Barn­aby ab­so­lutely fair game

The Weekend Post - - Views -

THE tis­sue-thin fa­cade of moral in­dig­na­tion over the me­dia ex­pos­ing Barn­aby Joyce’s ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties re­veals a bizarre dou­ble stan­dard.

Those ir­re­proach­able pietists trum­pet­ing false su­pe­ri­or­ity from ev­ery hill­top were the same ones drool­ing over the sala­cious head­lines be­hind the pri­vacy of their smart­phones. And why not? It was quite a yarn. A pow­er­ful older man im­preg­nates a young staff mem­ber be­hind his wife’s back while draw­ing on his strict Je­suit up­bring­ing to op­pose the wicked scourge of mar­riage equal­ity, then an­nounces his own mar­i­tal split dur­ing the afore­men­tioned par­lia­men­tary de­bate?

Chuck in a few ex­plo­sions and a de­cent-look­ing ac­tor and you’ve got the mak­ings of a block­buster po­lit­i­cal drama right there.

“Pri­vate lives should re­main pri­vate,” they clucked and cooed.

“How is this any­one else’s busi­ness but theirs?”

Ap­par­ently the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter’s con­firmed sta­tus as a twofaced root-rat should be swept un­der the car­pet, but footy play­ers who shag around on their wives are fair game.

Noth­ing gets trac­tion like a sex scan­dal, but the tenor of com­men­tary around an NRL star’s ex­tra­mar­i­tal tryst is in stark con­trast to when the Deputy PM is in­volved.

The term “role model” gets worn out when­ever a sport­ing star is caught out, like it was any­thing other than ath­leti­cism that rock­eted these big lugs into the na­tional lime­light.

If any­one should be held to higher ac­count it is an elected of­fi­cial who seeks to deny a con­sid­er­able seg­ment of the pop­u­la­tion’s right to marry who they love, and does it in the name of up­hold­ing tra­di­tional, con­ser­va­tive val­ues. Mr Joyce is not the first per­son to sleep around and he will not be the last, but if you are moral­is­ing about the sanc­tity of mar­riage you had bet­ter have your own home in or­der.

He, no one else, brought the spot­light on to his fam­ily and new part­ner, and that re­ally is a shame.

But to ar­gue that keep­ing the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter’s af­fair with a tax-paid staffer un­der wraps is in the na­tional in­ter­est is non­sense.

For­tu­nately, Cathy McGowan has con­cocted a way to solve our pol­lies’ ten­tac­u­lar ap­petites without re­sort­ing to chem­i­cal cas­tra­tion.

The in­de­pen­dent Indi MP has started the un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously dubbed “bonk ban” de­bate, sug­gest­ing politi­cians should be pro­hib­ited from crunch­ing guts with their staff.

Tough to en­force, but not without prece­dent.

The United States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives this week unan­i­mously voted to ban law­mak­ers from hav­ing a re­la­tion­ship with un­der­lings, as well as re­quir­ing that any fi­nan­cial set­tle­ment reached in sex­ual mis­con­duct cases come from leg­is­la­tors’ per­sonal pock­ets.

The AFL has done it as well, fol­low­ing rev­e­la­tions about se­nior exec- utives Si­mon Leth­lean and Richard Simkiss hav­ing af­fairs with staff.

“The Par­lia­ment is a place of work, and good work­place prac­tice in­cludes clear ex­pec­ta­tions about be­hav­iour,” Ms McGowan said in a writ­ten state­ment to me­dia.

Kennedy MP Bob Kat­ter ap­peared to be sup­port­ive of the move.

“Not staff, please fel­las, not staff,” he told Sky News.

“You are in such an enor­mously in­flu­en­tial po­si­tion with staff.” Slow down, Cathy. Leg­is­lat­ing a bonk ban is as ridicu­lous as it sounds, and is doomed to fail as long as men and women sport the req­ui­site para­pher­na­lia to do the hi­b­bety-dib­bety.

The pickle Mr Joyce now finds him­self in pro­vides proof that ac­tions al­ready have con­se­quences, and there is noth­ing in­her­ently wrong with two con­sent­ing adults do­ing you-knowwhat.

Just make sure to prac­tise what you preach or you may well be caught with your daks down. In clos­ing, a ques­tion. Do we get a na­tional day of mourn­ing for hav­ing to re­peat­edly pic­ture Barn­aby Joyce’s loose, sweaty man-flesh in full flight?


UN­DER FIRE: Deputy PM Barn­aby Joyce in Ques­tion Time this week.

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