 Nationals members, and in the upper house, the Libs have 26 Senators compared to 4 from the Nats.
If Barnaby walked away from the Coalition, he would be walking into oblivion, so stop pandering to the beetroot bully. His threats mean nothing. Stand up and be a leader and do what you know must be done, starting with urgent action on climate change. And no, Snowy Hydro 2.0 doesn’t get you off the hook. We need action yesterday!