Politics

Barnaby Joyce Doesn’t “Give A Shit” About COVID’s Impact On Melbourne

“We’ve got record exports of coal. Record exports of beef. But we look at Melbourne, and go, you can almost smell the burning flesh from here.”

Barnaby Joyce

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.

For an update on how Barnaby Joyce is doing in his new role in Parliament, it has been revealed that our Deputy Prime Minister  “couldn’t give a shit” about how COVID-19 has impacted Melbourne, because coal and beef exports are at a record high in country areas.

Presenting our new Deputy Prime Minister everyone.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph published yesterday, Joyce was supposedly asked about Australia’s handling of the pandemic and whether people needed to stop obsessing over trying to reach zero cases.

To this, Joyce replied: “It’s like saying I want zero cases of flu. It’s not possible. It’s like saying I want zero cases of measles mumps. We’re going to shut the borders for that?”

Just a little side note here, Australia eliminated measles in 2014.

Joyce then continued by saying people have to “learn to live with it”. It being COVID-19.

But when asked about the impact COVID-19 has had specifically on Melbourne, which journalist James Campbell described as a “disaster zone”, Joyce replied “of course… but in country areas we couldn’t really give a shit.”

He then went on to say: “We’ve got record exports of coal. Record exports of beef. But we look at Melbourne, and go, you can almost smell the burning flesh from here.”

The comment is baffling to say the least.

Not only is Joyce using the oldest trick in the book, by trying to pit regional against city people. But he’s also making a horrible assumption that everyone in the country has no sympathy for people in lockdown in our metropolitan cities, because they’ve been suffering for longer with bushfires, and droughts.

The way in which Joyce describes the “burning flesh” from Melbourne, also feels like a metaphor about the damage done to the city during the COVID lockdown, which is him being aware that there was a lot of suffering during lockdown, right? But again it’s not totally clear.

Just yesterday, Joyce also announced a reshuffle of the Nationals frontbench, awarding top spots to some of his big promoters – Bridget McKenzie and Andrew Gee.

McKenzie’s comeback is pretty surprising given she resigned last year following the sports rorts affair. And Gee, an easily missed politician, is said to have changed his vote to Joyce in the recent weeks only to secure a cabinet post.

People are calling Joyce’s reshuffle a mere transaction, rewarding those who got him the top job, without actually thinking of who would be the best for the job.

All in all, Barnaby’s interests are already on full display since being reinstated as Deputy PM.