Barnaby Joyce, Parts I & II

Yesterday saw the establishment media finally break the story every politically attuned social media user in Australia has known for months; that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was carrying on an extra marital affair with one of his political staffers, contributing t the break up of Joyce's 24 year marriage and with said staffer now pregnant with his child. The story finally hit mainstream circulation in the most salacious way possible; a Daily Telegraph front cover featuring a paparazzi shot of Joyce's former staffer, highlighting her pregnant belly.

The affair has gone official, and those of us aware of the many long standing rumors surrounding Barnaby Joyce are now waiting for the other shoe to drop. If the affair has been confirmed, will the much darker stories surrounding Barnaby Joyce get an airing as well? 

The Telegraph story came as a surprise to no one who follows the Australian politics hashtag #auspol on Twitter. The story of Joyce, his marriage breakdown and affair has been widely known since at least last October, when Independent Australia broke the story, based on their own investigative reporting, ahead of the New England byelection made necessary because Barnaby Joyce can't even get his citizenship right let alone a marriage. News Ltd journalist Sherri Markson at the time stated that Joyce was "battling vicious innuendo"; Markson being the one to bring us the Telegraph story yesterday in an act of astonishing chutzpah. Independent Australia did the work, assessing the mood in Tamworth at the time of the byelection, reporting that a female had taken on of the Joyce campaign utes and was driving around town shouting from a loudhailer that he couldn't be trusted - we now know that this woman was one of Joyce's daughters. Vicious innuendo, indeed.

At the time, Barnaby Joyce was not only facing voters in New England but taking a role speaking against marriage equality to support the "No" campaign at the time of the same sex marriage plebiscite. Joyce defended himself last night on the 7:30 Report, stating that just because his own marriage broke down doesn't mean that marriage isn't worth defending. Joyce claimed that his marriage had broken down like 40-50% of all marriages, which is a slur on most couples who end their relationships honourably, without carrying on affairs; but Joyce acted like his marriage was over because of some sad accident, a wide eyed innocence which rings as hollow as that of the the press gallery journalists claiming they couldn't break the Joyce affair story last October because they didn't have proof.

Well, the traditional news media runs on speculation all the time - and would the outcome of the New England byelection have been different if voters weren't able to dismiss rumors about noted family man Joyce as vicious gossip? We'll never know, but the media haven't exactly covered themselves in glory here, nor of course has Joyce himself, painting himself as the victim, as though his marriage breakdown was something sad that just happened and not the result of deliberate actions made by him to start a sexual relationship with someone twenty years younger and who he was in a position of power over.

And that is just where the worrying aspect of this whole mess gets started. In the IA piece from November 2017, they listed a suite of rumors involving Joyce, including a long standing report, allegedly attested to by witnesses, that Joyce committed an act of sexual harassment at a Canberra pub in 2011, which reportedly left a young woman in some distress. True Crime News Weekly has expanded on the allegations, with multiple accounts of Joyce's behaviour stretching over many years; and it is looking a lot like Barnaby Joyce, Australia's Deputy Prime Minister, is not simply a madly in love man guy anticipating a new lease of family life with a new partner, but a serial sexual pest.

And at the time of  course the whole lot was dismissed as vicious rumors by the mainstream media and the political parties. Well, now that the affair has been rumoured true, what about the allegations of Joyce's predatory and menacing behaviour? Are they, too, needing proof of a publishable standard before mainstream reporting? Will the media at least mention this aspect of the whole sorry matter? What more is yet to come out? If the mainstream media let the public down by not airing the Joyce affair allegations last November, then they are compounding the failure by not exploring these allegations now.

We've only heard the half of it, I reckon. We'll see when and where the other shoe drops. But next time you're considering buying a newspaper - in store or through online subscription - consider giving a few bucks to Independent Australia, True Crime Weekly or other independent media instead.

Disclaimer: I've never been published by Independent Australia or True Crime Weekly and am not connected to either publication in any way.