Barnaby Joyce’s gobsmacking hypocrisy
Sometime in 2016 one of Australia's most visible politicians, former National Party leader Barnaby Joyce began having sex with one of his staffers, a woman called Vikki Campion.
Campion was about 20 years Joyce's junior. Joyce was married at the time, and the father of four daughters. Soon it was revealed that Campion was pregnant with Joyce's child.
Joyce admitted he had separated from his wife of 21 years and explained he would be having the child, a boy, out of wedlock with Campion. They later went on to have a second child, again without the sanctity of marriage.
Just typing the above makes me feel faintly queasy.
None of it should be anyone's business, a point Joyce made again and again as the details of his affair became public.
At the time I agreed with him. The circus around his personal life disgusted me. The salaciousness, the grubbiness, the judgement. None of it had any place in Australian discourse.
A person's reproductive choices shouldn't be anyone's concern but their own.
That was my belief before last night.
Because last night Barnaby Joyce, with breathtaking hypocrisy, began robocalling the women of NSW to lecture them about their reproductive choices, linked to the bill before state parliament that could see the medical procedure decriminalised.
An unknown number of households in NSW received a recorded message voiced by the New England MP. "Barnaby Joyce here," the message reportedly said. "I'm calling on behalf of the Foundation for Human Development about the abortion bill in the NSW parliament. This allows sex selective abortions. It legalises abortions for any reason right up until the day of birth."
Game on, Barnaby. Game on.
The message here is one thing. There is no evidence the Australian public, which overwhelmingly opposes abortion for gender reasons, is harbouring secret plans to start rebalancing the country's gender makeup via pregnancy termination. And if they did there'd be no way to screen for that intention anyway.
Nor will the country's hospitals suddenly fill with wicked women murdering their foetuses moments before birth.
Nor is aborting a non-viable foetus, a foetus that will die during birth or not long afterwards, the "death penalty of the innocent" as you melodramatically insisted in an opinion piece yesterday. All of this is god-bothering semantics designed to derail the bill.
But let's set aside the message. Let's look at the messenger.
The women of Australia will not put up with having stones thrown at them from your glass house, Barnaby Joyce.
A woman's body is not anyone else's business. You should know this.
A person's choice to expand or limit the size of their family is not anyone else's business. You should know this.
Adult men and women make decisions, choices and mistakes and they have the right to deal with those personal events in their own way. You should know this.
A person has no right to impose their moral code on another. You should know this.
And birth control doesn't always work. You should know this.
Australian women will not be harangued about the reproductive choices that are right for their individual circumstances by someone who begged for the privacy and freedom to make the reproductive choices that were right for them.
Barnaby Joyce is a joke. He's Australia's Sarah Palin, lecturing voters about abstinence while her teenage daughter gets knocked up by her high school boyfriend.
And like Palin, his legacy will be nothing more than a punchline.
In February 2018, Joyce and Campion accepted $150,000 for a tell-all interview with Channel 7 that they hoped would stop people nosing into their private lives.
Barnaby, on behalf of the women of NSW here's a message we're happy to share with you for free: get your nose the hell out of ours.
Alex Carlton is a freelance writer. Continue the conversation @Alex_Carlton