Politics

Meet, Stray, Love: Barnaby’s Guide To A Week Of “Personal Leave”

Life getting you down? Time for some personal leave!

Work got you down? Boss won’t get off your back about how your “shocking error of judgement” has “appalled us all”? Have you and/or your pregnant former employee been on the front page of the paper every day for three weeks? Are you being hounded out of your job by friends and enemies alike?

Everyone deserves a break — especially scandal-plagued Deputy Prime Ministers — and as the old saying goes, a little bit of dirt between your toes will take away your woes.

There’s never been a better time for a week of “personal leave” in the bustling town of Armidale, now home to the world famous Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority!

And sure, Armidale may not be the first place you think of when planning a well-earned break, but it’s home to plenty of scenic drives, culture, food and wine. And the accommodation is surprisingly cheap — free if you know the right people!

Still not convinced? Allow Junkee and the federal member for New England, Barnaby Joyce himself, to give you a step-by-step guide to making the most of your Armidale mini-break.

Day 1 – Saturday

If you’re anything like me, you find it tough to unwind from your stressful job on the first day of a holiday. Barnaby recommends easing into your break by holding a quick catch up with your boss, the Prime Minister, to assure voters that everything is “business as usual” before you go on holiday.

Why not get off the beaten track by holding a one hour meeting at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices in Sydney? It’s the perfect chance to tell your boss that you don’t really think he’s “inept”, as you told the entire country just 24 hours ago.

Once you’ve put your troubles behind you, you’ll be much better prepared to relax. From there it’s just a short flight to Armidale. Put the shiraz on ice and prepare the cabanossi and Jatz, it’s holiday time!

Day 2 – Sunday

By now you should have settled into your cute little rental property (Cheers, Greg!). Thanks to a high-tech, taxpayer-funded security upgrade, it’s perfect for raising a young family.

Now I don’t know about you, but I love using my downtime to catch up with friends and old acquaintances. Why not ring around to backbench colleagues for a bit of a chin wag? Topics might include, “Do you still support my leadership?” or, “Here’s why this scandal will blow over any minute.”

Cap the day off by calling a senior journalist to let him know you haven’t misused your parliamentary travel entitlements. Just be careful, we all know how time can slip away from us on holiday and it’s important to put the call in before deadline so it makes it into Monday’s paper.

Day 3 – Monday

Speaking of Mondays, now that everyone’s back off to the rat races, you can really enjoy your time off. Kick back and flick the TV onto Sky News. Hey, it’s Michael! Classic Michael he can’t even answer a simple question straight, like “do you support Barnaby Joyce as leader?”. What a pretender. At least he’ll never be leader, right?

Speaking of which, do you ever get the feeling your friends are talking about you behind your back? Take this chance to issue a terse statement reminding people that only your parliamentary colleagues can decide who leads the party.

Wrap up the day by calling your journalist friend to assure everyone that you’re “not going anywhere”. And nor should you. You’re on holiday, baby!

Day 4 – Tuesday

Is it getting cold in here? The wolves are at the door. Darkness descends.

Day 5 – Wednesday

So your holiday is coming to an end and it feels like you’ve barely had any time to relax. Typical.

Luckily some of Armidale’s famous walking tracks will take your breath away. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Take in the beautiful sights, like this Prime News camera crew (it would be rude to not stop and chat!).

Finish your walk at Armidale’s historic Royal Hotel. Attend a local branch meeting! Just make sure you wear a suit though. You’re on holidays but this isn’t a rodeo. You never know which camera crew you might bump into.

Once that’s wrapped up, invite a journalist and photographer into your new home (thanks again, Greg!). Take the time to remind everyone that your private life is just that — private. Play your cards right and they might even put it on the front page!

This is the perfect chance to engage in some self-reflection. As your private life is publicly dissected for all the world to see, ask yourself questions like, “didn’t I force queer Australians to undergo the same level of public scrutiny that I am now complaining about just a few short months ago?” Life’s funny like that.

And what’s a holiday without some happy snaps? Take the time to strike a pose. Lean on your kitchen counter. Stand on the stairs for some reason. Put a tea towel behind your neck.

You want to savour this moment, it might be your last chance in the limelight.