Interview with Monique Wright, Seven, Sunrise

MONIQUE WRIGHT: For their take, we’re joined now by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who is in hotel quarantine in the United States. He was sick of his jammies, so he got suited up for us and Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon, good morning to you both. Barnaby, you tested positive to COVID last week. You’re looking pretty good. How are you feeling today?

BARNABY JOYCE: I’m feeling good, I’m feeling great. I wish I could get out but they tell me that I haven’t got Delta and I haven’t got the original version of COVID. They haven’t determined what I’ve got, probably Omicron. In America, they don’t really care so much what strain you’ve got, it’s whether you’ve got it or not, but England wants to know what strain I’ve got because of the people I was speaking to over there. What they can tell me is I have a high virus load, which is very comforting. But if you ask how I feel, I feel fine.

MONIQUE WRIGHT: Yeah, you did feel a bit sick last week, which is why you got the test. So how many days do you think you’ve been feeling well?

BARNABY JOYCE: Last few days. When they test you, they say, ‘No, you still got it’. If there’s something Australians can take out of it, a lot of the people walking around who have COVID will feel and look like me – hopefully not look like me, that would be scary – but feel like me. They will be healthy and you’ll be walking past them and they’ll look fine and you’ll feel fine and if you haven’t had your two vaxxes and now your booster shot, you might get sick. I was double vaxxed and I got it. That’s a pretty good call. I think in the end, Monique, it’s going to be endemic. It will get out. People are going to get it and so the better protection you’ve got, the safer you are. I suppose the benefit I’ve got is that the marrow in my bones is producing the capacity, the antibodies to deal with it. There you go.

MONIQUE WRIGHT: That is happy days. Look, if ever we needed a reminder to get that third dose, which is now being recommended, it’s now and seeing you and perhaps you’re as well as you are because you’ve had two doses so far. However, you said, ‘Fully vaxxed there’. Joel, there is some suggestions now that to be counted as fully vaxxed, you are going to need that third dose. What do you think of that?

JOEL FITZGIBBON: First of all Monique, I can’t see Barnaby but I’m sure he’s looking good, but I wish him the best. I hope the New South Wales Premier lets him back into the state in the not too distant future to be with his family. Yes, of course, the third jab will be very important. I’m glad the experts have brought forward the gap between or narrowed the gap between the second dose and the booster. But in my case, and it’s not a criticism, I’ll wait until February before I’m able to get that booster. We should be encouraging everyone who can do so, to do so as quickly as they can to make room for those of us who come out of the queue in the not too distant future.

MONIQUE WRIGHT: Okay, Joel. Sorry, Barnaby. Do you think that we need to change the definition of fully vaxxed? I mean, Israel has done that. So, you have had to have the three doses.

BARNABY JOYCE: I think what you’d be looking at, Monique, is what gives you the greatest efficacy of not catching COVID. And not so much catching it but catching it and then delivering it on by the people who are vulnerable, have comorbidities. If it becomes the issue that greater efficacy has been double jabbed and a booster, then I suppose that’s what the medical authorities will say. What I want – what I want is irrelevant, I’m stuck here in Washington – but what I’d like is that people take it upon themselves, the Government’s involvement is as little as possible, people’s personal responsibilities are as high as possible, and we go on living normally. We can’t just keep ourselves locked up here.

MONIQUE WRIGHT: Even if you can do that in a suit. However, Barnaby, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on the Government, they mucked up the beginning of the roll out, some people say that’s ancient history. That’s fine, but now there are a lot of doses that now need to be given. Everyone needs this third dose. Plus, we’re going to have kids between the age of 5 and 11. I mean, how confident are you that your Government is not going to stuff this up?

BARNABY JOYCE: The calls I made just before this show told me that we have Moderna rolling out. They’re looking, I think, 10 million doses that they have access to this yea, so that would suggest to me that we have an abundance of doses available, if the information I receive is correct, noting that I’m in Washington, and that would say that we’re across our brief as you would expect. This process is going to continue on, Monique. Everybody thinks that we’ll get to a point and then the day will close and you won’t have to worry about COVID anymore. You’re going to live with it and life is going to have to move on with it. In the end, people will be just walking around the streets and if you have it or you don’t have it will be up to you. What will matter is if you haven’t got the proper vaccination, you’re going to be a lot more vulnerable than you think. It’s personal responsibility. It’s like your trousers and your shoes, get yourself vaccinated. You do it and keep government away from you as much as possible.

MONIQUE WRIGHT: Yes, but we need that rollout to happen very smoothly. Barnaby, am I seeing the microwave door open? Have you propped your phone up inside the microwave?

[LAUGHTER]

Awesome, Barnaby Joyce in microwave oven, that’s what he thinks of us.

BARNABY JOYCE: That’s right, that’s where I’m going after you leave, straight into the microwave.

JOEL FITZGIBBON: Nothing ever surprises me, Monique, nothing ever surprises me about Barnaby Joyce.

BARNABY JOYCE: You can either talk to me in Danglemah or talk to me in the microwave. Now I’ve had enough of you people at Channel 7, so goodbye.

MONIQUE WRIGHT: Bye Barnaby, hope you get home for Christmas, all best thanks Barnaby, thanks Joel. All the best.

JOEL FITZGIBBON: Merry Christmas.

MONIQUE WRIGHT: Thank you, Barnaby. Thank you, Joel.