Barnaby absolutely fair game
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.