TRUE OPINION: Coked up, boozed up, Barnaby always DELIVERS with nonsense

TRUE OPINION: Whether he is seemingly boozed up or coked up, Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce is an orator always worth watching, writes Kieran Butler.

Ordinarily, a National Press Club address from a politician is a great way to kick off an afternoon snooze. During an election campaign they give all sorts of people a go. Last week, Bridget McKenzie managed to score a gig. I think it was because she is the Minister for something. 

Listening to McKenzie’s speech reminded me of a sex worker asking for their money back because nobody came. Bridget isn’t the greatest orator at the best of times, but watching her try to read and speak at the same time explains why she specialises in colour coded spreadsheets.

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If Bridget was worried that her appearance would remain memorable for being sub par, she needs to have more faith in her feckless leader, Barnaby Joyce. Anyone who follows Australian politics closely knows that Joyce is a hard drinking, nonsense dribbling, Question Time detonating, unhinged, straight-talking lunatic.

Barnaby is always completely shit faced by lunchtime. His rambling four minute responses in the Parliament are now the stuff of legend. It is obvious to anyone watching, but those around him seem to think that if they don’t say anything, it didn’t happen. I once saw Tony Burke pipe up to protest that Barnaby was starting to take the piss out of the whole arrangement, but the Speaker told him to sit the f*ck down.


Like every drunk ever, Barnaby would have taken the Press Club booking and told himself he’d go easy that morning. He’d be up by 8AM to spend an hour rehearsing with his missus over the phone. Barnaby’s missus writes a column for the newspaper, so she would have a few suggestions to make it flow better – as long as she could get the kid down for a morning nap. He would sharpen up his delivery and arrive by midday, ready to show all those smart arse journalists he is the best Deputy Prime Minister the National Party ever had.

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None of this happened. Barnaby was up late drinking and woke up needing a drink to ease himself into the day. After resetting his password again so he could get into his email account, he printed out the speech by 11PM and gave it a quick scan. It was basically the same old shit. All he needed was a couple of bumps of cocaine and he’d be good to go.

Pretty soon, Barnaby was smashing it. Every word rolled off the page, into his brain, and out of his mouth. This was starting to sound like the speech that could turn this whole election around. He wasn’t looking at the audience much, but reading words at the same time you are speaking is not something just anyone can do. Ask Bridget McKenzie. Besides, this is complicated stuff. Barnaby quickly upped his word per minute rate. He looked up at the bottles of red on the tables. Not long to go now. 


The end came a lot faster than it did the first time he read it. That’s always a good sign. Now for the questions. Dead easy. Barnaby smashes these out all the time when he’s wasted. Just slag off the ALP. Then, in what would appear to be slow motion, there is blood running out of his nose. If cocaine is nature’s way of telling you that you have too much money, a blood nose is a good sign you need to ease up a bit. We’ve all been there Barnaby.

Everyone in the National Press Club and every casual drug user watching it on TV knew why Barnaby’s nose was bleeding. The proof was in just how fast he read through the speech, how he adopted a maudlin and languid tone just an hour later – and repeated stuff he had said just five minutes ago. He needed Jane Norman to remind him that the last question was about wages after he launched into an earnest and solipsistic lament about Germany preparing for World War.

Not one journalist in the room was prepared to acknowledge the elephantine hoover at the podium. They call Barnaby a great retail politician, but when it comes to cocaine, Barnaby buys wholesale. I’ll rack up a line to that.

About Kieran Butler 33 Articles
Kieran Butler is a comedian, musician and satirist. He is best known in Australia for his pop-parody musical "Ben Cousins: a rock opera" and has received critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe for "Che Guevara on the Fringe" (**** The Scotsman) and his sold-out "Australia is Fucked" trilogy. More info at

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