Barnaby Joyce can’t help himself: in his own words he convicts himself as an adulterer, liar, and hypocrite. And still he has the nerve to ask people to ignore this chain of serious failings, and to continue to entrust him with the second-highest public service office in the country.
It is timely to remind all politicians that they are public servants, not divine right princes and princesses. They have a duty to the nation, not merely to party politics and their own bank accounts. They should be held to higher standards than Wayne and Cheryl Citizen.
Joyce is either an incredibly simple-minded man who believes his own lies, or he thinks of the public as simple-minded and gullible. The third option is that he’s following a strategy of deceit designed by his co-conspirator in this matter: Vikki Campion. She is trained in this sort of propagandizing, and she is certainly the only real friend Joyce has at the moment.
Yet the strategy is flawed. It shows only that Joyce has no moral compass. Worse, in backing him rather than replacing him, the National Party has forfeited any right to lecture the country on family values. Or any of its other socially conservative moral positions.
Private matters, move on
In an interview he gave to uncritical news media stenographers, Joyce demands that everyone ‘move on’ and accept his perfidy and betrayal as ‘private’ matters. But how can they be private when they illustrate his character as untrustworthy to be a leader of the nation? That’s almost like saying a bikie gang leader standing for parliament should not be judged on the drug deals and violent assaults he has been convicted of in the past.
It seems to have escaped Joyce that he fought a general election in 2016, and a by-election in 2017 on a platform heavily skewed to reactionary positions on social policy, while lying to the electorate about being a solid family man: he was, in fact, already engaged in adultery in 2017, which many religious people he appealed to regard as a serious moral transgression.
Perhaps Campion’s advice on persisting with a lie is based on the idea that if you say it long and loud enough, people will believe it as truth. That is certainly a workable hypothesis. But I don’t think it will work in this case. Joyce has offended too many powerful people already. I’ll come back to that theme after making some other salient points.
Liar, liar, beetroot(er) on fire
Put this in the simplest terms: Joyce lied shamelessly to retain his privileged position. By her silence on the matter while Joyce’s mistress and National Party employee, Vikki Campion is guilty of the same transgression. To argue now that angry responses from the general public are malicious is to prove that neither care for democracy, representing the Australian public, or serving interests other than their own.
You cannot go to two elections knowing perfectly well you are in an adulterous relationship while not revealing it and expect anyone to believe this is just normal behaviour. or that it should be overlooked. Or that it should be forgiven at all; not all of us are turn-the-other-cheek or first-stone kind of people.
Barnaby makes up his own god
Worse, Joyce said: ‘Now it seems to have gone into some sort of morality discussion. That’s between me and my God.’ No. Never. Not in a Trump’s tweet! You cannot be the second-most powerful politician in the country and pretend that your actions will not be judged. You cannot preach conservative Christian conceptions of family values while practicing adultery and deceit, and then say this not a matter of public adjudication.
Just who the hell does Barnaby Joyce think he is? Exempt from all human decency and any discernible ethics whatsoever?
Joyce betrays his own hypocrisy about religion by talking of ‘his’ god. In other words he believes he can say he is a Christian without faith in a single known Christian precept. He treats his ‘religion’ as a political convenience, and hides behind it when it’s convenient, but repudiates its very basis–moral action and accountability–when it suits him. This is why he is seen by the Australian public as morally bankrupt. And why the National Party is similarly tarnished by not removing him from its leadership.
In another imbecilic twist to Joyce’s position, he says he shouldn’t be judged badly for his affair in the world of 2018! He seems to misunderstand that if he had been a Green, or a Labor MP, or even a progressive Liberal (if there is such a thing anymore), there would not have been a story. It is a story only because he and his party publicly took moral positions he thumbed his nose at. It exposes him as a man without conscience, but with a mercenary, self-serving streak that is definitely in the public interest to expose and question closely.
Hiding behind an unborn child
And still it gets worse. His son is not even born yet and Joyce is cowardly enough to seek to hide behind him: ‘The one thing that has deeply annoyed me is that there is somehow an inference that this child is somehow less worthy than other children.’
I doubt his future son will be treated any differently than other children by the public or the news media. No one will hold him accountable for the fact his father is a lying, hypocritical horse’s arse.
But his father cannot hide behind him to silence criticism of his own actions. I can think of no precedent when that has occurred. And I think the Bible doesn’t either: god never excused his actions by saying ‘leave my son alone’. In fact he instructed a man to murder his son to prove his faith, and he let his own son die a horribly painful death rather than intervene.
Does Barnaby Joyce know those stories, or the parables that derive from them? If not, what kind of a Christian is he really?
Office pump or partner?
But wait! There’s more.
Joyce says Campion was not his partner when she was transferred to Matt Canavan’s office, and then Damian Drum’s. So why was she transferred out of Joyce’s office in the first place?
Joyce’s chief of staff, Di Hallam, did her job to act on what was increasingly commonly known as a sexual liaison by telling her boss in late 2016 to fess up to it to the Prime Minister’s Office, and by transferring Campion out of his office.
In other words, the transfer was definitely in response to the sure knowledge that a sexual relationship had been going on long enough for too many people to know about it. Meaning it would be exposed as morally improper sooner or later. The only way that cannot be case is if Joyce is suggesting Campion was just his office pump. His on-the-road mistress. Perhaps even condoned by his wife, in the sudden realisation of what a repulsive man Joyce really is.
An unlikely story, isn’t it?
Does partnership only begin when you’re caught in an adulterous relationship, or does it begin when a couple decide to conduct an ongoing sexual relationship?
Joyce can’t have it both ways: he is guilty of having abused his position of authority to seek favourable treatment of his sexual partner at the time. That he had not made this relationship public until later does not mean he had not already betrayed his wife and committed to another woman.
Journalists & Joyce: lying to New England and the country
By April 2017 Joyce’s wife Natalie confronted Campion about the relationship. So by that time it was no secret to just politicians, the news media, or Joyce’s family.
Yet Australia’s news media betrayed the public by not exposing Joyce’s deceitful hypocrisy prior to the by-election he won in December 2017. Why was that?
I’ve read many contrite confessions by journalists saying they just didn’t have enough evidence. I don’t believe a word of it.
I believe our current crop of senior journalists and editors are chickenshit cowards when it comes to representing the national interest. They are too close to politicians, and complicit in many a crooked deal by not highlighting it when they could have.
And I believe they tend to think politically correct thoughts instead of ration al ones when it comes to judgements about what should and should not be reported.
LNP could punish Joyce and the Nationals
Given that the Prime Minister cannot act more strongly than he already has without undermining the Coalition, and the Nationals are too compromised to act, there is only one other set of circumstances that might resolve the issue. A decision by the LNP–a wholly Queensland-based merged party of former Liberals Nationals–to form its own Federal party room.
Currently, of the 21 LNP Federal MPs, 17 sit with the Liberals, and four with the Nationals in the Federal Parliament. The National Party has 10 of its own MPs from other states.
If the LNP were to act as a party in its own right, it would be the second biggest Coalition partner even if the four MPs sitting with the Nationals defected to that party. As second-biggest partner, it would have the right to demand the deputy prime ministership for its leader, and some senior ministries that would have to be stripped from the Nationals.
The LNP has revealed no plans to take this dramatic step. But if Joyce’s public repudiation of the Prime Minister, and sections of his own party, continues, the political situation could become so destabilised for the Coalition that it might face self-destruction of its government before a federal election is even called.
Broader picture: Coalition as Republican colony
If Joyce manages to weather his transgressions, Australian politics will have crossed the no-man’s land it has occupied for ten years now, between being an independent and egalitarian country to making itself a colony of the American political system. In that event, the Coalition becomes a colonial outpost of the Republican Party, well known for sermonising morality while its members breach all humanly decent standards of it. And getting away without censure or punishment.
That would effectively mean that any vote for the Coalition is a vote for unrestrained amorality and progressively more audacious corruption of the political process, parliamentary conduct, and service to the nation as opposed to self-interest. Perhaps the PM’s visit to the USA, accompanied as it was with pandering to an imbecile president with zero moral standards for himself, means that this was already a longer-term plan.
Fooling a nation betrayed is not as easy as it seems
All this to serve the conceit, hypocrisy, and dishonesty of a man concerned solely with clinging to a privileged position he doesn’t deserve when judged by his own past statements on ‘higher standards’ and moral rectitude.
As an aside, I was interested to note that the Murdoch propaganda machine not only broke the story, but has not given Joyce any comfort since then. What happened between Joyce and Murdoch to create enough animosity for the former golden boy of grassroots reactionaries to be made a persona non grata in Murdoch’s universe?
Could it be that the boss of Fox neo-Nazi News was also disgusted by Joyce’s libido problems, and his lack of public moral rectitude? Why would Murdoch care? Because he knows that this situation could usher in an undeserved dominance for the ALP, perhaps for more than a decade, during which he might not always get his way.
If Murdoch has dumped Joyce, will his former bosom buddy Gina Rinehart be next?
Does that mean Joyce is now political poison no matter what happens?
I believe so. Without donors like Murdoch and Rinehart, through various corporate entities, the Coalition will be in deep trouble come election time. How many more millions can Turnbull afford to keep his sinking ship afloat?
More important to me personally is the prospect of gullible reactionaries backing Joyce regardless of his unconscionable lack of judgement, thereby telling the world Australians are idiots, liars, and hypocrites. Giving foreign powers reason to think of Australia as a legitimate target for ridicule, underhanded dealings, and exploitation.
That’s a long way away from the respect the world had for us during the Hawke-Keating years. No wonder China feels emboldened to treat us like dunces. But that’s another story.
No matter which side you are on in this debacle, it should be clear where I stand: throw Joyce into the nearest volcano to save at least some dignity for the rest of us.