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Analysis: A promising first sex scandal from Barnaby

Prue Rience, distinguished authority on political sex scandals, evaluates Barnaby’s debut in this fascinating genre and puts it in the proper historical perspective.



The power of political sex scandals to reinvigorate public interest in politics has been demonstrated time and again. It is arguably the only activity practised by politicians that isn’t intolerably boring.

I commend Barnaby on his bold initiative which has bestowed upon the Nationals the sort of vibrant national profile that they’ve never had a hope of achieving through their politics.

It is interesting to note that while two prominent Kiwi politicians are currently having a baby with their partner, only one of them, Jacinda Ardern, is opting to do it scandal-free.

It was somewhat disappointing however that Barnaby failed to add an international dimension to his model because collusion with a Russian spy proved to be such a compelling aspect of the classic Profumo-Christine Keeler sex scandal and obviously inspired Trump.

I was also a little fazed by Barnaby’s failure to match the sophistication of the Evans-Kernot scandal which turned out to be one of the Labor Party’s most successful ever membership recruitment programmes.

Furthermore he gave himself no chance of matching the controversy and intrigue of the Clinton sex scandal because of an unmistakable sign that he did have sex with that woman.

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Ex-President Zuma cleverly avoided sex scandals through marrying every conquest likely to cause one and Bob Hawke was adept at making them disappear faster than a yard of ale.

I have absolute confidence that Trump will soon become involved in a political sex scandal that will reduce all the others to the significance of a bit on the side. It will involve porn stars, Miss Universes, Harvey Weinstein, a Trans Pacific Partnership with a geisha, bunga bunga with Berlusconi and a Democrat who is an illegal immigrant.

I have concluded that the Greens will never become involved in political sex scandals because right at crucial moments the sun goes in and the wind dies down and they run out of renewable energy.

It’s very sad that Malcolm is failing to fully comprehend the true worth of Barnaby’s initiative despite the fact it’s kept him on the front pages for longer than anything else in his Prime Ministerial career. He should appreciate that if Peter Dutton engaged in a political sex scandal it would undoubtedly turn out to be as boring as batshit and no-one would take a blind bit of notice.

I take comfort from the lesson of history that it’s impossible to prevent politicians behaving scandalously with their staff. The only way Malcolm could ban political sex scandals is through introducing legislation making it illegal to spill the beans.

He wives of Clinton, Profumo, Evans and Hawke all forgave their husbands. Unfortunately in Barnaby’s case it’s difficult to see anyone forgiving him except Bill Shorten.


Prue Rience is the only person known to have been actively involved in three political sex scandals and she is currently in discussion about a fourth with a state political party in South Australia who need all the help they can get with their current election campaign.


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