- Date published:
1:58 pm, February 16th, 2018 - 20 comments
Categories: australian politics, International, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: barnaby joyce, malcolm turnbull
New Zealander of the year finalist Barnaby Joyce is in a very tenuous position. It looks like his future as deputy prime minister is in doubt.
The genesis of his problems is an intimate relationship he conducted with his former press secretary which has recently been made public. He has left his wife and four daughters and now lives with his former press secretary who is pregnant with his child.
So far so not so bad. These things happen. There is more than a stench of hypocrisy for a member of a party strong on family first rhetoric but that has not been a career killer in the past.
But the scent of blood is strong and the media are digging furiously. And it appears that a few other commandments were breached, including the ones against making sure your new partner continues to have well paid Government jobs, the use of Government resources to continue the relationship and the accepting of free accommodation from someone with a dodgy past.
John Birmingham in the Sydney Morning Herald gives the issue the once over with some of the most cutting damning writing I have ever read. Damn its good. Read it all and marvel at the quality. Here is a taste of it:
It started out as gossip of a purely personal nature. Joyce, now and forever to be known as The Beetrooter thanks to some cruel and magnificent bastard on Twitter, was rumoured to be cheating on his wife. Given his willingness to not just cast aspersions on other people’s private lives, but to punitively legislate against them, that was enough for a lot of punters to call him out on social media. But it wasn’t enough for the Press Gallery in the real media, and they’ve been throwing themselves an awesome pity party ever since.
For all of the high-minded journalistic waffle about private lives being private (unless, you know, somebody like Joyce decides to pass laws about them) and the need to verify rumours before writing news, it turned out there was plenty of crunchy and nutritious news value to be had in the Beetrooter’s shenanigans.
This bloke wasn’t merely sipping from the hypocrite drip because he put himself about as a staunch defender of family values while betraying and humiliating his family. He was an even bigger hypocrite, because having banged the drum about welfare cheats and bludgers, he’d lined up a series of cushy and very well-paid jobs for his girlfriend. Plus they were living rent-free in a townhouse provided by a millionaire businessman, and renovated by the federal government to meet upgraded security standards.
You’d think this would be enough to finish the bloke off, especially since while he was enjoying his rent-free love shack he was lecturing the rest of the country about why they should be ashamed of themselves for wanting to live in Sydney when he was happy to live in Armidale, because it was cheaper.
Much, much cheaper as it turns out. Who would have thought the solution to the housing affordability crisis was for millionaire property owners to let us live at their place for free. (Answer: socialists, communists, deluded idiots of that sort, I suppose).
But even that egregious and head-spinning instance of grotesque hypocrisy is not the rancid cherry on top of the shit sundae of this story.
No, that would be Malcolm Turnbull insisting yesterday that there was nothing wrong with giving the Beetrooter’s pregnant office lover a high-paying job when things got awkward, and then finding another, sweet, cushy gig when the second one fell through because, get this… she wasn’t actually his partner.
She was pregnant, and they were living together. But she wasn’t his partner because…
Allow me to assist you, Prime Minister. She wasn’t his partner because shuffling her from one ministerial staff job to another might be a breach of the rules.
She wasn’t his partner because an ever-growing number of government ministers would be implicated in that possible breach.
She wasn’t his partner because that would make it very difficult, not just for the Beetrooter to hold onto his job, but for you too, Prime Minister.
It was not only the infidelity or the hypocrisy for a conservative to be doing this or the living in free accommodation provided by someone with a shady past or the use of taxpayers money to upgrade the joint or the denying they were in a relationship when conclusive pristine evidence is going to appear any month now. It was the shuffling of jobs to ensure she continued to have an income while preparing for her birth. And it was the double standards applied. This government has made the lives of many beneficiaries a misery by prying deeply into their lives but its ministers do not accept that they should play by the same rules.
Turnbull has responded by stating that ministers and staffers shall not have sex. The media has labelled the edict as a bonk ban.
Birmingham sums the situation up in this way:
It’s not often you get to see the raw, naked ugliness of the power imbalance between the masters and their serfs, but it’s out there for everyone to see this week.
Its not only the hypocrisy it’s the troughing and the double standards that are the problem.
If you want to follow what is happening the Twitter hashtag #beetrooter is occasionally magnificent.