Barnaby Joyce, looking a bit disconsolate, was interviewed on the ABC a couple of days after the May 21 election result became clear. When asked about an assertion by Nationals colleague Michael McCormack that Joyce’s unpopularity was a factor in the Liberal Party losing about 20 seats, he resorted to the ‘I’m in the Nationals’ argument and ‘that’s a question for the Liberal Party’1.
In another interview (which I saw, but cannot now find) Joyce whined about the low primary vote of the Labor Party. While it is true that the Labor Party primary vote is quite low (at 32.8% a drop of 0.5% from the 2019 election) and is lower than the Coalition primary vote (at 35.9%, a drop of 5.5% from 2019)2, Joyce seemed to be unconcerned about separating himself from the Liberal Party in this instance. If he had done so, he would have been shooting himself in the foot.
The Liberal Party primary vote was 23.9% (a drop of 4.2% from the 2019 election), the Liberal-National Party (the Queensland amalgamation of the Liberals and Nationals) had a primary vote of 7.8% (a drop of 0.9% from 2019), while the Nationals primary vote was 4.0% (a drop of 0.3% from 2019)2.
Joyce also seems to forget, as do some hopeless ‘journalists’ (are you there, Andrew Probyn?), that we have a preferential voting system and that many people (me included) vote ‘strategically’, insofar as we largely vote against someone. In the recent election, I and others I know, may not have given their first preference to the Labor Party, but made sure that their preference chain ended there, rather than with the Liberal Party.
A couple of other changes in primary votes from 2019 are also probably worth noting insofar as they perhaps denote a change in the political winds in Australia. The Greens primary vote was 11.8%, and increase of 1.4% from their primary vote in the 2019 election and the Independents primary vote was 5.5%, and increase of 2.2% from their primary vote in the 2019 election. Both are more than the National Party primary vote.
The National Party has a secret coalition agreement with the Liberal Party, which presumably relates to how many of their number are given cabinet and other ministries depending on the number of seats they win. To keep them sweet, the Liberal Party has to roll out the barrels of pork. The agreement of the Nationals to sign up to net zero emissions by 2050 cost Australia more than $20 billion worth of pork in Josh Frydenberg’s last federal budget for Joyce’s pet projects3.
The Nationals, while their primary vote has been in decline for a long time, concentrate their efforts in regional seats, rarely going head-to-head against Liberal candidates or in any metropolitan seats. Because of this, their very low primary vote translates into 10 seats in the House of Representatives. The Liberal National Party of Queensland gets about 20 seats in the House of Representatives. Of these, about three quarters sit in the National Party room, while one quarter sit in the Liberal Party room4. The latter is why Peter ‘Spud’ Dutton (LNP member for the Queensland seat of Dickson) is being considered for leadership of the Liberal Party now that Morrison has resigned.
On the surface, the Nationals are in an enviable position. When the Coalition is in power they get barrels of pork and can say to their electorates: “look what we got for you”, and when the Labor Party is in power and the barrels of pork cease to be rolled out they can blame it on the Labor Party. However, I expect the National Party’s primary vote will continue to decline and they will become irrelevant, especially if they continue to deny climate change when it is already deeply affecting this nation. Having sat through several of Barnaby Joyce’s interviews in preparation for this article, his incoherence is staggering and it amazes me that people actually vote for him.
personally, i think Labor could do worse than to ‘court’ regional voters with sweeteners, (yah, call it bribery), such as attractive programs on, for example, LandCare (ie low cost loans or even moratoriums on mortgages ) and the like.
I’m somewhat bemused that there wasn’t a more significant blowback from the paltry flood responce, let alone from the pitiful bushfire responce.
That lack of blowback had me buffaloed too. Now that Morrison has time on his hands, maybe he can forward Barnaby’s drought reports to the government.
As a constituent of New England electorate, I apologise. He is as incoherent in person as he is on the telly.
I was watching the details of the polling booths here as the day progressed, and the way national party support focussed in Tamworth and the small towns below the escarpment. Above that, where Armidale and Inverell sit and perhaps the air is clearer, there was a notable preference for independents. Personally, I voted from the bottom up, making sure that Barnacle Juice was last. He is an embarrassment.
I long for the days of Tony Windsor, the only true climate independent we ever had.
Tony Windsor is wonderful. He recently described Barnaby on Twitter as ‘a dipstick looking for a sump’.
I very much agree with your assessment of Joyce and the Nationals. I also very much agree with James and you about Tony Windsor. I also very much agree that Andrew Probyn is hopeless. So all in all an agreeable read about a disagreeable subject. Just in case you haven’t read it before here is another little gem from the joke that we had as deputy PM until last Saturday, to our everlasting shame.
I had a go at the idiot Joyce over this very same facebook post, but hadn’t seen this in the AIMN. Mine was at: https://blotreport.com/2019/07/14/the-criminal-behaviour-of-barnaby-joyce/
I thought you may have dealt with this before. It is so hard to keep up with the rubbish from all these nutters. The thing that I simply don’t get is the “best retail politician in Australia” thing. I really despair that there are significant numbers of people in some parts of our nation who buy this inane, childish, ignorant man’s garbage.
It is extraordinarily easy to gull people. Look at the Nigerian scam. Whoever organised it made many millions out of it: ‘We have some money we want to store overseas and if you let us use your bank account, you can keep 10%. Just send your banking details to us’. To fall for this you’d have to be extremely gullible, but many people did fall for it. On a less serious note, I remember when I was at uni, another bloke and I, who were Aunty Jack Show enthusiasts, convinced a lad from country Victoria that on the east coast of Australia you could get fish flavoured milkshakes. I think I told him that my favourite was bream, while the other bloke said he preferred flathead. Had him sucked in for a week or two, until someone put him wise.
I’m sure most decent Australians are extremely concerned about how poor old Beetrooter will manage after being rogered by his colleagues – something the people of New England should have done years ago. And for good reason. His mental state was always questionable, his love of the limelight and a fawning (perhaps befuddled) media was legendary, and he himself bemoaned the fact that he couldn’t manage on his MP salary of $211,000 plus expenses, despite free/subsidised accommodation in both Canberra (which runs to about $40,000 per member per year) and New England. With his salary reduced from a multiple of 7 times the average wage (plus expenses, plus super most can only dream about) to about half that I’m sure we all sympathise. Dunno about you, but my heart bleeds for him.
The inability to manage money appears to be a common problem in the LNP. The sadly seatless Ken Wyatt ($426K salary) complained that politicians were underpaid, despite being so well fed by the public trough that he didn’t know what he earned (true, google it). I guess when you think taxpayer money is really LNP money, half a mill or so annually is but an entree in what should be a five course meal. Good news Kenny, you can get on amassing those millions now.
And now the vegetative Perrottet has suggested that politicians who lose their seats in an election should receive separation payments. These bastards all need to be given the boot.
Perrottet must live in a dream world. The vast majority of Liberal, Labor and National party hacks who are given the boot – many of whom haven’t had a “real” job in their lives (did I just write that? Tim Wilson has a lot to answer for) – will be absorbed by the political systems which spawned them in the first place: their parties, businesses, unions, party supporters, right and left wing think tanks (aka “charities”), overpaid govt tribunals (eg the AAT), overseas postings……
If any should fail to get well-paid jobs post their political demise that would be highly suggestive of ongoing incompetence. Perhaps a journo should ask Perrottet to give examples of those hard done by ex-MPs who struggled to make ends meet post-election. Unlike many of his utterings, that would make interesting reading.
The sense of entitlement and the tone-deafness of some of these people is astonishing. For a journalist to ask a question as you suggest, would require them to be competent, which in the current media landscape is a big ask for many of them.
“The inability to manage money appears to be a common problem in the LNP”
As does alcoholism. The two seem to go together in my experience.
JON: Don’t blame the voters of New England, blame the population of Tamworth, which is where he’s always gotten his votes. Up here on the tableland, we largely went independent. The polling data by polling booth on the day of the election showed that his, or Nats, support is focussed in Tamworth. We have tried successfully in the past to go independent. Barnacle Juice the Beetrooter was effectively parachuted in Keneally style when St Clair lost his seat to Windsor in the early ‘00s. Even then he lost to Windsor.
We don’t like Barnacle here, but there hasn’t been a strong or sensible candidate to oppose him since Windsor. And the drongos down the hill have their brains baked solid by excessive heat and no water.
What really needs to change is the direction of the Nationals, who would be a respectable party if they actually cared long term about farmers and food and animal goods, rather than lacquered coal and rubbing a quick one off in the prayer room. The problem with the “luck” (debatable) of a mining boom is that the primary producers have forgotten to grow wool or corn and decided holes make better exports. All well and good, except when the holes are in good farming land and the holemakers have absolute control over the governments who ignore their people.
Just so you know Jon, if I get the chance, I’ll be dragging Beetroot Barnacle on a hemp cord the length of his electorate behind a souped up electric jalopy. Even if I have to occasionally change the cord, at least it is biodegradable. Just like Barnacle Beetroot. Fully biodegradable.
Tamworth? Must be the two types of music they rave about down there: Country and Western. It seems to have turned them into RWNJs who think Tamworth is Nashville.