Interview – Paul Murray Live

PAUL MURRAY: Barnaby Joyce is the Deputy Prime Minister, and he joins us now from, well, whatever the mini version of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Lodge is in the New England region. What do you officially call that residence, my friend?

BARNABY JOYCE: Well, we call it Camp Danglemah. You’ve got Camp David in the United States. You’ve got Checkers, I think they call it, in the UK and here you’ve got Camp Danglemah –

PAUL MURRAY: Beautiful.

BARNABY JOYCE: – which is 100 acres on the side of the road between Woolbrook and Limbri, and it looks like 100 acres on the side of the road.

PAUL MURRAY: Good man. That’s what we love.

BARNABY JOYCE: It’s where the modest live.

PAUL MURRAY: Correct. Now, let’s talk about what you’ve had to say in the past a couple of days, and geez it was good, to suggest that we can’t be operating like some parochial little kingdom, and that’s obviously the states carrying on like they do.

BARNABY JOYCE: That is right.

PAUL MURRAY: What did you think when you saw the footage, like everyone else did, of the Great Wall of Coolangatta where people who both didn’t have the virus had to spend Father’s Day shaking hands across a barrier?

BARNABY JOYCE: It’s crap. I mean, this is crap, Paul. This is happening in Australia. Look, I know that there are people in Queensland. I get it. I. I’ve lived there, I senated there. I love you to death. I started my political career there. I brought up the girls there. I get it. But for God’s sake, you can’t live like some hermit kingdom of, you know, the North Korea–Queensland. It’s just not going to work. Ultimately, in the end, this nation – this nation to survive, this nation to thrive, this nation to deal with all the things that are before it – I mean, golly gosh look to your north, realise what’s before us. We’ve got to be a strong nation and we can’t do it with this hodgepodge little parochialism of McGowan saying, “Look at me, my guns are bigger than your guns”, and Annastacia Palaszczuk talking about thousands of people dying. I mean, please, God, don’t do that. Look at the bigger game. Play the bigger game and say, “Okay, let’s manage this as a nation. Let’s play as a team.”

For God’s sake, my politics from Dan Andrews is a million miles away from it, but I have to say, he’s playing more of a team game than the other guys are. We’ve got to realise it’s not about National and Labor and Liberal and Greens and One Nation. It is about Australia trying to play as a team so we can get to the goddamn end of this disaster which is called COVID and come out the other side and be as strong as we possibly can. So, you know, get vaccinated, get with the program, open this country up, because I don’t want a permit. The top of my electorate stops at the same closeness to the equator as Warwick in Queensland. I don’t want a permit to go from the top of my electorate across the border to do the shopping in Stanthorpe.

PAUL MURRAY: Because the great fear I have about what has been broken in the past two years is that sense of nationhood. To hear you talk about one big team, so important. Because here’s the thing, when the Western Australian budget comes out and McGowan says, “How great am I? Our economy is amazing”, the number one source of revenue to his budget, will be Commonwealth grants. So, that’s every other state. Exactly the same in Queensland, New South Wales. Everywhere else. So, no state can exist without the others, let alone the interpersonal stuff. So, how do we rebuild as a country when we get the chance to actually hang out with each other?

BARNABY JOYCE: You say the bleeding obvious. God willing and I pray it never happens and I don’t want it to happen, I really don’t, but if something bad was to happen to this nation, what, are you going to defend yourself as Western Australia? Where’s your Navy, where’s your Air Force? I mean, how’s that going to work? It doesn’t work. You know, sometimes you’ve got to suck up a bit of the Brussels sprouts to make sure you get a chance at the steak. Just do the logical thing. Do the nation-building thing and do the thing that actually doesn’t make you the most popular man at the pub but makes you – to be honest, history will treat you as a right person in the pub because he did the thing that was tough. He made the hard decision and if you want to be Popular Percy, that’s fine. Knock yourself out. You can do that. I can do that. We can all say that. You can give the line. I’ll give you the Popular Percy line. We can all play that trick. I’ve been in politics longer than most of them, but, mate, that does not make you a leader. That makes you a populist. And sometimes you have to a make the hard call and you have to say what people don’t want to hear. You tell me the subject and I’ll tell you what people want to hear and what they like to hear. I’ll tell you right now – if you want to do the right, if you want to be a leader, then play for your nation because, goddamn it, that’s the only thing that’s going to go in to bat for you if it really goes to turps.

PAUL MURRAY: Now, I’ve got to ask you because the Greens want to have this mega profit tax, right? So that’s their magic pudding to pay for everything. But remember, the Greens are telling us up front that should Labor end up in the minority position, they want to power share and you remember from your time in the Senate, they can’t get anything passed without the Greens.

BARNABY JOYCE: Good luck with that.

PAUL MURRAY: So, give us an idea about what the Green’s tail is wagging a Labor Government dog.

BARNABY JOYCE: Well, let’s say a look at power sharing. Power sharing will shut down the live cattle trade. It will shut down the northern part of the state. Shut down the coal and gas exports, the nation’s biggest exports. So, once you decide to get rid of these, work out what old age homes you want to get rid of, work out what schools you want to get rid of, what pensions you don’t want, the NDIS for which people have got incapacity, disability, say what one of those you don’t want, because they’ve got rid of the main income source. After you start that, get ready for schools where they don’t – we won’t have any Catholic schools or independent schools. They’re all gone. We’ll have state schools run by a state edict. No competition. They can say what they like. If you go down this path, get ready for liberalisation on a whole range of other things, especially drugs. Especially drugs, let’s be honest. Get ready for them to run out of money and try to work out how they’re going to get their money because it was the Greens who believed in death taxes. That’s means when you die, a lot of your money goes to the state, not to your kids. Now, they just moved away from it at the last election, but don’t think for one second they don’t believe in it.

PAUL MURRAY: No, a leopard doesn’t change its spots. Barnaby, nice to talk to you, enjoy the camp and all the best to the family.

BARNABY JOYCE: Camp Danglemah.

PAUL MURRAY: See you, mate.