Former deputy primer minister Barnaby Joyce.

Once in a while, perhaps every decade, it pays to listen to Barnaby Joyce.

Until 2018, Joyce was a senior minister of the government, and deputy prime minister for two years. He thus was present, either as a senior figure or in a leadership position, as the Abbott and Turnbull governments undertook major steps toward a police state in Australia.

The establishment of a mass surveillance "data retention" program, successive tranches of counter-terrorism laws that went significantly further than the draconian impositions of the Howard era, police pursuit of whistleblowers who exposed misconduct by government bureaucracies, the creation of a Home Affairs portfolio, attacks on encryption, the use of personal information to smear critics, and police raids on opposition politicians and staff.