Barnaby Joyce is an Australian politician who served as the leader of the National Party and the deputy prime minister of Australia twice. He faced controversy after being filmed lying on a footpath in Canberra, swearing into his phone. He attributed his behavior to mixing alcohol with prescription medication, sparking calls for action and raising concerns about accountability in politics.
Early Life and Career of Barnaby Joyce
Barnaby Joyce was born in Tamworth, New South Wales, in 1967. He graduated from the University of New England with a degree in financial administration. He worked as an accountant and a farmer before entering politics.
He was elected as a Senator for Queensland in 2004, representing the National Party. He became known for his outspoken views and his willingness to cross the floor in Parliament, voting against his own party on several occasions. He opposed the sale of Telstra, the carbon tax, and the emissions trading scheme.
In 2008, he became the leader of the National Party in the Senate, the first senator to hold that position. He was also appointed as the shadow minister for regional development, infrastructure and water.
In 2013, he resigned from the Senate and successfully contested the seat of New England in the House of Representatives, defeating the independent MP Tony Windsor. He became the deputy leader of the National Party and the minister for agriculture and water resources in the Abbott and Turnbull governments.
Controversies and Resignations
Barnaby Joyce’s political career was marred by several scandals and controversies. In 2017, he was found to be a dual citizen of New Zealand by descent, which made him ineligible to sit in Parliament under the Australian Constitution. He renounced his New Zealand citizenship and won a by-election to retain his seat.
Later that year, it was revealed that he had an affair with his former media adviser, Vikki Campion, who was pregnant with his child. He separated from his wife of 24 years, Natalie, and their four daughters. He faced criticism for his conduct and his use of public funds to employ and travel with Campion. He also faced an allegation of sexual harassment from a former party member, which he denied.
In 2018, he resigned as the leader of the National Party and the deputy prime minister, citing the pressure on his family and the public interest. He moved to the backbench and became a vocal critic of the government’s policies on energy, climate change, and drought.
In 2021, he challenged Michael McCormack for the leadership of the National Party and won by a narrow margin. He returned as the leader of the National Party and the deputy prime minister, despite opposition from some of his colleagues and the public. He also regained his portfolio of infrastructure, transport and regional development.
Political Positions and Personal Life
Barnaby Joyce is known for his conservative and populist views on various social, economic, and environmental issues. He opposes same-sex marriage, abortion, and euthanasia. He supports coal mining, nuclear power, and dams. He advocates for regional and rural interests, especially farmers and small businesses. He is also a vocal supporter of Donald Trump and Brexit.
He married Vikki Campion in 2023 and they have three sons together. He also maintains a relationship with his four daughters from his previous marriage. He lives on a farm in Danglemah, New South Wales. He is a Catholic and a former member of the Australian Army Reserve.
Recent Incidents and Future Prospects
Barnaby Joyce’s second term as the leader of the National Party and the deputy prime minister was short-lived and turbulent. In 2022, he was involved in a footpath incident in Canberra, where he was filmed lying on his back near a gutter, mumbling profanities into his phone. He claimed that he had mixed alcohol with prescription drugs, which had caused him to lose balance and fall. He said he was not looking for sympathy or an excuse, but admitted that he had made a big mistake.
The incident sparked calls for his resignation from his political opponents and some of his own party members. They accused him of being unfit for office, irresponsible, and hypocritical. They also questioned his judgment, his integrity, and his ability to represent Australia on the world stage.
Barnaby Joyce’s future in politics is uncertain. He faces a tough challenge to retain his seat of New England at the next federal election, as he faces competition from independent and minor party candidates. He also faces pressure from his party to step down as the leader and make way for a younger and more moderate successor. He has not indicated his plans for the future, but he has said that he still has a lot to offer to the country.
Barnaby Joyce is a controversial and divisive figure in Australian politics. He has had a long and turbulent career, marked by achievements and scandals. He has been the leader of the National Party and the deputy prime minister twice, but he has also faced criticism and resignation over his citizenship, his affair, and his footpath incident. He has strong views on various issues, but he also faces opposition from his own party and the public. He has a loyal base of supporters, but he also faces a uncertain future in politics. He is a man of many contradictions, who has made a big impact on the Australian political landscape.