Barnaby Joyce (just) falls short of toppling McCormack, but he’ll be back

Barnaby Joyce failing to return himself to power is not the end, it merely represents the latest in a string of infinite comebacks…but don’t call it that.



This morning, despite threatening his own comeback, Barnaby Joyce has been defeated by incumbent Nationals leader, Michael McCormack. While the superbly-named whip of the party (which is almost a Devo reference) Damian Drum refused to disclose the results, sources confirmed to Fairfax that there was a solitary vote in it.

Joyce had promised to “stand up” to Scott Morrison, should he emerge from the popularity contest a victor. As the clock struck 11, it seems that it is not to be, with the Prime Minister explaining that: “The Coalition is between the Liberals and the Nationals. And that Coalition has always provided (a) very stable and very good government for this country.”

Prior to the vote, Joyce planted: “Remember, I’ve been in politics longer than Scott Morrison, and I’ve been in leadership longer than Scott Morrison.”

Hmm. If the spill was tied to a public vote, I’m fairly certain the remembrance of times past may have secured the noose to the tree. Googling “Barnaby Joyce scandal” is the modern millennial version of Choose your own (mis)adventure, but there’s something to be said about the ease in which Joyce would have settled into the political climate of 2020. He’d no-longer be the unhinged outlier he was in the Turnbull era, he’d seem far less insane by comparison.

So, what now for Barnaby? Will he merely just wait for the next headline, or the phone to again ring, as the dark forces of democracy enlist him for yet another pet project? You bet.

Joyce is the Norma Desmond of Australian Politics. He’s an obsolete relic of policy gone by, but remains convinced that the next comeback is around the corner, because the people want to see him, and those who don’t will be taught a lesson in humility. After all, he remains big, it’s just the minds that have gotten smaller.




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