Feb 23, 2018

Barnaby, Tony and Trump: the toxic trio upstaging Turnbull

Travelling to Washington won't free the Prime Minister from politically damaging personalities like Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott — Donald Trump will be just as damaging.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Here's how Malcolm Turnbull and his brains trust thought the last three weeks would go, roughly: two parliamentary weeks to solidify what the press gallery had decided was the government's good start to the year, laud the government's success in presiding over strong job creation and shift the focus to Bill Shorten, whose home state is plagued by factional thuggery and in-fighting.

Then he'd fly to the US with the elite of Australia's business community to be photographed in statesmanlike poses with Donald Trump, talking about how company tax cuts are fantastic, putting pressure on Senate crossbenchers to wave through the government's $64 billion corporate tax cuts and putting Labor's anti-business attitude in the spotlight. The gallery's senior journalists, who've travelled to the US to cover the trip, will write plenty of copy about the importance of Turnbull's meeting with Trump, if only to justify the cost of flying them there in an ever-more straitened media industry.

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26 thoughts on “Barnaby, Tony and Trump: the toxic trio upstaging Turnbull

  1. MJM

    One down, only two to go.

    1. tonysee

      Careful what you wish for, MJM. Do we know that Barnacle is ‘down’ or will he slink off to join the Abbott in the bench at the back of the church? Remember, Barnacle was relatively constrained as a minister, then leader …
      … I did say ‘relatively’!

  2. AR

    Is it solely Talcum’s own execrable political judgement that suggested this trip was a good idea?
    Why, in the long term planning that must have been required – before the Barnyard shitstorm even hove into view – did no-one wonder, “Why?”,
    If not, then what other nefarious purpose is served by this pilgrimage to the Sauce – getting riding orders from someone else?
    As the Rodent was getting his when visiting the mudorc on the week of 911.

    1. Nudiefish

      Turnbull can’t even enjoy the spectacle of being on the world’s stage.
      Every Aussie eyeball is obsessively fixated on the LNP kabuki theater currently playing out in Canberra.

      1. John Lewis

        Oh god that mental image of the bonking beetroot in full kabuki get up is going to stick!

    2. Marcus Hicks

      Malcontent is far too busy trying to dump all our superannuation money into trying to get Twittler re-elected, & somehow trying to convince Australians that multinational Corporations are hard done by, to actually bother running the nation.

  3. zut alors

    ‘There’s no evidence that appearing on the international stage has ever helped an Australian Prime Minister.’

    True, appearances don’t help them in the short term but are, nevertheless, extremely useful in the medium-long term. Pilgrimages by Australian PMs to the USA to meet the incumbent president secure, for posterity, that beaming photo in the Oval Office guest chair, something to flash around to family & the grandkids, a reminder down the track of the glory days when they believed they were at the top of their game. International trips are essential for personal archives – photos with the world’s high profile politicians ready for inclusion in their autobiography book deal post public office.

  4. Wayne Cusick

    “Cormann (who with two days and counting is so far our best immigrant Prime Minister)”

    Surely you only mean since 2013?

    1. AR

      … ahhh, sweet memories.
      Our very own Reine Ranga, who in a minority government passed more, and better, legislation than mot PMs.
      We’ll be blessed indeed to see her like again.

      1. Susan Anderson

        I dearly miss Gillard, I watch the misogyny speech occasionally to cheer myself up, she wasn’t perfect but she was my PM, I havent felt like we’ve had one since 2013

        1. Xoanon

          Personally, I feel the last really worthwhile prime minister we had was Keating in ’96. That was a long time ago, sigh.

          1. gjb

            I Agee, a leader

  5. Marion Wilson

    We went to war in Iraq so that Howard could have his photo taken with the then most powerful man in the world – who couldn’t even remember what his name was. I understand that Howard has a really significant collection of his career high spots – like his boy scout hat and toggle.

    1. Matt Hardin

      Sorry to be pedantic but it is a woggle not a toggle.

  6. maxcelcat

    Well. That escalated quickly didn’t it?

  7. klewso

    Ahhh the Lemming Tax Cuts ….. “Which services would you like to give up – pick as many as you like?”
    And eventually someone’s going to have to pay off those deficits being bought with those cuts – guess which end of town won’t, and then what excuses will be used to justify us being lumbered with the cost of their incompetence?

  8. Dog's Breakfast

    “… weak wages growth, which many voters CORRECTLY link to high immigration AND ABUSE OF THE 457 VISA SCHEME.”

    There, fixed.

    Sorry for the caps, not sure about html code for bold and italics and whether it works in the forums anyway. Would be good to have those options in comments.

    1. Susan Anderson

      Hear hear, I was unsmployed for 15 months because I couldn’t compete with the 457’s and no amount of elegant economic THEORY is going to convince me otherwise
      And even now 400,000 jobs created at the same time taht we took in 380,000 migrants and is it a wonder that the unemployment rate didn’t go down
      Companies in this country are refusing to provide anything other than cursory training and filling vacancies with immigrants who also help them to drive down wages and conditions

      1. CML

        Well said, DB and SA! For the first (and probably the last) time, I agree with Tony Abbott. You would have to be gifted with only half a brain to think otherwise about the high rate of immigration. This, coupled with the flood of 457 visa workers, is crippling the unemployed Oz citizens, and NOT significantly moving the unemployment numbers.
        Okay for business who can cut wages and conditions on the quiet…but devastating for any Oz citizen looking for a job…especially the young people. Everyone needs to join their relevant union and empower them to demand better wages and conditions. Shorten has already said the pendulum has swung too far in the employer’s favour…so a revamp of Fair Work Australia is desperately needed. NOT a bloody $65 billion tax cut for the big end of town.
        Inequality continues, and those least able to cope are being screwed by this coalition government…as usual!!

  9. [email protected]

    Waaaah Waaaah sent to the naughty chair (is that’s it?????‼‼ that all?)
    Musical %#&# chairs…ain’t gona solve it.
    That Utter dastardly Beetroot Barnaby Joyce… he’ll be back!! .. in cabinet as a minister quick as a wink, like a special operations boomerang. He never seems to die…the guy has got 9 lives, and lots of powerful supporters.
    How about taking him to court, fining him and jailing him for stealing and misuse of tax payers $$$$$$$$..for failure to do his job both as Agriculture minister and Minister for animal welfare‼‼‼. How about hanging him up to dry for his pro AG Gag laws. For his failure to manage water resources …(will we run completely dry in this drought like in South Africa)…….the list goes on and on ………..and on….the hypocritical oaf….vote no for my christian family values and future husbands of my daughters crap! and on and on…https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=592113567788862&set=gm.906746132836131&type=3&theater&ifg=1

  10. brian crooks

    mal and donald, together , dumb and dumber, mal and donald and joyce, the 3 stooges, larry curly and mo. tony abbott, charlie chaplan without the mo

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