Say what you want about the sheer gall of appointing a man with unresolved sexual harassment allegations against him to a status of women taskforce — you’d never say it as weirdly as the man himself would. Hell, even Barnaby Joyce’s sexism occurs in a language all his own. As we pointed out yesterday, he, during the second reading of a bill on water efficiency labelling in 2012, referred to Bridget McKenzie as “a flash bit of kit”.
It’s always been the case. Joyce approaches language with the same sense of freedom as a jazz musician: unpredictable, instinctive, at times utterly unlistenable.
Social media is frequently the forum where he truly explores the possibilities. There are his 2019 reminiscences with Rob Oakeshott (not the former independent MP, you understand, but just some random guy on Twitter with the same name):
Dear @roboakeshott I’m leaving today. Went swimming and I should lose some weight then I thought what you would say, ‘beautiful in its ugliness’. So many memories Rob; picnics, sunblock, you supporting the Green/Labor/Independent alliance. Now a future of electric cars. Cheers.
His touching tribute, in December 2018, to an ailing Bob Hawke:
Hope Bob is not calling it an innings. The honesty of being to the top is something treasured when honestly given. Like Bob said we should go to nuclear power.
All of which is just a warm-up for his unhinged posting zenith: in the lead-up to the last federal election he tweeted a screen cap of advocacy group Women Vote’s election score card:
Golly gosh wow wee ABC’s Vote Compass rates Labor as ‘provide detailed polices likely to make meaningful progress against issues’ on? Everything!!! We are all so lucky that they are so balanced and funded by? All of us!!! Thank you ABC Vote Labor Compass.
And then, a little later on, he conceded that he had been informed by “Matthew Kozal” (a mangling, we can only presume, of journalist Michael Koziol) that “it was not ABC Vote Compass, it was on ABC’s The Drum“. Incidentally, yes, those tweets have not been deleted.
Comparatively mild is a Facebook rant in which Joyce describes action on climate change as “barking mad”. The 760-word post, which feels as though it increases in volume as it goes on, starts with standard denialist points — Joyce knows he is to be accused of “heresy” for bravely operating outside the “predetermined paradigm” on climate change — and ends neck-deep in full deep-state conspiracy:
Private property rights are removed, by the implementation of vegetation laws, because of ‘climate action’. The state will limit your access to electricity because of ‘climate action’.
Lest you think we’re relying on social media posts that where posted well after cocktail hour, let’s look at some of his more official pronouncements. Also in the lead-up to the last federal election, Joyce wrote gravely of what would happen if Labor won in The Australian:
You will drive electric cars, you will not question the government’s omnipotent power to change the temperature of the globe, you will have some sympathy for people who believe that an animal has the same rights as you and so by deduction you are no more than an animal.
I think we can all agree we dodged a bullet there. As we said at the top, Joyce’s flourish of misogyny regarding McKenzie is recorded in Hansard:
Madam Acting Deputy President McKenzie, you are looking wonderful tonight. You are a flash bit of kit in this chamber, there is no doubt about you.
And so, of course, is the following:
We know it is incredibly important because we are afflicted in this nation with these disgusting mud-sucking creatures, bottom-dwelling, mud-sucking creatures for which the only form of control is a version of herpes to try to get rid of these disgusting mud-sucking creatures. But we will move forward on this, because we believe we should be getting rid of these disgusting mud-sucking creatures, to support the silver perch and the yellow belly and the Murray cod and the eastern cod and the catfish. BUT WE DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH CARP. WE HAVE TO GET RID OF THE CARP.