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Just a flesh wound

It was only meant to be a flesh wound, it wasn’t meant to end Barnaby’s career. That was his fault.

This is the basic message from the Daily Telegraph, where Sharri Markson revealed insider knowledge of the ‘crisis talks between the offices of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister’ in the lead up to the New England by election, about how to hide Joyce’s affair with his media staffer.

If you’re confused about how it could be that Markson, who on October 20, before the New England by election, reported the rumours of Joyce’s affair as ‘vicious innuendo’, can now be admitting to knowledge of the crisis talks before the by election (why would there be crisis talks about rumours?), and can also be the very same journalist to win the ‘scoop’ of the front page story confirming the rumours, with a photo of the pregnant mistress who used to work at the Daily Telegraph, you’re not alone. But it gets even more-confusing still, while at the same time making perfect sense.

Markson’s ‘analysis’ of these crisis talks reads like an apology to Joyce, as if everything got a bit out of hand, and he was never meant to lose his position as Nationals leader, Deputy PM and Cabinet Minister, and that this kerfuffle was not to be blamed on the poor innocent Daily Tele – any damage done was Joyce’s fault for not handling the story well. Markson writes:

‘The government got through the by election without the secret exposed’ – because Markson chose not to expose the secret – and Joyce’s resignation today ‘is down to his (Joyce’s) serial mismanagement of what could have been a one – or two-day story – which is all it was ever intended to be, for there was no vendetta against Joyce or malice towards him by The Daily Telegraph’.

Read it twice if you need to. I know I did.

Now let’s unpack that layered statement, shall we? We know the government got through the by election without the secret exposed, which raises questions about the integrity of journalists across the nation, who are all defensively claiming to have the upmost honour in never reporting ‘vicious innuendo’, unless of course that vicious innuendo in some way damages a Labor government, and then it’s a ‘questions to answer’ pile on with no end in sight.

Next. Markson only ever intended for the story to be a one or two-day story. Let that sink in. Markson is admitting here, or even boasting, that the Daily Tele decides how long a story runs in the media, and that if they decide to press go (with the shot of the pregnant mistress), they can also decide to press stop. This one just got away from them. Not like usual. I shit you not.

We’re not finished yet. The reason it was only ever intended to be a one-or-two-days-at-the-most story, a flesh-wound and not a career-ending scandal, is because, low and behold, The Daily Telegraph, in all its personified wisdom has ‘no vendetta against’ or ‘malice towards’ Barnaby Joyce. The Deputy PM from the Liberal National Coalition is a mate of the Daily Telegraph, naturally, so, as Markson innocently explains, they weren’t out to get him – he just tripped and fell of his own accord.

Yes, that means exactly what you think it means. As we knew, but we never thought the Daily Telegraph would admit, the Murdoch press holds vendettas against individuals, and shows malice towards them in their editorial positions. Like Julia Gillard, for instance. Like Craig Thomson. Like Peter Slipper. Like Kevin Rudd, Bill Shorten, Dan Andrews, Annastacia Palaszczuk, Jay Weatherill, name any Labor politician from the last few decades and the story is the same: vendetta and malice by the truckload from the Murdoch media. And they’ve just admitted it.

You seriously couldn’t make this shit up. Sharri’s not making it up. Sharri, the journalist who ironically had to go ‘undercover’ to a journalism course at university in order to ‘expose’ the left-wing brainwashing of the media (ha!), who claimed not to know about Joyce’s affair, then did know, then apologised for knowing, and admitted she did know before after all, has laid it out very clearly. The Murdoch media is not interested in reporting about politics. They’re interested in playing politics. It’s just such a pity that so many Australians are still willing to be played.

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  1. Alpo

    Note how the downfall of Barnaby Joyce came from Western Australia: the disendorsement from the WA “Nationals” and then a WA woman accusing him of sexual harassment…. Why?…. Who plotted against Barnaby Joyce?

  2. Keitha Granville

    no-one plotted against Barnaby – he simply became another MP who believed his own publicity and made so many stupid blunders he shoudln’t be an MP let alone leader of a party and Dep PM.

  3. ozibody

    Spot on Victoria … well written ! … Thank you.

    As some already know, the neocon world of media (Worldwide) is a well planned exercise….. the end result is determined ; then the ‘ reverse engineering ‘ takes place ,with the planned steps leading up to that result coming into play.

    Frankly, it’s perfectly believable that S.M had an exclusive arrangement giving her ‘right of release’ AFTER the by election, should something come unstuck – the ultimate destination always being absolute protection of the election positive outcome!

    I enjoy your posts Victoria.

  4. Matters Not


    could have been a one – or two-day story – which is all it was ever intended to be

    Yep – the media constructs a reality yet pretends it simply reports an objective reality. The irony is that – while Sharri can verbalise – she can’t realise.

    But don’t tell her that because she simply wouldn’t understand and perhaps would seek to return to the comfort of Plato’s metaphorical Cave. (Not that she would understand that either.)

  5. Malibu Mick

    Fully agree Kietha – Barnaby only moved the left foot out of his mouth to put his right one in. There is clearly more to come in the Joyce saga as some of his property purchases and role in the relocation of AVMPA have a bit of a smell about them – where there is smoke there is fire

  6. Conrad

    Brilliant analysis – but why did the putrid Daily Telegraph want to inflict a two-day flesh wound anyway? Given the bile they poured out against Gillard, why did the paper decide to expose the shoddy hypocrisy of Barnaby Boofhead’s actions anyway given that both him and the ‘news’ (so called) paper are on the same selfish team?

  7. Glenn Barry

    Brilliant article Victoria
    It was an exercise in power – was Joyce being utilised as a reminder to Malcolm the marionette to acknowledge who pulls the strings

  8. steve laing

    Conrad – the news had to come out sometime, so better when they believed they could manage it for lowest impact. Fail.

  9. jimhaz

    Regardless of the reasons, they probably don’t want the country leadership to turn against them for taking down their brat. A decrease in the bosses propaganda powers.

  10. Matters Not

    Just watched Ellen Fanning – (taped) on my local ABC. Now, she is a genuine professional. Copped no bullshit nor timewasting – from both politicians and commentators. Further she was prepared to talk over responders when they attempted to waffle. Perhaps Sales et al will note.

    Of late, I see the same approach taken by teenagers in the US when confronting representatives of the NRA when dealing with spin re school shootings.

    Could this be the start of something new? Such as journalists actually being journalists – prepared to cut through and be persistent in the face of nonsense. But probably not – just another false dawn methinks. Nevertheless there’s been examples of how things might be.

  11. paul walter

    My hunch with Barnaby is the turps. Hasn’t he realised yet how f*cked he has become. A mule would be more reasonable in the face of all that has gone wrong.

    Wake up, mate. Pack it in before it packs you in.

  12. Max Gross

    Dunny paper. That’s the Faily Tele ever was and always will be…

  13. Glenn Barry

    Matters Not, this evening was the second time recently that I’ve witnessed Ellen Fanning get to it and demonstrate how it’s done – she’s brilliant, the intonation and question structure is disarming, yet locked and loaded.

    In recent months I also saw Virginia Trioli conduct a strong interview – just as stunning

    There’s real depth of talent at the ABC – I think management is greasing the tracks

  14. Matters Not

    Glenn Barry, perhaps I should have declared a bias. Met Ellen Fanning maybe 3/4 decades ago when she used to frequent the Minister’s office with her then boyfriend. She was sharp then and even prepared to listen. (Not so the boyfriend who is currently seeking political honours in the State arena – but that’s another story).

    Fanning’s already had a fairly distinguished career in both the public and private broadcasting sector and it would be a great pity if the ABC didn’t provide her with greater opportunities. Just sayin …

    But if I can be critical (as is my wont) she occasionally talks too much. Probably because she has done too much homework and doesn’t want it to be wasted.

  15. Glenn Barry

    Matters not, it’s OK to be biased given the history, but for me she’s a real standout. The drum doesn’t give her the necessary scope when she’s hosting

    I don’t dislike Leigh Sales, but in recent months she’s given so many free kicks to LNPer’s it’s distressing and she really does pale in comparison, though I don’t anticipate Ellen will be taking the role permanently – happy to be wrong on that point

  16. Matters Not

    So the Nationals will elect a new leader. One of the favourites wrote:

    In 1993 he wrote in the paper that “a week never goes by anymore tht homosexuals and their sordid behaviour don’t become further entrenched in society. Unfortunately, gays are here and, if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn’t wipe out humanity, they’re here to stay

    Re: the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn’t wipe out humanity, they’re here to stay . Given that world view (in the Barnaby tradition) he’s going to be hard to beat. (But I suspect an intellectual retreat is not beyond him.)

    More here.


    By the way, definition of equality are up for grabs as any female member of the Nats will attest.

  17. Rossleigh

    As I once observed, “The ABC is systematically trying to make the Coalition look silly by reporting what they say.” Similarly, Barnaby was always in trouble once he became a significant enough story that he had to answer questions on a regular basis without well-scripted answers. Mind you, over the years he sometimes became a bit confused by the script and still managed to stuff it up, but when he was appearing say after day, it was only a matter of time before they had to tell him enough!

  18. Terry2

    From the outset, I have suspected a vendetta between Sharri Markson and her former colleague Vikki Campion : ‘be interesting to get a view from Campion on how she feels about her life becoming an episode of Married at First Sight with extra botox !

  19. helvityni

    Glenn Barry & MN, I’m a fan of Fanning, she does not give up like Leigh Sales, who often just wants get through her prepared questions….

    ABC is lucky to have women like Ellen and Emma,,,,

    Terry2, I too wondered about the relationship between those two ex-workmates, Markson and Campion…

  20. May Hem

    Now that barnappy has no chance of becoming prime minister, will vikki dump him? i wonder just how long their relationship will last? after all, what young woman would wish to wake up and find an old and unattractive has-been beside her? move on.

  21. Jon Chesterson


    The Daily Telegraph bone rag inflates itself if it thinks it has anything to do with Barnaby’s fall from grace. To say it is not their fault is a truism. To boast that it tackled this affair late last year before the bi-election as ‘vicious innuendo’ and then pretend some how that it was exposing the truth is frankly tongue twisting popsicle nonsense, to be expected from a bone rag like the Telegraph, not even whacky. Barnaby’s fall has nothing to do with the Telegraph, zero, zilch. Does anyone really take this paper seriously or what’s his name, Sharri Markson? If he is a friend of Barnaby, well that is not something I would be admitting to.

    As far as Barnaby is concerned, good riddance. He should be driven out of Parliament altogether. But you watch this space, he will sit on the back bench of the Nationals as a back seat driver calling names just like Abbott on the Liberals, he’s not gone yet. He will still get paid huge sums of money and no doubt corporate undeclared donations and favours into his private bank account to call the shots for corporate Australia. And even if he doesn’t he shouldn’t even be there with his excremental fly ridden politics – Swat them and still they come back to infest what should be informed debate and government in the interests of all Australians. Instead we have a deformed corrupt government. serving its own plutocracy, of which Barnaby is just a tiresome nuisance, albeit a real live gum numbing flapper. Career…! I wouldn’t call it a career, I would call it a sentence the people of Australia have had to put up with and every bit as toxic as the other, Turnbull and Abbott show that continues. He is just the fly in the ointment, part of that gaslighting conditioned Liberal smoke screen.

    While Australia and Murdoch are tanning themselves on Barnaby, the Liberals are passing toxic legislation and pursuing foreign policy with rum and vigour that will see banks legally steal savings from the people in the next financial crisis, bankrupt our Super when the next bubble bursts and silence civil society by forcing groups like GetUp, Amnesty International, Greenpeace and Change to be affiliated with a political party and starve them of fundraising for causes which this government finds too challenging, silencing any opposition of the organised public come general election time, stacking the votes for their next under cover boondoggle. He has been a very useful fly in the ointment as deputy PM and that is all he has ever been. He has always been the New England sideshow to distract us from the real rorts that are going on, and Labor has fallen for it by not being present when toxic legislation that is harming the people of Australia and Australia itself, is getting through Parliament. If Barnaby had had his way (and Turnbull still might) there would be no water in the Murray-Darling basin and downstream, Adani would be digging up Queensland at the ‘tax payer’s’ (public) expense, not to mention all the other rorts we still don’t know about, because papers like the Telegraph and Murdoch’s rampant empire don’t want us to know about until it serves their purpose, if ever. To advocate Barnaby Joyce speaks for rural Australia and farmers is just another sick tongue twisting popsicle joke, another lie he and the Nationals have got away with for far too long. But it has served the Liberals well.

    No tears to spill here, It is the current government that must be brought down – We are not there yet.

  22. diannaart


    You are on a roll – with each analysis better than the last.

    There is one nagging issue about the “we must save Barnaby until at least the election” campaign and, that is, Barnaby would’ve won New England anyway – even if the widely known truth was even more widely known. There was no Tony Windsor running against BJ, and the wider audience don’ get to vote in New England.

    In fact, Barnaby would still (shudder gasp) be Depoooty PM if he had simply been honest…. WITH honest reporting from Sharri Markson and her ilk.

    If anything will bring down the Murdoch press it will be WHEN (not if) its tangle of lies and misdirection comes back to strangle it.

  23. Terry2


    if the electors of NE had known what was going on it may well have encouraged Tony Windsor to stand against Barnaby and could have made a fight of it, even allowing for the pork barrelling that Barnaby was using as a dog whistle to the power that he had as Deputy PM.

  24. diannaart


    I am not sure if Tony Windsor would’ve run against BJ, regardless of his views on BJ’s sex-life.

    Nor am I sure that no-one in NE knew about “the Affair”.

    They certainly knew about BJ’s handling of water rights, Gina Rinehart’s “interest and support”, the forced move to Armidale of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority from Canberra and many, many more self-serving actions.

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