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What’s The Difference Between Barnaby Joyce And A Lump Of Coal?

The answer, of course, is that one is a prop and shouldn’t have been taken into the Parliament, while the other can be burned to provide heat – apart from that it’s useless…

Still confused?

Well, so am I! We have a Treasurer who took a lump of coal into Parliament. Just so you know, it’s against the rules to use props in Parliament. Ok, some of you are thinking, everybody knows that, but clearly Scott Morrison didn’t. I mean he wouldn’t deliberately ignore the rules, would he? That’s not a very good example to set our country.

Still, I guess when you’re dealing with those boring old number things as Treasurer day after day, you might need the odd creative outlet. Joe’s was dancing after the Budget, but unfortunately, not in the dark. Costello’s was creating fiction; he used to tell people that he’d be a great PM and one day soon, he’d challenge John Howard. Scott must have spied a lump of coal and been hit with an idea. Once inspired, you do tend to take liberties. That’s what artists are like, they sometimes feel that the rules don’t apply to them because they have a message to get out to the world.

I can picture it now, Mr Morrison and his lump of coal in his office. He calls in his staff. “I have this great idea,” he tells them.

“What is it?” they ask, fearful that it will involve incredible amounts of work “fixing the Budget”, or at the very least coming up with reasons why Labor owing $287 billion was the end of civilisation, but raising the debt ceiling above half a trillion isn’t worth talking about.

“I’m going to take this lump of coal to Parliament,” Scott tells them.

The staff nod approvingly, figuring that if they can perfect their nodding, they may get a safe seat where they can stand behind the PM and nod approvingly, but Scottie doesn’t notice. He’s on fire… (no, not literally!)

“And I’m going to say ‘This is coal,’ and I’m going to tell the Opposition not to be afraid of it! Brilliant, eh?”

His staff keep nodding as though there’s more, so Scott improvises.

“Um… then I’m going to suggest that the Opposition are suffering from coalophobia.”

When told that there’s no such word, Scott says that he’ll be remembered for creating it, like that guy who invented the word “selfie”.

“I’ll admit that I’m making up the word and tell them that it’s this ideological malady that stops them from allowing coal to create jobs and growth. And it’s an illness and they need help… Brilliant, eh?”

The staff nod more approvingly because nobody wants to upset the Treasurer when he seems in a good mood. Lately he’s been so down, thinking of how Cory has left and that’s one less vote for him when the spill happens. Not even the idea of some families losing Family Tax Benefits has caused him to smile. Even when told that some asylum seekers are being forcibly removed from Manus and sent back to possible torture and death, his spirits barely lifted.

So the staff say nothing.

And Scott appears in Parliament with that ugly lump and hands him the coal when the Speaker tells him to put the prop away. (Someone assured me that a lip-reader confirmed to them that when Joyce was given the coal he stroked it, saying, “My precious, my precious,” over and over.)

Of course, it may not have happened quite like that. Scott may have just wandered in to Parliament and put his hand in his pocket and discovered that he had a piece of coal that he’d forgotten to take out, and when one of the Labor MPs recoiled in horror, he may have quite genuinely thought it necessary to calm their fears.

Whatever, I found Morrison’s performance with the lump of coal more disturbing than Richard Denniss’ great article: How Christmas Prawns Explain Australia’s Power Blackouts


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  1. Alice

    You guys just don’t get.

    Not only is coal good for humanity, but it is good for using as a prop at work, it’s brilliant, the smartest stuff in the room, coal. I mean, let’s get real here. I say cheaper energy, way to go.

    Well, let me tell you about coal. Everyone keeps asking me about coal. People love Australian coal. Australians make the best coal ever. People keep saying to me “We need more coal!” and I say I hear you! We are going to dig up more coal than anyone else on the planet and we are going to export the best coal, the most coal, the biggest coal everywhere. We’re even going to subsidize a coal company from India to do the dirty work. When it comes to coal, the Australian government has your back. And you are going to say “Stop, enough with coal exports”. “You’ve got our back too much”.

    Listen up, I heard from a hundred different people, there’s some really, really, really bad dudes out there talking down coal. You can never have too much coal. Not using coal is for losers. Are you a loser? Enough of whiny losers with their fake global warming and melting icecaps. You ever see most of the country breaking heat records in the same week? Spare me the false news.

    We need winners – people prepared to use as much coal as possible.
    Coal is mankind’s saviour, I don’t know, but that is what people are telling me.

  2. LOVO

    He may have been showing everyone what God put in Hillsongers xmas stockings last year.

  3. Kaye Lee

    I just loved his ending where we need to burn coal so we can keep on the air-conditioning for the poor children of SA who are suffering through catastrophic heat waves.

    The cognitive disconnect is scary.

  4. Gangey1959

    One of them is an intergalactically know pollutant that makes useful marks on paper, when compressed becomes really pretty and shiny, and can in dire circumstances be burned to create heat.
    The other is an intergalactically know pollutant and waste of oxygen that when compressed will become a really ugly stain on the carpet.
    Both have comparable IQ’s, and thankfully for Queensland, (sadly for the rest of us) coal is easier for which to find an export market.
    Another thing, when you have shaken hands with both, you wash your hands after the coal, whereas you are better off chopping your hands off after the deputy pm.

  5. Vikingduk

    Difficult question. Coal is black, Joyce is red, coal doesn’t get paid to sit in parliament, won’t retire with a shitload of money, won’t be employed by rindheart as a consultant, has a marginally higher IQ than Joyce, though both appear to explode when excited, both are damaging to the environment, neither appear to be reasonable communicators, Joyce is a complete arsehole whilst coal is used by arseholes, Joyce wears a tie, masquerades as deputy prime monster, deludes himself pretending to be an intelligent, thinking human.

    Will any of those answers give me a pass mark?

    Thanks, Silkworm, very appropriate.

  6. Johno

    Hilarious, cheers for the mirth. Could it be one of Malcolm Roberts lumps. Bring on Coalgate.

  7. Michael

    No difference – both petrified?

  8. Janet Mundie

    Did the coal fall off one of the uncovered coal trucks which travel through the suburbs night and day, on their way to the largest coal port, Newcastle?
    Did I mention that the trucks are uncovered and that people are breathing in the dust night and day?

  9. Ross

    At least you could laugh at rolly polly jolly Joe Hockey. Poor old Joe didn’t have the slightest clue about treasury, economics or the economy. Australia’s worst treasurer since John Howard but at least he wasn’t at all scary and after the 2014 budget you knew he wouldn’t or couldn’t last long in the job.
    Scott Morrison on the other hand is not only as incompetent as jolly Joe but he is one very, very scary black hearted happy clappy individual.
    Nobody thought the liberal party could find a more incompetent moron then Joe Hockey to sit the federal treasurer’s throne, it turned out we were so very wrong.

  10. king1394

    Janet Mundie, I’m sure it wasn’t real coal of the sort you have falling off the trucks in your suburb. That lump of black material had been scrubbed till it was shiny and probably laminated. I didn’t see any dust getting on the fine white hands or shirts of the people handling it. Not at all like real coal

  11. Mercurial

    That article by RIchard Denniss is a beauty.

  12. Kaye Lee

    I agree about the Denniss article.

    In 2012 Malcolm said “And while newspapers are shrinking think tanks seem to be expanding – wouldn’t it be great if some of those public intellects actually held politicians like me to account, pointing out where we had exaggerated or misled. Public fact checking would raise the quality of debate.”

    The fact-checking is alive and well Malcolm despite the Murdoch girl killing it at the ABC. The real question is how do we make you listen.

  13. Henry Rodrigues

    These two dickheads are treasurer and deputy prime minister ? More like Steptoe and son, Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, heckle and jeckle…….When these jackasses have been turfed out at the next election, the people will be having the last, best and longest laugh.

  14. Florence nee Fedup

    Coal gift from mineral council.

    I believe Turnbull & co great plan was to go after Shorten’s union connections and climate change. Seen hints since Christmas.

    The idiots didn’t have political nous or judgement to pull back when we were facing extreme record temperatures across the nation.

    The reality of man made climate change, privatisation and AEMO controlling distribution over took their cunning plan.

    Seems states with little renewals suffered worse that SA. Morrison tried to paint two states as different.

    Noticed to day, no minister out pushing the lie. Sinodinos back down, no longer blaming wind.

    ABC not showing Shorten’s PC today.

    I believe Turnbull has no more shots left in the locker. Last Thursday could be last throw of the dice.

    Wonder where he will go this week?

  15. Kaye Lee

    I have been pondering the question posed and came up with way more similarities than differences.

    Barnaby and coal are both loved by Gina who has sunk significant funds into developing and selling both.

    Barnaby and coal both contribute to climate change that is putting the livelihoods of the farmers who feed us at terrible risk.

    The difference is, one is knowingly complicit in the destruction of the planet for short term profits for his benefactor. The other is just his weapon of choice.

  16. brickbob

    Morrison and the clown car gang have really hit the pits [ no pun intended ] this time with this coal comedy routine.
    I mean how bloody stupid do you have to be when practically the whole country is on fire and floods in WA which have never happened in Feb in recorded history and it’s bloody snowing just outside of Hobart.

    It has being proven that the burning of coal is the main cause of these horrific weather events and every country around the world are closing down these coal fired power stations and moving to renewables.
    We must act now to kick these idiots out of power before they kill the bloody lot of us.

  17. Nelly dean

    Ironic that in the same week Australia almost melts in an uncharististic heat? wave with record temperatures and extreme ?☄️?? weather conditions ! Mmmmm wasn’t this a prediction from the climate scientist ?‍?! Mmm and the sink hole in Point piper is that telling us ………

  18. oldfart

    what’s the difference between Barnaby and a lump of coal?

    They are both bad for the environment
    They both have a black heart
    They are both made of rotting fossils with a brain and ideas from the same period
    They are both overpriced dangerous commodities and should both be left in the ground

  19. 245179

    Hate canberra, the whole lot of em……….but i’m prepared to wager the libs will return………go figure

  20. Rossleigh

    Even though this was written some years ago, someone brought it to my attention and pointed out that it seemed to predict the future better than the serious prognosticators.

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