A Sombre Recap Of Barnaby Joyce, Kyle Sandilands And The Fate Of Johnny Depp’s Dogs

War on Terriers? Storm in a teacup? Illuminati conspiracy? All of the above?

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

Yesterday Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce decided to liven up a dull Thursday by calling a press conference and threatening to kill actor Johnny Depp’s Yorskhire Terriers, Pistol and Boo, because they had arrived in the country without going through quarantine. It was a remarkable display of strength from a man with the first name “Barnaby,” but a bizarre and mildly unsettling spectacle for everyone else.

Joyce gave the dogs 50 hours to leave the country or be put down, prompting massive online coverage under the hashtag #WarOnTerriersa live countdown to their doom and a petition that has genuinely gathered over 17,000 signatures because some people have a vastly, vastly skewed sense of priorities.


“Signed, 17,111 people who need to get out more.”

The story has since gone around the world — the saga has caught the attention of FOX NewsThe Daily Beast, Uproxx, CNN, Breitbart, TMZ and the Daily Mirror, all of whom somehow resisted the urge to make the connection between a news story about animal control in Australia and the Simpsons episode where Bart’s bullfrog breeds an epidemic of Chazzwazzas.

As a result Barnaby Joyce’s face has been all over the media ever since, which is great if you enjoy looking at slovenly piles of warm ham in your leisure time. Joyce fronted the panel on The Project last night, where he defended the need to keep infectious diseases out of Australia and revealed his forlorn dream to one day be voted Sexiest Man Alive, before blushing hard enough to be technically classified as a dwarf star.

Joyce also came under fire from Kyle Sandilands, of all people, who accused the Minister of making Australia look like “a bunch of hillbilly rednecks” and calling him an “absolute clown” and an “idiot,” which is somehow both correct of the person he’s describing and gob-smackingly hypocritical at the same time. Remember when Kyle and Jackie O grilled a 14-year-old girl on her sexual history on live radio, unwittingly coercing her into admitting she was raped when she was 12? Hoo boy, that was something, wasn’t it. Simpler times.

“You’re a savage little man aren’t you?,” a clearly amused Joyce replied to Sandilands’ tirade, prompting Kyle to whine: “I’m not even a little man, I’m six foot one! I’m a big boy! I’m a big strong radio boy! You’re not my dad! Dad’s going to beat you up when he gets back from the shops with his cigarettes!” (I might be paraphrasing slightly there, but I also might not be. You be the judge, Australia.)

The whole exchange raised a few questions, the most important of which is: who do we barrack for in this situation? Two of Australia’s most unlikable personalities in a no-holds-barred sledging match — the showdown no one’s been waiting for, except in their deepest fever-induced nightmares. It’s like watching two spiders fight to the death for money — you might lean towards one or the other for reasons of your own, but everyone is ultimately better off if they both end up killing each other.

None of which deals with the fate of the dogs themselves, Pistol and Boo, whom we may now rechristen “Thelma” and “Louise”.


The sights these eyes have seen.

According to Joyce, Depp might have some trouble getting his smuggled dogs back into the United States, especially if he took them out of the country without submitting them for quarantine checks before coming to Australia. If the US refuses to let them come back they could be rendered stateless, leaving them either to be put down or sent to an offshore processing centre on Nauru to live out the remainder of their little dog lives in uncertainty, degradation and fear. LOL just joking, we only do that to people.


Countries that don’t lock small children up for no reason just don’t get our brand of Aussie humour. (Image via The Shovel.)

Depp and his girlfriend Amber Heard have since made plans for the doges to be flown out of Australia via private jet. In a series of completely unrelated events, reports that the United States plans to place long-range B-1 bombers on Australian territory to deter Chinese aggression in the South China Sea have turned out to be false.


OR, the US military took exception to Barnaby’s shenanigans, leaked the report about the bombers to scare Australia into line, and has withdrawn the threat in return for a quiet assurance the dogs won’t be harmed. This is how high-octane international relations work, people, it’s diplomacy 101. The Manchurian Terrier is go. Illuminati confirmed.


Wake up, sheeple.