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Joyce’s choices show little regard for taxpayers’ money

When Barnaby Joyce relocated his family from Queensland so he could actually live in the seat he was contesting, he chose Tamworth to set up house and electoral office.

After he was elected he set up another office in Tenterfield whose fitout cost $305,148.

After being appointed Minister for Agriculture, rather than using an office in Sydney that had been provided to use for ministerial purposes, Joyce decided to set up a ministerial office in Armidale whose fitout cost $365,748.

Joel Fitzgibbon, the previous Labor Minister for Agriculture, questioned the move.

“All the stakeholders and industry leaders tend to be in our capital cities, so too the key research bodies which themselves are taking a cut in this budget. So there’s no real explanation for establishing the Armidale office other than to enhance his own local political infrastructure.”

Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan was also critical.

“So a whole lot of ministerial staff are actually going to relocate their living, their homes, their families to Armidale. Have you calculated the added cost because it’s not a hub – I have an office in Sydney ’cause it’s a hub – of the extra flights to get to the ministerial office, have you calculated all that?”

A spokesman for Mr Joyce said the Minister believes it is more appropriate for his Ministerial office to be in Armidale than Sydney. He says if any peak bodies want to visit him they can still use the Canberra parliamentary office. That would be office number four (or five).

When recently asked about chartering a helicopter to visit a town which is about 40 minutes drive from Barnaby’s Tenterfield office, his response was “I don’t sleep in my second electoral office.”

Which begs the question as to why he maintains that office if it is so far from home that he needs a chopper to get there. It also shows a lot of chutzpah considering it was two days after the report into politicans’ rorting which specifically stated “in the absence of compelling reasons, helicopters cannot be chartered to cover short distances”.

Mind you, letting him drive has its own costs.

In late 2010, when Barnaby was still living in St George, Queensland, he decided to visit his 1000ha grazing property at Baradine in north western NSW. He made the very unwise decision to drive his $80,000 government Toyota LandCruiser wagon through flood waters. Unfortunately he stalled and the car was a write off.

Barnaby is renowned for his questionable expense claims. In 2012 he was given free tickets to watch the State of Origin and NRL finals in corporate boxes. He claimed flights to Sydney, Comcars and overnight ”travel allowance”, costing taxpayers $4615. His spokeswoman said that attending the matches was legitimate ”official business”.

He also, after being flown by Gina Rinehart to India to attend the wedding of someone he had never met, came home via Malaysia where he didn’t even stay overnight but called it a “study tour” so he could claim a $5500 flight home for him and his wife out of Kuala Lumpur. He also claimed $3,600 + $350 travelling allowance to get to Perth to board Gina’s private jet to go to the wedding.

Gina and Barnaby are close. She bankrolled his campaign and also made a surprise trip to Canberra in November 2013 so she could attend Parliament House to watch Mr Joyce’s maiden speech as the newly elected MP for New England.

Some of Mrs Rinehart’s closest political friends, the Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and Liberal Party senators Cory Bernardi and Michaelia Cash, were invited to join the billionaire for an intimate gathering in her private hotel suite.

Barnaby is hot on the campaign trail once again doing his “retail politician” thing – politics in the pub, taking credit for Labor initiatives, having his photo taken with mobile phone towers, and, in a recent facebook offering titled Delivering for ‪#‎NewEngland, “Announcing the $400m White Rock Wind Farm will begin construction at the end of the month, producing ‪#‎renewableenergy to power 75,000 homes. Here with John Titchen, CEO of Goldwind.”

Makes you wonder why we are spending $2.5 million on a National Wind Farm Commissioner and the Independent Scientific Committee on Wind Turbines to research how they make you sick.

Mind you, what’s $2.5 million to a man who, in the first six months of 2015 (the latest available figures), claimed $1,073,991.45 in expenses.

Like Scott Morrison with his nasty little jibe about Bill Shorten’s suit, Barnaby is resorting to personal attacks on Tony Windsor, calling him a “grumpy old man” who is suffering from “relevance deprivation”.

If sanity prevails, it will shortly be Barnaby Joyce who will be irrelevant, and that in itself will save the country a lot of money and embarrassment.

 

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14 comments

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  1. John Lord

    Lot of stuff I had forgotten about Kaye. Well said.

  2. Florence nee Fedup

    I think I heard, may be misheard comment from expert RN this morning. Something about the history we forget being more important than what we remember.

    This site proves that is fact.

    We all have our own realities that I suspect is based on our own perceptions, bias, not reality.

    Being reminded of the recent past is a good thing.

  3. keerti

    Mind you, letting him drive has its own costs

    It could be highly beneficial if he was driving bronwyn, bernadi and co! Especially on a tour of his flood hit property!!!

  4. Matters Not

    set up a ministerial office in Armidale … set up another office … whole lot of ministerial staff are actually going to relocate their living, their homes, their families to Armidale … would be office number four (or five).

    As far as the ‘locals’ are concerned, the more the merrier. Think of the local employment opportunities, the enhanced economic activity and the like. That’s the way they think. Show those city smart arses. ?

    I remember some years ago, it was proposed that the staff of a rural school be reduced by one because of declining enrolment. The Publican was on the phone to the local Country Party (at that time) Member, pointing out that the teacher was accommodated in his establishment. The pub’s income would be reduced. Besides the teacher was always there at ‘rush hour’ to work behind the bar.

    The teacher stayed.

    Also remember when Joh’s daughter (a teacher) married a local farmer. So that she could be employed, a new school was opened post-haste with a demountable building arriving on a semi trailer soon after. ?

    After all, it’s only ‘government’ money. It’s only right and proper to return it from where it came.

  5. Kaye Lee

    The availability and variety of telecommunications nowadays makes this whole office thing ridiculous. Imagine if, instead of flying around making announcements and having photo shoots shoveling dirt or cutting ribbons, our elected representatives actually made time to respond to our emails, phone calls and online posts. You don’t have to fly to beyond the Black Stump, and make all the media fly there too, to tell the press that the locals are finally getting some long overdue service. Save the money – issue a press release. Have an online forum to answer people’s questions. It would be a shitload cheaper and a lot more productive. Instead of flying somewhere to discuss things with your colleagues or stakeholders, use teleconferencing.

    Working the crowd and being seen a lot in the media does not equate to productivity.

  6. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Is Bananaby getting a run for his ill-gotten money yet from Tony Windsor in New England? Windsor’s defeat of Bananaby on 2 July 2016 would be the first stage of the best medicine for Bananaby’s greedy little rorting and chutzpah ways.

    The second stage will be where Bananaby will have to pay back all excessive and unreasonable expense claims plus interest plus multiple fines.

    Poor old Bananaby, me ole mate, how humiliating to suffer defeat, lose the seat (especially to Windsor!), lose Nationals Leader title and then having to pay back all that money!

    I wonder if Gina will come to your assistance when you are a mere penpusher accountant again in the backblocks.

  7. diannaart

    If there is only one change this election, may it be Joyce losing seat to Windsor.

  8. Jexpat

    Well done.

    All too many people forget about all of Barnaby’s dodgy behavior and instances of poor judgment.

    My favourite was the image conjured up of Barnaby being stuck in his $80,000 rig, too lazy & stupid to have walked the crossing and chosen his track before gunning it through and predictably getting swamped.

  9. kerri

    Tony Windsor never threatened to kill the dogs of the “sexiest man alive twice”!
    Who is suffering from relevance deprivation?

  10. Sam

    Any person who chums up with Gina and claims to be ‘one of us’ should never be taken seriously in anything ever.

  11. flohri1754

    So many good comments here (adding to an already very insightful column ….. fingers crossed that this election (Double D or not) sees Tony Windsor in and BJ out …. along with Tony A., Bronwyn B., and about 10 others who could be mentioned off the top of one’s head …..

  12. Bronte ALLAN

    Another well written & very relevant article about one of everyone’s favorite (NOT!!) so-called Politicians! I think I speak for those of us that really “care” about this whole inept, lying bunch of obscenely over-paid so-called “liberal” politicians, when we ALL wish this incompetent idiot & the rest of his ilk—GOODBYE—& thanks for nothing the bloody lot of them!

  13. greynotmad

    If the people of New England replace Barnaby Joyce with Windsor, the miners mate, then we might as well hand Australia over to illegal immigrants and move to New Zealand (if they will let us in).

  14. Stephen

    What a state of affairs is our country in when everyone knows that bought and paid for bastard politicians like Joyce claim to represent us?! Every ‘ordinary’ person you talk to justifies their political indiference framed in terms of their own lack of power and the coruption of ALL politicians! These LNP creeps and the Murdocracy (never ever forget the king of all bastards) have actually managed to give politicians a worse rep than they already enjoyed. The lying, cheating and stealing and then more blatant lying again in the media and now recorded evidence of lying in Parliament on the record. Do these guys see the end of democracy and so just roll around in the trough regardless. I despair that I live in a time when such moral vacuousness is the norm amongst so called public servants. The honorable member for…?!

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