The public’s outrage to Barnaby Joyce’s affair has been understandable, but gazing at the history of similar actions, don’t be surprised if nothing happens to him.
Barnaby Joyce and Vikki Campion have officially been outed for swapping gravy, dancing the forbidden Polka, and indulging in gland-to-gland combat, and I’ve got two questions:
- Who gives a shit?
- Will anything actually come of it?
Ms Campion must have known Joyce was taken, and there was apparently an entertaining confrontation in Tamworth with the wife, Natalie Joyce, who called Ms Campion a “homewrecker”.
Maybe Barnaby’s such an acolyte for traditional values, and an avid believer that a woman’s place is at home raising a family, that he feels personally obligated to turn every working woman in his radius into a baby factory.
Mr Joyce is certainly not the first politician to indulge in some extra-material paddling up Coochie Creek, shampooing the Wookiee, and spray-painting the cervix, and I fear that once the tabloid storm of empty outrage has subsided, we’ll all move on and he’ll still have a job.
Only a few short decades ago, the personal and political were kept very secret, and most politicians today are fighting to keep it that way. Which is one of the reasons no Labor politicians have rushed out to condemn Joyce, and the other involves the legal precedent set by the classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.
JFK was a world-renowned pants man, which only came out after his passing, and for years it was an open secret with no political or tabloid ramifications that most French Presidents had a mistress and two families, meaning the job must be easy to have time for all that.
Even in this age of few secrets and masturbatory levels of outrage, however, Barnaby and his barnacle will have no political price to pay. Same as Trump and his string cheese and Bill Clinton and his Bill, because their actions are not enough to get anyone to change how they vote.
Would you trust any of these men alone with a woman you know? I wouldn’t, but is that enough? We vote based on our beliefs and what the candidates represent, not where they choose to hide the salami.
Barnaby’s indiscretion is a compelling testing of this norm, since he was such an upstanding and erect member of the Family First brigade, but it’s the same with priests. No matter what they are accused of, is it ever enough for anyone to swap religions?
Maybe you stop going to church, but in Australia, you must vote, so hiding at home isn’t an option. In America it is, and enough Roy Moore supporters stayed away, and sufficient detractors showed up that his rival was elected, a left-wing candidate in a deeply red state.
Rampant moral failings are probably a side-effect of the self-belief, arrogance and selfishness it takes most to make a career out of letting the ego take over and becoming a politician. That we as voters can do nothing about it, apart from going against our core beliefs, is one of the many flaws of a political system dominated by two parties.
We the people would rather vote for an adulterer, convicted criminal or a serial liar who shares our values, over a saint who believes the opposite. Until that changes, the media can attempt to hold politicians to whatever standard they like, and the politicians will continue to ignore us all.
One positive is that it proves that we the people able to put our beliefs above the personal failings of our leaders.
I just wish we didn’t have to.
Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.
His second comedy memoir ‘Going Out of My Mined’ is available now.