Politics

Please Barnaby Joyce, Just Shut The Fuck Up

Australia is sick of your shit, mate.

Barnaby Joyce

Just when you thought we were all done dissecting Barnaby Joyce’s sexual proclivities and associated alleged breaches of the ministerial standards, the former Deputy Prime Minister has thrown himself back into the national conversation in the absolute worst possible way.

Yesterday Fairfax published an exclusive interview with Joyce where he suggested there was doubt as to whether he was actually the biological father of Vikki Campion’s child. Joyce provided a detailed schedule of his activities last year, including overseas trips, as evidence that the paternity of the child was a “grey area”. But, he said, he would raise the child as though it was his anyway.

He gave us a lot of answers to questions we didn’t ask, but he left one big thing unresolved: why the fuck would you do this?

After the whole country dedicated two weeks to forensically examining Barnaby Joyce’s life in great detail, eventually culminating in his resignation as leader of the Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister, the personal toll on him, his family and his new partner must have been enormous. On his way out he slammed the media for invading the personal lives of his wife, children and new partner, but now he’s put the attention squarely back on his private affairs.

We’d all moved on to bigger and better things, like Michaelia Cash’s absurd whiteboard stunt, but now Joyce has gone and got a giant spotlight and shone it directly on his own shiny, bald head like a sort of deranged Commissioner Gordon fumbling with the Bat-Signal. But instead of alerting the Batman, Joyce has invited everyone in Australia to speculate on his relationship and Campion’s personal affairs.

No one wanted this. No one asked for this. Joyce handled the initial situation in the most disgraceful way possible by refusing to acknowledge concern around possible breaches of the ministerial standards and attempting to cast himself as the real victim. He dug his heels in and refused to budge, damaging his own government and his own party. When he eventually did quit there were no hagiographies, just a broad feeling of “about time”.

No one wanted to hear more from Joyce, especially not a week after he’d finally buggered off.

The reason offered up by Joyce as to why he did yesterday’s interview has already been exposed as garbage. Joyce claimed that journalists didn’t bother to ask him whether he was the father of Campion’s child before they broke the story. That’s not true.

Sharri Markson, the journalist who broke the story for The Daily Telegraph, wrote to Joyce prior to publication and asked if he was the child’s father.

Joyce had ample opportunities to clear the air over these issues. He held multiple press conferences and conducted numerous private, sit-down interviews. His attempts to claim the moral high ground by dumping on journalists are pathetic.

The backbencher has been roundly condemned by some of Australia’s most prominent female commentators for yesterday’s interview.

“On Sunday, the basest depths of Barnaby Joyce’s character were further exposed,” Jenna Price wrote. “He expressed — in public — the greatest personal disloyalty to a partner I can recall.

“Barnaby Joyce is not the worst person in the world because fortunately his disloyalty and transparent self-interest in this instance affects two people, his partner and their baby. But as an instance of horrifying and hurtful personal politics, I can’t think of another politician who has come close – and in such a public way.”

Julia Baird accused Joyce of opening up Campion to “global slut-shaming”.

“This man, ostensibly claiming to do the chivalrous thing of standing by his woman, has opened up a national debate about whom she slept with and when, about how many blokes graced her bed,” she wrote. “The women in Joyce’s immediate orbit, in this sorry and sadly on-going saga, have been humiliated, trashed, exposed, maligned and put on trial all in the name of – what?”

On Twitter Senator Sarah Hanson-Young called Joyce’s interview “a pig act”.

It’s difficult to find anyone who understands the logic behind Joyce’s latest move.

What’s even worse than the interview is how Joyce has backed it up. Fronting the media today, Joyce trotted out his old line again: “It’s no one else’s business, it’s personal”.

This is beyond a joke. He can’t keep claiming the situation is personal and private only to emerge from the shadows every few days with explicit details no one asked for. No wonder a Nationals colleague has today called him a “first-class cunt”.

Barnaby, we’re sick of your shit mate. No one feels sorry for you. No one wants you to make some kind of heroic political comeback. We want you to shut the fuck up. Your colleages want you to shut the fuck up. The country wants you to shut the fuck up.

So please, just shut the fuck up.