At long last the Murdoch and Fairfax media empires have started publishing details of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s marriage breakup and his affair with one of his staff-members, and the impending birth of their child1. Politicians of all persuasions have come out stating that Joyce’s private life should remain private, and Joyce appeared on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 7.30, during which he said the word private a couple of dozen times.
The reason most politicians are keen to keep the status quo where such secrets remain secret, is that they know there are a large number of their colleagues who are doing the horizontal folk dance with staffers, journalists and sundry other people, while away from their homes and families back in their electorates. Not keeping the status quo would lead to an enormous amount of damage, not only to the other side, but probably their own as well.
What people do when they have their undies off is their business, and if Joyce’s marriage had broken down and then he found solace in the arms of someone with whom he worked and they decided to have a baby, well and good. But as is usual for Barnaby Joyce, he got things around the wrong way. His marriage broke down after his wife and four daughters found out he was having an affair, and that his paramour was in the pudding club. While, I could even accept the occasional dill, like Joyce, could get the chronology wrong, it is the hypocrisy which makes this shambolic mess so disgraceful.
While running for re-election in his New England electorate, Barnaby Joyce, used his wife and four daughters as props in his re-election campaign, being photographed with them at their home, with the implication being that he was a trustworthy family man. All this, while his paramour was already pregnant. It was only late in the campaign (mid-November), when this affair became known; not via the complicit Murdoch or Fairfax media3, but the Independent2.
On top of this, Barnaby Joyce campaigned against same-sex marriage, stating: “We know that the best protection for those girls [his four daughters] is that they get themselves into a secure relationship with a loving husband, and I want that to happen for them. I don’t want any legislator to take that right away from me”4. Although Barnaby Joyce was taking advice from the Christian Lobby at the time, and consequently was telling similar porkies as that group; indicating that same sex marriage would be compulsory was perhaps going a bit too far. Joyce’s hypocrisy is monumental, and it is that which makes him unsuitable for any public office. I suspect many people in his electorate probably feel the same, and that is why this news was held back until after the by-election, and why his family were used as props during the campaign. Their anger must be palpable. My anger is at the conspiracy of silence between the Murdoch and Fairfax media and the Coalition, which undoubtedly influenced the by-election. These media organisations leave much to be desired. They, to some extent, have sold themselves for the carrot of corporate tax cuts, dangled over their heads by the Coalition, and our democracy is at risk because of it. Like Barnaby, they have their trousers down, but it is the public who are being screwed.