I think PM Malcolm Turnbull’s call for Barnaby Joyce to examine his situation was an understatement. Barnaby Joyce has to go as Deputy PM and Leader of the Nationals. The case is overwhelming, he’s now a liability to the coalition, and he has to go.
First, Barnaby’s brand is in tatters. The good thing about Barnaby was that he was perceived to be a normal, decent, honest, down-to-earth bloke, relatable yet quotable, someone you could have a beer with, in other words, one of us. But now, Barnaby looks like just another sleaze-bag politician, concerned with his own pleasure and power, and doing anything to maintain it. His brand is destroyed. Yes, we know marriages end. Yes, we know that men can give into temptation and beg for forgiveness. But to conduct a prolonged adulterous relationship and to conceal it from family for so long, suggests a deficiency in his character that is indefensible. He’s not the emblematic Aussie Dad who is devoted to his wife and will do anything for his kids, no, now he’s just another polly who cannot keep it in his zipper.
Second, Barnaby’s adultery was not a private matter, it was social and public. Masturbation – if done correctly – that is a private affair. But what Barnaby did involved his wife, his mistress, his children, his staff, his entire office, his colleagues, and even government. Let me add, adultery is inherently social, it takes two to tango, it requires layers of lies, it effects everyone around you, your immediate family, and your work life. When my father abandoned me and my mother for another woman, it impacted us, and not for the better, it led to social breakdown and family fragmentation. It caused deep emotional scarring. Because Barnaby is a public figure in public office his extra-marital escapade is played out in the public domain.
Third, Barnaby will annihilate the women vote. In case nobody has noticed, most middle-aged women do not like men who abandon their middle-aged wives for younger women. Nobody likes a dirty love-rat or a gold-digging home wrecker. My gosh, do the National ever talk to women about this? No woman will be inclined to vote National with Barnaby at the helm.
Fourth, Barnaby sets a bad example for corporate Australia. I mean, given the dodgy sexual shenanigans in the AFL, who dismissed two execs for consensual relationships with junior female employees, to allow Barnaby to continue in office sends a message that, no, we don’t dismiss senior employees for sexual liaisons with junior employers. Business is a boys club, men on top and women underneath, that’s how it goes. Masculinity, work, power and sex is a great combination, let’s have more of it. What the hell? The #MeToo movement is all about how sinister men can be with power and sex. And Barnaby wants a free pass on this. But we can’t allow him to have it, it has to end.
Fifth, who wants to die as a martyr for Barnaby. Look, we know that it helps the Nationals’ cause to have a bit of product differentiation from the Liberals, to show that they are their own party, and not just the Robin to the Liberal’s Batman. I get it. They need to show that they are standing up for rural Australia, our agrarian industries, and a better go for the bush. But for the sake of flying pancakes, do they want Barnaby Joyce’s right to be an adulterer to be the distinguishing mark of their party, do they want to keep Barnaby Joyce leader just so they can say “You’re not the boss of me,” do they want to stake the values of their own party on a man who showed that his values do not mirror that of the constituency, and do they want Barnaby Joyce’s lack of virtue to be the hill they die on?
Sixth, the Barnaby Joyce scandal comes at the wrong time. Just when the coalition was hitting its stride, announcing some good policies, getting a lift in the polls, we now have to deal with the incessant “when” of Barnaby Joyce resigning. This won’t go away, it will slowly eat away at Nationals, it will bug the hell out of the Liberals, and the coalition won’t get any oxygen until Barnaby goes.
Seven, Barnaby is now a symbol of political and moral hypocrisy. Remember when Barnaby defended traditional marriage, well he was doing that while having an adulterous affair. Remember when Barnaby said that young people should stop whinging about property prices, leave the city, and move to the country, well he said that while he was living rent-free thanks to a rich mate who provided a love shack for him and his mistress. Such a disgusting hypocrisy of the highest order.
Joyce is no longer the best thing about the Nationals, he’s now the lead weight around its neck, he has to go.
Photo from News.com