Barnaby Joyce’s time on the back bench could be short lived. Picture: John Grainger Bye Bye Barnaby! Joyce resigns as DPM
Barnaby Joyce’s time on the back bench could be short lived. Picture: John Grainger Bye Bye Barnaby! Joyce resigns as DPM

ANALYSIS: Barnaby could be back in 12 months

HERE'S a tip: The National Party will want Barnaby Joyce back in some leadership capacity in roughly 12 months.

The "current cacophony of issues", as he put it, means he has to retreat from the deputy prime ministership.

But unless one of those issues, or a sneaky one yet to come, crushes his ambitions completely, Barnaby will be back before the next election.

Whoever replaces him might even be a temporary occupant.

One reason being the unmatched strength Mr Joyce brings to the Nationals as they fight Labor, Liberals, Greens, Hanson-ites - they all want to steal the party's territory.

Mr Joyce has fended off many incursions and even took a Liberal seat last election. He's that good.

Barnaby Joyce isn’t expected to spend too much time on the backbench. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian
Barnaby Joyce isn’t expected to spend too much time on the backbench. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian

In his resignation announcement he frequently referred to the "weatherboard and iron" people, the battler constituency he cultivates while also being cosy with billionaire Gina Rinehart.

And he stands up to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull like no other National MP can. They are far from being besties and Mr Turnbull will be pleased by his departure.

It was 10pm in Washington DC when Mr Joyce announced his resignation from the front bench and the party leadership, and he still had not directly spoken to the Prime Minister on his decision.

He had told Acting Prime Minister Mathias Cormann but not the actual PM, the man he described as "inept".

A further reason for a possible bring-back-Barnaby movement is a wide and deeply felt belief he had been treated badly in several ways.

The first is the original revelation of his marriage breakdown and his new relationship with a former staffer, now pregnant.

Barnaby Joyce’s affair with Vikki Campion ultimately led to his resignation from the DPM position, and a parliament-wide ‘bonk ban’.
Barnaby Joyce’s affair with Vikki Campion ultimately led to his resignation from the DPM position, and a parliament-wide ‘bonk ban’.

It remains the centre of a sustained debate over public interest vs. public voyeurism.

There have been several attempts to attach genuine public interest matters to the revelation, such as questions raised by the movement of Mr Joyce's partner around National Party ministerial office jobs, whether taxpayers funded the affair of the minister and the adviser, and the ethics of a business mate giving free accommodation to the pair.

None have stuck. Not so far. The purely public interest case against him has not been sustained.

That might change should the claims of sexual harassment by a West Australian woman be found true.

But short of that, the objections to Barnaby Joyce sticking around have been based on moral misgivings coming from people who were appalled by his behaviour, such as the Prime Minister.

An uncomfortable monument to Mr Joyce's sex life is the remarkable and often mocked "bonk ban" on minister's and staff.



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