Feb 13, 2018

‘Not his partner’: the single phrase that sums up this wretched government

Deciding that Barnaby Joyce's girlfriend wasn't his partner, so that Malcolm Turnbull could avoid being dragged into the Joyce affair, was the worst idea anyone's had in this incompetent government.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

barnaby joyce interview

There were times in 2012 and 2013 -- when Kevin Rudd and his followers regularly lobbed bombs at Julia Gillard -- that you could only watch events unfold with a sense of wonderment; that never before had we seen such chaos, and we never would again. One of the promises Tony Abbott made before the 2013 election, the one that even his devoted enemies thought he would keep, was to restore a sense of calm and order to government, of adults being in charge. After all, Abbott was extraordinarily disciplined, he led a united party and he and his ministers had substantial experience in government.

Boy did that turn out to be wrong. The incompetence and sheer brazen stupidity of the Abbott years (all two of them) made the Gillard years look relatively ordered. Gillard could at least blame Rudd and his malignant egotism. Abbott had no one to blame but himself. Malcolm Turnbull, we knew, would have Abbott destabilising and white-anting him, but surely would prove as skilful at being prime minister as he was at most everything else he had turned his hand to in his life.

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69 thoughts on “‘Not his partner’: the single phrase that sums up this wretched government

  1. Itsarort

    While Crikey seems to be more ‘out there’ in the mainstream (even gets a mention on Media Watch these days…), it still remains, unfortunately, but a squeek to the public at large. And whilst the Daily Poograph plonked BJ in the plop, News Corp will ultimately wipe the Coalition’s bum every time – hence the shear audacity and arrogance of these bleached arseholes.

    1. Itsarort

      Oops, ‘sheer’, not ‘shear’. However, it almost fits…

      1. AR

        … a good opportunity for the Leunig cartoon “Ramming the Shears”?

    2. leon knight

      Yep, writing of this quality and brutal honesty should be on the front pages of all the local rags, and shouted loudly from the screens at the ABC too…well done Bernard, your best for a long time, but sadly not visible to many of the dopey voters out there that need to see it over and over again until understanding finally dawns on them.

        1. Dog's Breakfast

          Thanks for that link Lloydois. Birmingham is one of my favourite writers, and he gave him both barrels.

        2. Karen Hutchinson

          Birmingham’s piece gave me the best laugh I’ve had in ages. Without doubt the most appropriate moniker for Barnaby revealed to us all as the unrepresented swill that squints in the glare of his entitled bleached a***hole

    3. Richard

      I must be slow today. I know what it is, but could somebody please explain the significance of being a bleached arsehole in the context of this shemozzle?
      Assume it means (loosely) an entitled caucasian person acting the arsehole?

  2. swimming the Hellespont

    One is tempted to think like Malcolm Tucker ( how sweet that he shares a first name with the idiot in charge ) – just “fuck the fuck off” the lot of you. But stay, surely there is heaps more fun to be had yet. Especially given it seems that Moloch has commenced via the Tele to train the sights on them – banyard at least. We could see them gone for pleasing while.

  3. Robert Smith

    Why don’t the media ask the next question – if she was not his partner, then what was she? How would Malcolm answer that?

    1. jmendelssohn

      Perhaps Barnaby told him she was simply his “fuck buddy”?

      1. Wayne Cusick

        Underling with benefits.

    2. Sue

      Exactly, once we know that the reason you transferred an absolutely brilliant, worth-every-cent media officer from the Leader’s Office to a junior Minister’s office because of the impact of a personal relationship on your office, it makes no sense to then say that she was not your partner so the Ministerial Standards did not apply. Then don’t transfer her and same some money.
      Also, even if the Ministerial Standards do not require you to consult the PM about non-partners they certainly do not prevent you from doing so. You would expect that Australia’s best retail politician and the best social media officer in the Western world would have known that an issue might arise and would err on the side of caution.

    3. zut alors

      ‘Partner’ may well be the polite option than other nouns the Oz electorate is suggesting.

    4. Venise Alstergren

      Excellent reply, Robert. WTF is she? I have to say Malcolm Turnbull seems to be joined at the hip to the worst elements in parliament. And no one defines the word ‘worst’ better than Barnaby Joyce.

    5. gerald butler

      His” bit on the side?”

  4. klewso

    Turnbull is splashing our boots with his excuses.

    “Funny(?)”, Slomo turning up on 7:30 last night to explain away what tried – and got away. Then there were questions about how he knew tax cuts were going to deliver what he and his BCA strappers say they will? Sales didn’t even bring up his “recent wet track form” – including trying to get ASIO to nobble refugee processing; or for over-ruling Treasury on what Labor’s negative gearing policy would do to the economy and house prices, to sit on that, because it didn’t match his “infallible” opinion?
    Another lost chance while she had him in the “hot seat”?
    I’m suprised they didn’t have a giggle and a prediction of the chances of his/their(?) Sharkies this year? Him with his track record for futures?

    1. Bert Morris

      I’m surprised that Leigh Sales survives. She is not up to the job and has let numerous politicians get away with murder. Please can we have Sarah Ferguson asap. Just swap the two ladies jobs over. Leigh does a nice introduction and Sarah absolutely nails her interviewees.

      1. MJM

        I am hoping the arrival of Laura Tingle to 7:30 might result in some raised standards.

        1. brian crooks

          No ABC journalist will be allowed to tell the truth, the ABC is now the personal property of Rupert Murdoch courtesy of his girl Michelle Guthrie, all non complaint staff have been made redundant and the remaining ones understand the new rules , the new ABC is just Murdoch`s private T.V station run at no cost to him and paid for by the Australian taxpayers to carry this governments message to as what the public are allowed to watch and to promote right wing ideology, much the same as Hitlers minister for propagandise Dr. josef goebbels did in Nazi Germany.

      2. Peter Gunn

        Agreed, Bret. Leigh should join her pal Annette Crabb in simpering and serving lamingtons to politicians.

  5. 124C4U

    As Statler and Waldorf would say,”enjoying the show so far?”
    What a circus. Mal Talkbull as ringmaster doing regular backflips to provide entertainment also doubling as contortionist.
    Bonking backwoods beetroot Barmy Barney as lead clown, always finding some new and incredible way to make us laugh. Supported by Laurel and Hardy mimics Caravan and Christian.
    Bookshelves Brandis always finding new and innovative ways to interpret everything with long monologues.
    Scotty Mo who can both spin and talk faster than anyone.
    Pass the eyedrops Julie who can kill with a single stare.
    Poodles Pyne sitting bolt upright and staring at his master with big cow eyes. who can sound like a corella and act like a galah.
    That Black haired Person sitting behind Talkbull, making monkey faces at the opposition and breaking into hysterical laughter on command.
    Everybody’s favourite Giggles Cash. Who can bring down the whole tent with one supersonic screech of laughter.
    Not forgetting the prize fighter and simian imitator Phony Tony.
    You out there add the rest, Iv’e got writers cramp and there are heaps more.

    1. leon knight

      There are indeed heaps more, but you have prepared quite a revolting entrée for our delectation. And then the ABC puts the Dog Lover Kenny on Q&A….where are the Chaser when you need them?
      But Micallef should have a ball tomorrow night, even though he will be under a lot of impossible management pressure to pour equal scorn on Labor and the Greens.

    2. Sleuth

      Of course it’s a three ring circus. Right?

    3. 124C4U

      I actually meant ultrasonic screech. She’s also good at the disappearing lady trick.

      1. MAC TEZ

        An absolutely appropriate appraisal of all of ’em but you got the name wrong…it’s Cackles Cash (a credit to AR for coining it ) and it can’t be anything else.

    4. [email protected]

      Gee well done- you have great form there

  6. jmendelssohn

    “the giddy beauty achieved by such sublime levels of idiocy” such an exquisite turn of phrase.

  7. lykurgus

    “but surely would prove as skilful at being prime minister as he was at most everything else he had turned his hand to in his life”
    A prophecy he has fulfilled… to wit…

    – His Goanna defence (“sue EVERYBODY”) came close to perverting the course of justice – the RC accused him of poisoning Packers case (he had to leave the Bar over this).
    – He chaired a clear-felling dodge in the Solomon Islands and tried to play dumb.
    – Ozemail (the ointment in his fly) was a stake that he flipped – ie. bought then resold (that being his entire role).
    – Australias biggest corporate collapse (HIH) was on his watch (he was possibly Adlers man in FAI).
    – The Spycatcher ban here (then available in Canada) was handed down in an English court persuant to English law – the cartoonish overreach of a desperate No.10 that the Bailey shouldn’t have touched. Most barristers could knock it over in their sleep, but he still had to political-interference the shit out of it. Ask Hawke… and Hayden… and Beazley…
    – Oh, and the republic.

    Anyone who’s disappointed now, is a bit bloody late to the party.

    1. Duncan Gilbey

      Up until recently, many in the media (Bernard included) have been waiting for ‘the Real Malcolm’ to appear, ignoring the litany of self interest and screw-ups that ARE ‘the Real Malcolm’.
      There are none so blind as those that will not see…

  8. MJM

    Loved every word Bernard. Fully agree – I am somewhat of a politics tragic and I cannot recall anything as absurd as what we have witnessed in the last week. Since I am not an LNP supporter I must confess I am rather enjoying it all. A pity though that this matter is shouting over other much more important matters such as closing the gap on Indigenous difference .
    And thanks for moving forward. I did not agree with the position you took last Wednesday about the public revelation of this “private” matter. Other sources have been slow to keep up with public opinion. Personally I think it does involve far more than public prurience over private behaviour and of the matter being of public interest. I see the huge gap between what Joyce has said and how he has behaved as going to the question of character. Without such information the public cannot decide which people merit their support and who deserves derision.

  9. The Curmudgeon

    If “partner” is literally a bit too slippery, let’s just insert the words “or his or her root” in the appropriate section of the rules. Earthy language to be sure, but authentic Australian language, and after all, Joyce is authentic- he must be as the media pack have been telling us for years.

    1. Rais

      One of the excuses given by somebody from the Nats is that Joyce had not at the time broken up with his wife who was therefore his partner “and you can’t have two partners.” Excuse me? In Australia today you can’t have two pertners when you’re married to one and making babies with another?

  10. Betty

    Report in today’s Armidale Express that Fish & Shoots will run local Uralla cop for Northern Tablelands in next state election.
    Their reasoning that Joyce will go and there will be a by election for New England again and Adam Marshall, Nats incumbent for Northern Tablelands will be preselected.
    Poll running in the paper also shows significant numbers think Joyce should resign.

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