Barnaby Joyce Overlooked

The consensus view is that Scott Morrison did a good job choosing his new ministerial team, managing not to disappoint too many deserving colleagues.

An exception perhaps is former National Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister between February 2016 and February 2018, Barnaby Joyce.

In deference to his former status, and previous role under Scott Morrison as Envoy for drought mitigation, he surely deserved at least a curtesy call from the PM to discuss his future, instead of having to find-out about his demotion via Twitter.

A year ago, he had been deeply hurt by a very public rebuke from PM Malcolm Turnbull, whom he had served loyally, over his highly publicized unwise relationship with a former staffer.  Others might have concealed their indiscretion by aborting the pregnancy, but Barnaby did not because of his religious scruples. Turnbull’s lack of sensitivity to his Deputy’s plight may have triggered the movement that unseated him.

Scott Morrison’s dilemma in how to accommodate Barnaby Joyce is not too dissimilar from the one which confronted Malcolm Turnbull in September 2015 after he had defeated Tony Abbott in a ballot for the leadership.

Turnbull chose to relegate him to the back-bench, but in retrospect might it have been wiser to give him an appropriate cabinet position or find him a suitable diplomatic post?

As of 27 May 2019, Barnaby Joyce had received in his NSW seat of New England, 59,126 of 111,979 eligible votes or 64.83% of the two-party preferred vote. Clearly his electorate believes in him and thinks that the allegations of sexual impropriety which forced him to resign his ministerial positions 15 months ago, should not now be an issue.

Furthermore, since his demotion, he has lent his support to the Queensland pro-coal lobby that tipped voter support in favour of the Coalition. He deserves kudos for this.

No doubt Barnaby believes he has served his time in the political wilderness and that now he should be seriously considered for return to an important role.

But has Scott Morrison already made his decision? Is Barnaby’s time past, and having tarnished his reputation, will he never receive a second chance?

About Kenneth Robson

I studied at Adelaide Boys' High School, and the University of Adelaide, Medical School. graduating in 1961. My field of specialisation was Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Prior to establishing my practice in Adelaide, I spent 5 years working in India, and Papua-New Guinea, in the field of reconstructive surgery for leprosy. In retirement I joined the Australian Technical Analyst Association and passed the two examinations for a Diploma inTechnical Analysis, and the designation Certified Financial Technician (CFTe) by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
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