Barnaby Joyce is an economic illiterate with a deeply troubling paranoia about Chinese investment. His primary contribution to public debate while he was shadow finance minister was to claim that Australia could default on its sovereign debt. His primary contribution as spokesman on water, after his sacking from the finance portfolio, has been to aggressively champion the interests of Cubbie Station, down the road from his home town.

Joyce, and his Nationals colleagues, not merely want to block the sale to Chinese investors of a property that only exists because of Queensland’s astonishingly lax water regulation in the 1990s, but to waste taxpayers’ money bailing it out.