Barnaby Joyce News England
(Image: AAP/Steve Gonzales)

Joyce to behold It’s the curse of the high-profile scandal victim that they spend the rest of their lives commenting on any scandal that resembles their own. It’s our curse that we keep asking them.

And so former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce was called upon for his views of the Ballad of Daryl and Gladys.

“I wish they had approached my position as they approached Gladys. I would probably be in a different position if they had, but good luck to her,” Joyce told The Australian.

Notwithstanding there’s something to his argument — a secret relationship between a premier and an allegedly crooked MP is as much a scandal as an affair between a minister and his staffer — in what universe does he see Berejiklian, subject to nationwide coverage every single day since the revelation, as getting off lightly? It’s also worth noting that she has so far held on for 10 days since the news broke, while Joyce didn’t quit for 16 days.

His partner Vikki Campion has been more empathetic. In her odd and ongoing column for The Daily Telegraph, she observes: “More than most, I understand the implications of loving someone you shouldn’t and the humiliation of having every liaison debated in public.”

Hospital pass As it was for Joyce, everything involving Gladys Berejiklian and Daryl Maguire looks different now. For example, in early 2017 the premier proudly announced she was “bringing forward” funding for Wagga Hospital in Maguire’s electorate. Six months later, residents just down the road in Griffith were spitting chips that their hospital was still being overlooked.

The premier’s office was effusively claiming the credit for the Wagga funding back then. Not so much now. When we asked if Berejiklian was playing favourites because of Maguire we were told to take our questions to Health Infrastructure. But how the hell would they be able to answer our question, unless they had information about Berejiklian’s social life she managed to keep secret from everyone else?

Maybe it’s genuinely down to unrelated government priorities, being unable to make everyone happy. But now we know what we know about Gladys and Daryl, these decisions are very difficult to see any other way.

Well isn’t that convenient Attorney-General Christian Porter has released a report finding that the “temporary industrial relations flexibilities introduced by the Morrison Government to support the JobKeeper scheme” were “crucial to keeping Australian businesses afloat and workers in jobs during the pandemic”.

A reminder that those “flexibilities” allow for: employees being stood down, losing hours and pay, having their duties changed, or being directed to take annual leave, even if these changes would otherwise breach the Fair Work Act. Oh, and they’re being extended for a further six months. The JobKeeper payments? Not so much.

US election watch Conspiracy theories are one of the defining political currencies of the past few years, whether it’s the belief that school shootings are “false flag” operations to bring about greater gun control, or that the president is actually attempting, behind the scenes, to eradicate an elite international cabal of paedophiles.

Which makes the Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee either wildly irresponsible or profoundly dumb. After it attempted to retweet a piece by Fox News’ Sean Hannity on the Hunter Biden story, a warning label appeared on the platform — something it regards as gross censorship.

Wow indeed. Of course the committee would have to know, as would practically anyone on Twitter, that the “have you actually read that piece you’re retweeting?” is a very commonplace feature, openly introduced midyear to combat misinformation.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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