When Malcolm Turnbull made his bizarre bonking ban pronouncement on Thursday, he did Barnaby Joyce an enormous favour. A favour which Joyce is obviously too stupid to recognise.
All of a sudden, the conversation has moved from a man abusing his position for personal gain back to people “falling in love”.
Putting aside the expectations that a married person in a senior management role should realise that having sex with significantly younger junior staff members is unwise, I think most people grudgingly accepted that marriages do break up, that new relationships can form.
All questions asked of Barnaby have been about his subsequent actions.
He made us pay for his lover’s made-up high-paying jobs. This alone is sufficient reason for him to stand down.
He made us pay for an extra 50 nights travel allowance while he stayed in Canberra. That may have been legit. Then again, he may have wanted to stay closer to his girlfriend.
He made us pay to fly his family to Canberra and Sydney on multiple occasions for “family reunions” because he spent so much time away from home.
He made us pay for a function at his mate’s pub.
The same mate who has given Barnaby free holidays and free accommodation.
Even though Israeli police have recommended that Benjamin Netanyahu face corruption charges for accepting similar gifts, Barnaby’s response is a dismissive “friends do not charge friends rent.”
He obviously moves in different circles to me. I charge my children board.
That comment gave me flashbacks to 2011 when Tony Abbott said “Mates help each other; they don’t tax each other.”
To give context, this was Abbott’s response to the temporary flood levy to help rebuild devastated communities and infrastructure in Queensland.
Mr Abbott said the proposed levy would discourage people from donating to future rebuilding efforts.
Just like Greg Maguire is donating to rebuilding Barnaby’s life.
Though I am not sure how that fits in with Tony’s temporary budget repair levy. Maybe mates can tax mates a little bit if they promise it will only be temporary and good things will follow.
But back to Barnaby.
How should Barnaby have handled the situation when he realised he was in love with a woman on his staff?
First thing – tell your wife, preferably before she reads about it in the newspapers and before you get the next woman pregnant.
Second thing – tell your lover that she cannot continue in taxpayer-funded employment in Nationals members’ offices because of the obvious conflict of interest.
Third thing – instead of heading off to a resort for a free holiday, find a new home for you and your new partner. I doubt she wants to have to keep moving around, bunking down in temporary accommodation when 8 months pregnant.
Fourth thing – thank people who offer gifts but point out that, considering your position, you cannot accept.
Fifth thing – DO NOT do press conferences criticising your Prime Minister and those that have questioned your grasping ways. You are in NO position to do so. By your actions, you have forfeited the right to outrage.
Despite all of Barnaby’s failings and poor judgement calls, my real disgust lies with the other 20 Nationals in parliament who have implicitly condoned his behaviour using the Don Burke excuse. Barnaby’s ratings are so good that he can do whatever he pleases and they will still support him for the sake of their own incomes.
The “don’t tell us what to do” attitude is ludicrous. You are obviously so out of touch with what is appropriate, or you never cared, that you have lost all credibility.
You are enablers. And for that, you all deserve condemnation.