Barnaby Joyce in parliament on Tuesday.
Coalition veterans spokesman Barnaby Joyce has been asked by his party leader to take leave. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

Joyce told to take leave after he ’embarrassed himself’

February 14, 2024

Barnaby Joyce has been urged to take leave after the former deputy prime minister “embarrassed himself” when he was filmed lying on a Canberra pavement.

Video published online by The Daily Mail showed the shadow cabinet MP lying on the ground speaking loudly into his phone in the inner suburb of Braddon after falling off a planter box.

Mr Joyce’s future on the opposition front bench has been under a cloud and while his position is unchanged, his Nationals leader David Littleproud confirmed on Wednesday the member for New England had been asked to take leave.

A chalk outline on the ground where Mr Joyce fell off a planter box.
 Someone drew a chalk outline on the ground where Mr Joyce fell off a planter box. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS 

“This wasn’t normal behaviour and Barnaby’s embarrassed himself and his family,” he told Seven’s Sunrise.

“He needs to make sure he addresses this and the best way, we believe, is for him to take a break to get himself sorted and then come back when he’s done that.

“I’ve strongly encouraged him to take that leave … and to give comfort and confidence to both myself and to Peter Dutton that he has addressed these issues.”

Mr Joyce, 56, who is the opposition veteran’s affairs spokesman, has admitted to making a “big mistake” and blamed his behaviour on a mixture of alcohol and prescription drugs, adding “there’s no excuse for it”.

Mr Littleproud said Mr Joyce was being supported.

“These are deeply personal circumstances that Barnaby needs to address and it’s beyond the medication,” Mr Littleproud said.

Monique Ryan (left) and Zoe Daniel sat next to Mr Joyce.
 Monique Ryan (left) and Zoe Daniel sat next to Mr Joyce during a division in the house on Tuesday. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS 

“I don’t want to overreach into people’s lives – that’s not my job – but my job is to create the environment, to know he is supported.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also took aim at the Nationals MP in parliament on Wednesday, during debate on changes to stage three tax cuts.

The prime minister hit back at criticism from Mr Joyce over changes to the tax plan and how it would affect regional Australians.

“We just heard from a fellow who was deputy prime minister of Australia not once, but twice. The sequel no one wanted,” Mr Albanese told parliament.

“He stood at the dispatch box having been part of a government for the best part of a decade … and spoke about how the electorate that he represents and the electorate the National Party represents don’t have services, don’t have infrastructure and don’t have support.”

Asking on Monday if he was angry someone filmed the incident rather than helping him, Mr Joyce said “that’s a question for them”.

“To me, the Good Samaritan was the Indian taxi driver who pulled over as I was walking home and said, ‘Do you need a lift mate?’, which I obviously did,” he said.

Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636