Salad days for the Beetrooter

The beetroot is certainly living high on the hog, what with free accommodation from businessman friend in Armidale, now we find that the National party was chipping in for his salary after he was tossed out in Parliament for not declaring that he was a Kiwi. So he wasn’t short of a buck, given his salary was $416,000 a year. For a guy who seems absolutely talentless, the Beetrooter seems to lead a charmed life.

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The Age reports  Fairfax Media can reveal the previously undisclosed arrangement involved the use of party funds to give the Nationals leader a wage while he was campaigning to win the December 2 byelection triggered by the dual citizenship crisis

And then there was a question of  “the donation of free accommodation from Greg Maguire, a friend of Mr Joyce”

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But the worm is beginning to turn.

The Age reports  A third of voters who backed Barnaby Joyce in December’s byelection have deserted the besieged Deputy Prime Minister, according to the first poll since his affair spilled into the public and triggered a political firestorm in Canberra.

And almost 50 per cent of respondents in Mr Joyce’s electorate think their MP should move to the backbench or resign from Parliament altogether, as the repercussions from his personal crisis hit home.

His primary vote has now slipped from 65% to 43%.  He would probably hold onto his seat if an election would be held but he would need to do so with preferences.

They are loyal people up in Tamworth and Armidale and  don’t have much truck for city slickers and their fancy notions.

So we are probably stuck with the Beetrooter quite some time because the National party doesn’t have the guts to get rid of him and Malcolm Turnbull certainly doesn’t.

But the rest of the nation probably thinks  he should go and the Coalition has done itself no good  in leaving him as the Deputy Prime Minister.

They certainly have done nothing towards resolving the embarrassing situation of having a national  and international embarrassment as Acting Prime Minister next week.

Having him go on some form of leave and have Julie Bishop act in his place would only be an admission of how bad the situation really is.

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It’s a lose-lose situation for Malcolm Turnbull and his government.

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And serve them bloody right.

Beetrooter pickle spreads. Bernadi calls it.

There are a lot of coded messages about Barnaby Beetrooter: urgently resolve the deepening personal and political crisis”. “now getting to the point where it is affecting the government”, a responsibility “to the national interest first, the government second and the party’s interests third”. et cetera et cetera.  No one has yet extended the single good reason why Barnaby should stay. Except that Barnaby wants to hang onto his job.

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However one person was perfectly frank

Fellow Catholic conservative Cory Bernardi was scathing “Voters have a right to expect two things from politics. One is that the Australian people will not get screwed by their government and two, ministers will not screw their staff,”

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Now, it appears that the Beetrooter spent a lot of time at government expense in  Canberra recently when Parliament wasn’t sitting, on some occasions that $565 a night. The implication is that he didn’t really need to be there and should have been at home. The further implication is that he was up to some naughty business with his girlfriend. It may not be true, it probably isn’t.

But the problem for the Beetrooter is that now nobody will give him the benefit of the doubt.

And we have to step back and say, “What is this guy really contributed to Australian public life?”

Things like the women’s health policy issue of introducing the potentially life-saving Gardasil vaccine, he fretted that it might encourage promiscuity.

That must surely be a contender for the 2018 Hypocrite of the Year award.

Then there was moving all those Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority jobs to Armidale, conveniently in his own  electorate, where the staff had to go to McDonald’s to get Internet connections.

And now it appears that he is living rent-free, with his girl friend, in the house provided by a wealthy businessman friend, where the security was upgraded at public expense.

Why doesn’t Malcolm Turnbull come out in public and say “You’re a national disgrace  Barnaby. It’s time to go.”

Because he is too gutless and  “it’s a matter for the National Party.”

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So Joyce’s “private matter” was no such thing also very much publicly funded.

Channel 9 reports: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is under fire after it has emerged that a second parliamentary job was created for Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s girlfriend after the first role was lost following Resources Minister Matt Canavan’s resignation.

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The creation of the role in Mr Canavan’s office was authorised by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who also supported Vikki Campion’s shift to National Chief Whip Damian Drum’s office.

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It would appear that the job for Vicki Campion was not publicly advertised when she was appointed to Matt Canavan’s office and when he lost his ministerial position, she was moved on to another, particularly well-paid, job, it would  also appear this was also not advertised and it appears that the normal protocol is that such positions require the Prime Minister’s approval.

In the normal course of events in a Western democracy, the minister involved in this kind of appalling piece of chicanery would resign.

But not our Barnaby.

This is a  “private matter” even though it involves the Deputy Prime Minister, the Prime Minister, a minister of the Crown and the use of public funds. Not to say substantial lashings of public hypocrisy.

 

It is the writing on the wall for Tony Abbott? Looks like it.

The Age reports: ‘Rearguard action by factional warlords’: Abbott slams Lib compromise

Divisions between Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott intensified on Saturday as the NSW Liberal Party voted against reforming its preselection system immediately in favour of delayed change understood to be supported by the Prime Minister, but which Mr Abbott decried as only benefiting “factional warlords”.

A little bit of background

Political parties can select their candidates for Parliament, State or Federal in two fundamental  ways: by in the central apparatchiks choosing the local candidates or the local party members choosing them.  There are combinations and permutations of these but   in the Liberal party in New South Wales the balance lies with the apparatchiks controlled by Malcolm Turnbull and he  will have Tony Abbott out of Warringah at the next federal election.

Hence the battle over preselection in the NSW Liberal Party is particularly intense and Tony Abbott’s rhetoric about the current system benefiting “factional warlords” particularly fervent.  He’s not worried about factional warlords, he is worried about himself.

And it looks as if he has every right to be.

He has been completely outmanoeuvred by Malcolm Turnbull and the apparatchiks  and looks as if he is going to be spending more time with his family.

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Sex could be banned in Parliament House. Joyce fears retrospective legislation

The Age Reports Sex could be banned in Parliament House and relationships between politicians and staff prohibited under a proposal being mulled by crossbench MPs.

Yesterday, independent MP Cathy McGowan said Washington had set a precedent worth considering, and she would begin a consultation to bring about similar measures in Canberra.

‘‘There is a belief the Parliament is behind community expectations and corporate practice,’’ she said. ‘‘The Parliament is a place of work, and good workplace practice includes clear expectations about behaviour.’’

Barnaby Joyce was not looking happy in Parliament yesterday. “What if the legislation  is made retrospective?” He was thinking.

Deputy Prime Minster Barnaby Joyce in Parliament yesterday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

 It’s okay. Barnaby. They don’t normally make legislation retrospective.

What’s done, can’t be undone.

Barnaby Joyce demonstrates, yet again, how badly served we are by our political leaders

Recently, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce appeared on the ABC’s 7.30 spending most of the program discussing why he wouldn’t discuss the fact that one of his staff members with whom he was having an affair was pregnant because it was “a private affair.”

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The deputy PM is expecting a baby with one of his former staff members, Vikki Campion.

Later when asked about the Adani coal mine, he responded, “Let’s not talk about Adani. Let’s talk about jobs in the Galilee basin. Why shouldn’t people have jobs in the Galilee basin just because people down south don’t want them to.”

That is not point. It’s not “people down south.” The issue is whether we should be digging up coal and polluting the atmosphere.  And the point is that it is appalling that the Deputy Prime Minister still doesn’t understand this.

Apart from sidestepping the question of the exceptionally dubious proposition that the Adoni coal mine represents in relation to job creation, Joyce’s argument is that creating jobs in the Galilee basin should take priority over supporting the coal industry.   It is an exceptionally short term argument, particularly in the light of the fact that, even countries like India,  are,moving away from coal towards renewable.

It’s  like the argument that the Tasmanian timber industry mounted.  “We need to protect logging jobs because we have a right to cut down first growth forests for newspaper pulp. People on the mainland have no right to deny a small number of jobs to protect vast tracts of forest.”

When questioned over the Murray Darling Basin agreement, he talked over the top of Leigh Sales with an argument that, when reduced to its fundamentals was “we shouldn’t scrap the current agreement because we spent so much time and effort on it.”  He didn’t give his audience courtesy of a discussion the merits of the current agreement or the amendments, he you will simply keep talking until he ran out of time.

We deserve better than this man.

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