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Day to Day Politics: Barnaby ain’t that popular.

Wednesday June 8 2016

1 Every time Barnaby Joyce appears on Q&A, for some reason I get that cringe factor. You know what I mean. It’s the feeling you get when you know that someone is going to embarrass themselves. And so it was with Joyce’s answers to several questions.

I have never understood the National Party. They are supposed to represent a country constituency yet seem to be no different to Liberal members.

When the matter of the NBN was raised the whole of the Tamworth town hall erupted with a disenchantment that must have pierced Barnaby’s ear drums. If ever there was a policy that the National Party should have supported it was a national broadband service. It was a policy that should have been its natural purpose and not to do so was just throwing mud in the face of its natural constituency.

This was confirmed by the heckles and jeers Joyce got every time he went near the subject. So much so that I am inclined to the view of Tania Plibserek that the NBN might be the big sleeper of the election.

Tony Windsor when questioned on the subject explained the broader benefits of the internet and was greeted with cheers when he said:

“Do it once, do it right, and do it with fibre” (which rather matches my thought).

“The problem with designing a network to meet the needs of today is that it denies you the ability to meet the needs of tomorrow”.

Arguably there has never been an infrastructure project so unambiguously married to National Party philosophy and the urgent needs of its followers.

But with remarkable technological ignorance and political blindness people like Joyce, Abbott and Turnbull they have treated the people of country Australia abysmally.

For many it would have solved the tyranny of distance and for others the concerns for their health. Conservatives have never understood the NBN and it reflects their ideology of a dislike for change.

Barnaby was also confronted on the issue of coal and coal seam gas mining. A beef farmer wanted to know why the Deputy PM couldn’t do the same as the federal government did with a similar problem with sand mining on Fraser Island in 1919.

“You can stop mining, you do have that power and we are waiting for you to do it” she said.

The issue is always muddied for Joyce by the fact that he and his wife purchased two blocks of land adjoining two licence areas at Gwabegar. They paid $570,000 for land that has little agricultural value. This of course creates a conflict of interest that poor Barnaby doesn’t handle to well.

And so question after question was directed at him and when his back is to the wall his cheeks flair, his lips pout. Well I guess you have the gist of it.

2 It comes of no surprise that the Liberals are outspending the Labor party at a rate of two to one. Every time I change channels it seems I am looking at a conservative politician and occasionally a progressive. Combined the major parties have spent $1.5 million in the month since the campaign started.

3 And an add directed entirely at presenting the Prime Minister as a cuddly father figure who did it hard because he was raised by a sole father wasn’t unexpected. Personally I found it rather gratuitous because he had the best schooling and at age 27 his father bequeathed him with an apartment and an 800 acre property. Not too many young men get that sort of a start in life. Sure he was raised by a sole parent. That in itself is not ideal. So was I.

Another reason for the add could well be that their internal polling is showing that Shortens accusation the he is ‘’out of touch-ness’’ is biting.

4 On Tuesday I was critical of political polling but I feel duty bound to tell you that yesterday’s Essential Poll had both parties on 50/50.

When asked this question:

“Thinking about the Federal election campaign so far, how much interest have you been taking in news about the campaign and what the parties have been saying?”

14% say they have taken a lot of interest in news about the election campaign and what the parties have been saying, and 39% have taken some interest. 45% have taken very little or no interest.

45% of those aged 18-34 have a lot or some interest compared to 61% of those aged 55+.

5 Those who say that Australia doesn’t have an underlying problem with racism should think a little deeper.

News that former Sydney Swans legend Adam Goodes has deleted his Twitter account is of serious concern. The deletion coincides with yet another spate of racial abuse directed at him.

We will never truly understand the effect Free Speech has on an individual until we have suffered from the abuse of it.

6 The age-old problem that Labor has about its credibility as an economic manager will continue for as long as it allows the ‘’where is the money coming from’ ’question to go unanswered.

My thought for the day

A commitment to love and social justice demands the transformation of social structures as well as our hearts and minds.

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  1. Sandra Hill

    As someone who has a farm and is living in the country the National party has never represented my interests. I would never vote for them as they are so conservative and lacking in imagination. We need plans for the future and technology just as much as people in the cities but it astounds me how many farmers still vote conservative.

  2. Garth

    Thanks John. Just finished reading your article above then flicked over to The Guardian and found the following. Hopefully this might help with the interminable ‘how are you going to pay for it?’ question (have you noticed that the coalition aren’t being asked that question during this campaign?)


    I suspect though that rather than fending off coalition attacks we are now in store for another Morrison rant-a-thon.

  3. Möbius Ecko

    …his father bequeathed him with an apartment and an 800 acre property

    His mother, also wealthy in her own right, left him a healthy trust.

    This is the best piece I’ve read on Turnbull distorting his upbringing: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/federal-election-2016/opinion/federal-election-2016-turnbull-lucky-to-have-loving-father/news-story/a8233b1d7bb592af96284b5e70d7f822

    The use of his deceased father in a distortion of the truth about his upbringing says more about the deficiencies in Turnbull as a person than just about anything else I can think of.

  4. Möbius Ecko

    Then there was his outright lie in saying Labor’s NBN would cost $30b more than theirs and take six years longer to roll out.

    That $30b figure came out of Turnbull’s original estimations where he took the absolute worse case and highest costs possible for Labor’s roll out whilst making the best case possible for his MTM proposal. Not only was that figure and overstating the roll out time blown out of the water early, recent history has sunk it as Turnbull’s MTM costs and delays have blown out twice to the point being more expensive than Labor’s original proposal.

    Someone really should have taken Barnaby up on that, he would have been left floundering.

    This is something I’ve noticed that Barnaby does more than most politicians, he keeps repeating proven fallacies and disproved facts long after they have been put to bed. Very few confront him on them, but when they do he fobs it off

    Then there’s his costs. Yes he has a huge electorate in area but no other member before him had to have multiple offices and have them expensively refurbished to do the job. Windsor for many years ran out of a single office and by accounts did a much better job of seeing to the entire area than Barnaby has done. Just another thing that Barnaby should not be allowed to fob off, as he does every time someone raises it.

  5. Peter F

    They dropped the ‘Country’ years ago – possibly one of their few honest actions.

  6. helvityni

    How come we have a man like Barnaby as our Deputy PM, I can’t get my head around that weird fact. Well, we had dumb-dumb Abbott as the PM, so I should stop worrying, learn from Tony and accept that ‘shit happens’…and will happen again; Mal preparing himself for a FB debate, softening his way with a crappy emotive POOR Mal story.

    “A commitment to love and social justice demands the transformation of social structures as well as our hearts and minds”.
    Thank you John for your wise thoughts.

  7. lawrencewinder

    The incipient questions that hovered about the Tamworth Town Hall but was never asked during Monday’s QandA was, “Who is caring for Australia” and “Who has a palpable vision for this country?” I thought the Farmers Fed VP and Tony Windsor came closest to an answer. Joel Fitzgibbon was a waste of space….unfortunately. Joyce was …well….Joyce!

  8. Matters Not

    Joel Fitzgibbon was a waste of space….unfortunately

    Indeed he was. Misses so many opportunities to go for the political jugular. It was though he was a spectator and not a participant.

    Surely, Labor have better talent than that.

  9. Bolly

    Sadly, the Ag portfolio often gets the lowest calibre performer of the Labor caucus. Its where they have the least votes to lose or win.

  10. Terry2

    At least Barnaby was permitted to appear on Q&A, the last time he was invited Tony Abbott would not allow him to do so : for any National Party supporter that must have been a very revealing moment, to see if the Nationals were independant or if they were merely an appendage of the Liberals – an opportunity missed by Barnaby allowing Abbott/Credlin to dictate to him – probably will lose the Nationals quite a bit of support in the coming election.

    During the Q&A program Joyce said several times that the Commonwealth had no power over coal seam gas extraction. This was misleading as the Commonwealth has previously found a head of power under the Constitution to stop sand mining on Fraser Island and if the coalition were interested – which they are not – they could find any number of ways to override state legislation and control CSG exploration and extraction. This paper is quite instructive :

  11. JeffJL

    As thick and useless as Barnaby is at least give him credit for having a pair of possible embryo making sex organs, and large ones, and going on Q&A.

    The PM has not.

  12. etnorb

    Great article (as usual!) John! I think this Barnacle Joyce bloke is a reincarnated Jo blow Bjelke! I listen to a short satirical radio comedy piece on Community radio here in SA, called “Cactus”–when the male does his “Barnacle” impersonation he sounds so much like the late “great” (NOT!!) Joh! Bloody scary stuff!

  13. Shogan

    “I have never understood the National Party. They are supposed to represent a country constituency yet seem to be no different to Liberal members.”

    That confirms my thoughts on the Nationals in a ‘Voting in Australia 101’ piece I put together for a Facebook page earlier this year…

    A crash course in Politics 101 as I tend to see it…

    – Labor tend to favour the workers & the less well off…

    – Greens tend to favour the environment, the workers & the less well off…

    – Liberals tend to favour BIG business & might hang carrots in front of the workers & less well off for votes at election time, but normally the carrot is too far away to read the fine print…

    – Nationals are a wart on the Liberals arse that country people think represent them…

    – Minor Party members & Independents are generally single issue members hanging around for carrots when the ruling party wants their vote…

    When it comes to voting, more often than not no matter who you vote for, your vote will end up with either Labor or Liberal, so you need to work out which party you don’t want in & make sure you put them last on your voting slip…

  14. Backyard Bob

    It’s disappointing to see that Labor is still so tied to the surplus malarkey.

  15. Stephen Brailey

    The insanity of voting for the cardboard cutouts that are the ghost of the Country National Party are self evident. However country people’s information sources are limited to the scrapings from Rupert’s boots especially with the current crappy internet coverage. Catch 22; it seems being uninformed about the reality of the LNP just leads to more ignorance and fear?!

  16. jantonius

    Backyard Bob has it right about Labor playing this surplus rubbish.
    Wayne Swan made a big error in predicting surpluses, playing right into the hands of the Media.
    Labor need to get enough courage to tell the realities about Government budgets. Their timidity merely ensures that they will continue to be attacked for lacking economic responsibility.

  17. Stephen Brailey

    They’re keeping their mouths shut because anything they say will be thrown back in their faces by the ever present Murdoch and compliant corpoeate press. Have you ever read a newspaper and seen a positive article about labor or greens economic management…not me, not for at least 20 years in this country!

  18. jantonius

    Ah well, if the best thing for Labor is stay the Giant Gutless Wonder Party – it’s a pity that Swan opened his mouth.
    It sounded like he believed so much in surpluses for a sovereign budgeting.

    The timidity is a haven for reaction, such as the very spirited attacks on those who are willing to defend interests Labor has retracted from.
    The criticism of the Libs seemed half-hearted in comparison.

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