Doorstop – Parliament House, Canberra

BARNABY JOYCE: ...to make sure that we can go back to our electorates and say, “These are the concerns you conveyed to us and this was the valid attempt we put towards trying to make sure that those concerns were dealt with and this was the path we followed and this was the outcome that we arrived at.” Now, basically go to the end of that equation, and that is the outcome we arrive at. We haven’t arrived at an end point of this and I’m only too happy to comment after that process concludes.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

BARNABY JOYCE: What has precedence? The precedence is making sure you respect those who sent you to this place. There’s nothing that annoys people more than saying, “You go down there and you become a different person. We conveyed to you as branch members, as people on the street, as people when you walk into the local pub, we conveyed to you concerns that we had. And, you know, we didn’t see you even entertaining how you deliberate on them. Now, that’s not good. That’s not what politics is about. When you go down there you’re not a squire. When you go down there you’re a servant – a servant of us. And we expect to see – we respect a servant but a servant of us nonetheless—and we expect to see you do your duty.” And that’s what the Nationals are doing.

JOURNALIST: I know you said you don’t want the Nationals to be pushed into a corner, but is Sunday really the last possible stand for the Nats to make a call on this [inaudible] this week inaudible [Inaudible] given Glasgow’s next week? Can the Prime Minister go without an agreement?

BARNABY JOYCE: He can, actually. That’s the prerogative of the Prime Minister. And once more, we’re not going to start trying to even mimic bullying the Prime Minister or coercing the Prime Minister. He has his own mandate and he has his own capacity and that is absolutely and utterly his own right, quite evidently. What we have to do is do our job. We have a Coalition, and it’s the best thing for our nation that we do. It is not chained with a padlock, it is the agreed position of views, one overwhelmingly a capital city urban view, with regional seats as well, no doubt about that. Our view is exclusively regional. We have no capital city seats that we have to politically contend with. And there is most definitely within – the closer you get to the centre of the capital cities a different political view. We respect that. Their view is premised on predominantly white-collar jobs and low energy requirements, whilst ours in regional areas is predominantly blue-collar jobs that are energy-intensive. So you would expect to be a different set of eyes that would go over these deals and I hope people respect that. And, you know, even in the sort of fourth estate narrative, it’s one of, “How dare you disagree?” And that doesn’t help. That just once more says, “Well, how arrogant could you be?”

JOURNALIST: Mr Joyce, you haven’t signalled any plans to legislate this plan. Wouldn’t you want to legislate so that you can ensure the regions are protected even if you don’t win the next election. Because Labor could come in and change it if they wanted to.

BARNABY JOYCE: This is another thing. The Labor Party has to say what they’re going to do for regions. The only way the Labor Party could have any chance of success at the next election is to win regional seats. And what we have now conveyed to regional people is they’ve said they’re going to get there, they’ve said they’re going to legislate it, but they haven’t told any of the people about what happens to their jobs. What happens to their costs?

JOURNALIST: You can control that if you legislate.

BARNABY JOYCE: Let’s finish it. The Labor Party have clearly got to tell regional people about what their plan is and how it works out and what it costs for them, otherwise I really don’t give them much chance in the next election because regional people will say, “Well, the Grayndler plan doesn’t work for Gladstone. The Grayndler plan doesn’t work for the Hunter Valley or Townsville. And you just take – the Labor Party, you just take our vote for granted. You’ve never had meetings trying to deal with this. You just took our position for granted and expect us to sort of mute like to go out and vote for you.” Well, the people in regional areas won’t and, therefore, the Labor Party have no chance. They’re almost signing the epitaph for the next election which they’ll lose because they’ll go so well in the inner suburbs – they will go brilliantly – and they’ll lose regional seats. I’ve been around long enough to see that’s what’s going to happen. Now, to the substance of your question, which was about would we legislate. Let’s get to the end of this process. Let’s not jump ahead and start second-guessing what might be the case. Let’s get to the end of the process. I’m trying my very best to be respectful in that process and to not start litigating it in front of the camera.

JOURNALIST: But you’re not ruling it out?

BARNABY JOYCE: As I said, that’s also partial ligation because you start going into the cut and dice of ruling out and ruling in and I’ve been around for a little while.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible] this morning, do you essentially believe this is a fait accompli? That one way or another Morrison’s going to Glasgow whether you agree to it or not and he’s going to say it. Is that a fair assessment of where you believe this is at?

BARNABY JOYCE: I’m not here to read the Prime Minister’s mind. My job is to represent the people that I was sent here to represent, as is all my colleagues. You know, the Member for Flynn, Ken O’Dowd, is there to represent his people, as the Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, is there to represent his people, as the Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, is there to represent her people and as is Pat Conaghan, the Member for Cowper. That’s what we are sent to do. And that –

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

BARNABY JOYCE: I am here to make sure that I give absolute respect and impartiality to the views of the Nationals room and, as such, having the incredible honour to lead them to collate those views into a pertinent policy. And what other people do with it is really up to them. But I know my job, and I’m going to stick to my job.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

BARNABY JOYCE: We are trying to be as proactive as possible and not just stymie a process. We understand the necessity of this, but we didn’t determine the timeframe. We didn’t determine the time of deliberation. We have to, with the time we have – which is rather truncated – to come to a conclusion on what is probably one of the most totemic decisions this nation will make. And no matter which way it goes, you would expect there to be a proper oversight and deliberation on behalf of the members of parliament. That is more important than the deliberations of myself.