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Who’s running this show?

When asked about the conditions of the written agreement between the Liberals and Nationals to form a Coalition government after last year’s election, Barnaby Joyce said “The first aspiration is the agreement remains confidential. That’s aspiration one, two, three, four, five and six.”

What did they have to hide?

As Mark Kenny put it, “to actively deny that exposure dishonours the democratic process… if the Prime Minister’s first act is to ink a private arrangement in which policies and patronage are seen to be traded.”

It has been widely reported that part of that horsetrading was Barnaby’s insistence that a plebiscite would precede any changes to marriage law.

A Galaxy poll in August 2012 showed that 64% of Australians believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

Another poll conducted by Crosby|Textor in late June 2014 showed that almost three-quarters of Australians (72%) now support legalising same-sex marriage, including around half (48%) ‘strongly supporting’ it. Just a fifth (21%) opposed this to any degree with those strongly opposed, a small and shrinking 14%.

A Reachtel poll in February this year revealed almost 62% of those surveyed believe that their Federal member should be allowed to vote for same-sex marriage when the issue comes to parliament with almost 60% believing that should happen this year.

There are 226 elected representatives in Federal parliament.

Of the 204 that do not belong to Barnaby’s Nationals, 62% are in favour of marriage equality, 17% are undecided, and 21% are opposed. This roughly correlates with community opinion.

Of the 22 Nationals members, 18% are in favour, 23% are undecided, and a whopping 59% are opposed. This is completely unrepresentative of what the people of Australia actually think.

Ever since the election, Barnaby has been flexing his muscles. Fiona Nash has announced that, unless they can present a case as to why not, the entire public service will be moved to the bush. Matt Canavan is strongly pushing for the Nationals slush fund (aka the NAIF) to be spent subsidising an Indian billionaire’s coal venture. The inland railway, that may or may not make Barnaby Joyce’s Pilliga property more valuable, will go ahead. Dog whistling about 457 visas and citizenship is designed purely to shore up Barnaby’s party against James Ashby’s One Nation.

Approximately 10% of Australians live outside urban areas. Nationals make up about 10% of our MPs but they occupy over 21% of the ministry giving them a disproportionate voice in Cabinet.

After Tony Abbott deliberately scuttled any chance of marriage equality by inviting Barnaby’s bozos to join the Liberal’s party room debate, Malcolm Turnbull contacted Alan Jones asking him to intercede.

“This is ridiculous Alan, this plebiscite stuff,” Jones quoted Turnbull as saying at the time.

Well Malcolm, you’re the boss now – well at least in name. You could actually have the courage of your convictions for once and allow the lawmakers to vote now on what is an inevitability.

Not only would it remove a festering topic, it would put Tony Abbott in his place and remind Barnaby that he isn’t running the show. Despite what Eric Abetz and Kevin Andrews may think, it would undoubtedly give you a lift in the polls and would give you some clear air to get on with more pressing issues before the next election. It would remove a wedge issue from Labor’s arsenal.

Why are the Nationals allowed to impose their will on the country against the wishes of the vast majority of politicians and citizens? What is Barnaby going to do if you decide to have a parliamentary vote – give up being Deputy PM? I don’t think so. Dissolve the Coalition? Hardly.

The February Reachtel poll also showed that 41% of voters are less likely to vote for the Government if the Liberal Nationals Coalition continues to block members voting according to their conscience.

For everyone’s sake, show some ticker and to use Barnaby’s words, just get ‘er done.

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  1. silkworm

    “What is Barnaby going to do if you decide to have a parliamentary vote – give up being Deputy PM? I don’t think so. Dissolve the Coalition? Hardly.”

    On the contrary. I think the passing of marriage equality laws will signal the end of the Nationals and the conservative movement generally. SSM and drug liberalization (including medical cannabis) are the two issues that they seem most hidebound about.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Not to mention climate change.

  3. Jaquix

    If I read the statistics correctly, the Nationals have only 3% of the countrywide vote? If correct, this means that Australia is being held to ransom pretty much by that 3%, because without them the Liberals would be nothing. So the are propping each other up, at our expense.

  4. Kaye Lee


    6 out of 21 LNPers in Queensland identify as Nationals. I estimate the Nationals got about 7% of the vote in the HoR.

  5. Steve Griffin

    I’m still wondering why moving the entire public service to the bush is a good idea when Mal’s NBN is such a dud… ..apart from removing all the ‘lefties’ and creating a more compliant PS.

  6. John Haly

    According to the AEC voting spreadsheet which you can download and analyse (which I have). 28.67% of the population voted specifically for the Liberal party in the 2016 election. This is only marginally over a quarter of the 13.5 million voters in Australia. Add on the 13.13% for the coalition {(LNP- 8.52%) and National party (4.61%)} and we have Malcolm’s & Barnaby’s 41.80% total of the population that have given them their “mandate”. Labor incidentally only got 34.73% of the primary vote. The Liberals had 45 candidates elected while the Labor party had 69, so thankfully for the Libs, the LNP (21) and National (10) got them over the line by with 76 elected candidates. Mandate for anything from marriage equality or moving the public service to the bush? I don’t think so. Calling BS there. How about any of them listening to the people they are supposed to serve?

  7. Sandra B.

    I have been saying the same thing for ages . . . Turnbull should grow a pair and put marriage equality to a vote in the Parliament. If they are going to roll him anyway, at least he would have stood for something, and he could go out in a blaze of glory. And, yes, it would certainly give him a lift in the polls – making it less likely his leadership would be challenged.

  8. Ian

    Fair go, Kaye. Truffles is a busy man you know, and amongst all that other stuff on his mind like climate change, bank inquiry (not), marriage equality, 457, supposed free-speech, Orstraylian values and pay cuts to low paid workers, he is trying to focus on crawling up Pence’s arse as far as he possibly can.
    Geez, it’s tough at the top.

  9. totaram

    Sandra B.: If anyone could just “grow a pair” the whole of biology would be so different. Sadly nature has its own laws.

  10. Roswell

    Sandra, I see your reasoning. Turnbull probably knows he’s history come the next election (or before), so why doesn’t he use the short amount of time he has left to at least do something good for the country.

  11. Rossleigh

    In terms of it, I always thought that the term “grow a pair” was not only sexist, but lacking in basic biology – in terms of testicles giving you enough courage to stand up to people, I would have thought that one was enough. Mind you, this doesn’t allow for the fact that plenty of women have been able to show plenty of bravery over the years and, biologically speaking, they not only lack “a pair” but lack even one.

    Notwithstanding all this, and fully cognisant of the sexist and innacurate nature of everything I write henceforth, I should just like to add: “Turnbull surrendered his to Cory Bernardi when he was made leader and Cory passed them on to Pauline one night when they were sharing a laugh. They are apparently somewhere locked in a drawer until James Ashby drags them out and claims sexual harassment because he’s upset that he found them right where he left them…”

  12. Möbius Ecko

    On top of all that they barely represent the constituency they purport to belong to and who overwhelmingly vote for them, to mostly their detriment.

  13. johnlord2013

    Over represented relative to their vote,

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