Barnaby Joyce is truly a goose on the loose and the voters of New England should give considerable thought to replacing him with Tony Windsor.
His rather bizarre claim that Indonesia as a reprisal for our ban on live cattle exports let loose asylum seeker boats was met with laughter and ridicule at an ABC debate in Goulburn on Wednesday.
The Moderator Chris Uhlmann, participants Joel Fitzgibbon and Greens leader Richard Di Natale, all gave Joyce the opportunity to retract, but he stood by his suggestion the boat arrivals were retaliation for Australia’s live export ban, which followed the exposure of animal cruelty in Indonesian abattoirs.
On Thursday Treasurer Scott Morrison said Joyce was misunderstood. In part that is true. I find it very difficult to understand him at any time.Then Julie Bishop had to repudiate his remarks and pacify the Indonesians. Tony Windsor implied, “this bloke just had a brain explosion, we apologise for him”. Labor backbencher Nick Champion said, “Its hard to believe this man is the deputy Prime Minister”. Bill Shorten commented that he thought “I think the guy is just talking rubbish. When he starts weighing into foreign policy, I think he should best leave it to the grown ups in the room”.
What follows is my assessment of Joyce as a leader. It was first posted in April.
No doubt the Indonesians will soon let us know theirs.
Barnaby Joyce Prime Minister. How does that sit with you?
I have never known a politician to be more ridiculed than Barnaby Joyce. Even the man himself seemed to be self-mocking when he became Prime Minister for a couple of days last week.
Bill Shorten proffered the best observation when he said in answer to question about Joyce’s leadership. ‘’We will just have to see how he goes and cross our fingers’’
I’m repeating myself here but consider this.
It is said of Barnaby that he is the best retail salesman in Australia. I would suggest the public sees him as a person of mockery. It’s not so much his ocker image. After all Hawke and Keating had colourful turns of phrase. It’s the depth of comprehension. The understanding of things beyond politics.
It seems incredible that a man who was one of the principle instigators in 2009 of the downfall of the then opposition leader can now be his deputy.
It also seems implausible that a Senator who has crossed the floor to vote against his party on 19 occasions can now lead it.
Remember what Joyce said about mining Antarctica in 2006. He went there for a month and came back spruiking the beauty of it:
“The vastness of nature itself”.
We staked a claim to a large part of it and signed an agreement not to mine it. Then he suggested on the ABC that we should:
“We can really realise that [mining’s] the game… or we can stick our head in the snow”.
“Do I turn my head and allow another country to exploit my resource… or do I position myself in such a way as I’m going to exploit it myself before they get there” said Barnaby
In the same year Barnaby opposed the new wonder drug Gardasil for the treatment of cervical cancer. The drug is now common place and is administered to boys and girls in their first year of high school.
Barnaby opposed it because of:
“The psychological implications or the social implications”.
“There might be an overwhelming (public) backlash from people saying ‘don’t you dare put something out there that gives my 12-year-old daughter a license to be promiscuous”.
It gets worse. On Climate Change. When he was a Senator he said, despite all the science, that he had:
“Serious doubt about our ability to change the climate” and that “the climate change debate is an ongoing debate”.
In 2010 he said he didn’t believe that global warming is as bad as everyone says:
“Why do I say that…not because I have the factual premise to debunk them on the science” ’Barnaby explained.
Then he said that Climate Change was…
“An indulgent and irrelevant debate because, even if climate changes turns out to exist one day, we will have absolutely no impact on it whatsoever”.
It doesn’t finish there. When he was asked about being identified as a climate denier he answered:
“The whole terms repugnant. Climate change denier, like Holocaust denier…”
On the subject of abortion he tends to lecture women. Whatever your view on the subject in Australia the topic is generally treated with caution by politicians.
In 2004 speaking to Mark Colvin he said he’s:
“:Pro-life, unashamedly pro-life” and that his “personal philosophy is anti-abortion”.
In 2005 he said that his greatest achievement would be to:
“Stop abortion’”. It was “the slavery debate of our time” and he was “philosophically opposed” to Medicare paying for abortions.
He said that using the RU486 drug was like an act of murder.
“So if I shoot a woman in the abdomen and do not kill her but kill the baby, I have not actually committed a crime” he argued before the Community Affairs Legislation committee.
The absurdity of this statement was pointed out at the time by Women’s Electoral Lobby ACT convenor Rosyln Dundas who commented:
“No, you actually have committed a crime by shooting a woman”.
He also gloated about rolling the then opposition leader.
Leadership demands more than just a ‘retail’ personality. It requires, in the sense of leading a country, a deep insightful world view. Anyone who has seen Joyce on a Q&A panel with guests who present an understanding of life in all its variances will acknowledge that he has not the capacity to appreciate life beyond politics. He is like Abbott, caught in a world that the rest of us have left far behind.
And so we have as Deputy PM the man who said a roast would cost $100 under Labor’s ‘carbon tax’ and who, when Finance Minister said Australia would default on its debt. The then Reserve bank Governor at the time said he was unfit for the job.
We deserve better.
2 Bronny and Clive both look like they will be no longer playing for the Capital Hill team. Both omitted.
3 With the budget only a couple of weeks away there will be much talk about surpluses and which party are the best economic managers. Does all the talk about getting back to surplus really matter? Does it all register with the historical facts?
Since 1945, significant budget surpluses have been achieved only rarely: once by Ben Chifley, three times by Bob Hawke, and eight times by John Howard, who shared another with Rudd, who was elected during the 2007-08 fiscal year. That is, the Menzies, Holt, Gorton, McMahon and Fraser governments managed only a few, small surpluses. So much for the claim about the Coalition’s Fiscal management.
The surpluses by Howard came from an unprecedented, never to be repeated mining boom and the sale of public assets. Let’s keep it in perspective.
4 If it hasn’t started already then this week should see the start of a very long, maybe not as boring as usual, election campaign. One team has been doing its homework for years while the other has been doing a horrible job of governing. If performance mattered and Governments judged for it then Labor would at short odds to win. But of course there’s more to it than that.
Baton down the hatches and hang on for a long ride.
My thought for the day
One who understands others has knowledge, one who understands himself has wisdom.
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