It’s a helluva risky business writing a column about Barnaby Joyce at the moment. Not because he’s doomed and you might find him rolled out of office like a dangerously bulging tin of deeply dodgy potted meat before you can get the piece to your editor. He’s doomed, but it’s a slow motion train wreck. He’ll probably last until the weekend.
No, it’s risky because just when you think you’ve got this thing nailed down, it gets worse.
John Birmingham @ Canberra Times
Barnaby Joyce is doomed. Now, it’s just a matter of when.
Barnaby Joyce is doomed. Now, it’s just a matter of when. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
It started out as gossip of a purely personal nature. Joyce, now and forever to be known as The Beetrooter thanks to some cruel and magnificent ■■■■■■■ on Twitter, was rumoured to be cheating on his wife. Given his willingness to not just cast aspersions on other people’s private lives, but to punitively legislate against them, that was enough for a lot of punters to call him out on social media. But it wasn’t enough for the Press Gallery in the real media, and they’ve been throwing themselves an awesome pity party ever since.
For all of the high-minded journalistic waffle about private lives being private (unless, you know, somebody like Joyce decides to pass laws about them) and the need to verify rumours before writing news, it turned out there was plenty of crunchy and nutritious news value to be had in the Beetrooter’s shenanigans.
This bloke wasn’t merely sipping from the hypocrite drip because he put himself about as a staunch defender of family values while betraying and humiliating his family. He was an even bigger hypocrite, because having banged the drum about welfare cheats and bludgers, he’d lined up a series of cushy and very well paid jobs for his girlfriend. Plus they were living rent-free in a townhouse provided by a millionaire businessman, and renovated by the federal government to meet upgraded security standards.
You’d think this would be enough to finish the bloke off, especially since while he was enjoying his rent free love shack he was lecturing the rest of the country about why they should be ashamed of themselves for wanting to live in Sydney when he was happy to live in Armidale, because it was cheaper.
Much, much cheaper as it turns out. Who would have thought the solution to the housing affordability crisis was for millionaire property owners to let us live at their place for free. (Answer: socialists, communists, deluded idiots of that sort, I suppose).
But even that egregious and head spinning instance of grotesque hypocrisy is not the rancid cherry on top of the ■■■■ sundae of this story.
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No, that would be Malcolm Turnbull insisting yesterday that there was nothing wrong with giving the Beetrooter’s pregnant lover a high paying job, and then moving her to another high paying job when that didn’t work out, and then finding a third, sweet, cushy gig when the second one fell through because, get this… she wasn’t actually his partner.
She was pregnant, and they were living together. But she wasn’t his partner because…
Allow me to assist you, Prime Minister. She wasn’t his partner because shuffling her from one ministerial staff job to another might be a breach of the rules.
She wasn’t his partner because an ever-growing number of government ministers would be implicated in that possible breach.
She wasn’t his partner because that would make it very difficult, not just for the Beetrooter to hold onto his job, but for you too, Prime Minister.
And while all this is going on?
John Birmingham from the Canberra Times
Thousands and thousands of innocent, law-abiding punters are being swept up by the very same government’s robo-debt programs and threatened with criminal sanction if they don’t pay back money they never owed in the first place.
It’s not often you get to see the raw, naked ugliness of the power imbalance between the masters and their serfs, but it’s out there for everyone to see this week.
I just hesitate to file this column because I wonder what’s coming next