• Kristin Perissinotto

Barnaby Joyce needs to shut the fuck up, but Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd should keep talking

What's a Monday in Australia without someone in the Cabinet saying something absolutely fucking ridiculous? Today, it was none other than Barnaby Joyce calling former Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull 'dipsticks,' saying they should 'rise above politics.' Rise. Above. Politics. Our politicians are almost the highest you can see when it comes to powerful people in this country. They make the fucking law for god's sake. Where is there to rise?

Most of the commentary published today points out the hypocrisy of Barnaby saying they should have some grace and rise above when there's no evidence he's ever followed that advice himself. And that's true - we didn't see him bowing out politely when he was removed from Cabinet, and now he's bloody well back. But what's more interesting to me is the claim that these two (now private citizens) should keep their noses out of politics.

Barnaby's point (which can be hard to find at times) is that the former PMs should be minding their own business and not talking ill of the current government. But they're now private citizens just like the rest of us. Which means it's their government too. They are voting citizens who have every right, as do we all, to critique the government.

The Deputy PM went on to say that “you can’t just go around brandishing those sorts of allegations," when Turnbull claimed Scott Morrison had a reputation for telling lies. Well guess what, you actually fucking can Barnaby. Especially when you're someone who would have some insight into the PM's relationship with the truth. In fact, Malcolm Turnbull is one of the people I am most interested in hearing from when it comes to Scott Morrison.

Even though we have some of the tightest and strictest defamation laws in the world, we do still retain the right to critique our politicians. The politicians who only have a fucking job because (say it with me) we elect them and pay their salaries. They work for us. We are their bosses. They are in highest office because we put them there. Have I got my point across yet? It's a painful thought, but politics does in fact reflect society. I know, it's awful.

Turnbull has a target on his back because he left the Liberal Party and is now critical of it. Kevin Rudd was a Labor leader who has held on to his profile and political influence and would be stupid not to use it. The Liberal National Coalition has so much protection from the conservative (Murdoch) press that it doesn't often have powerful voices critiquing it. The unlikely duo of two former PMs from different sides of politics creates a loud voice with a significant platform, legitimacy in the media, and a trusted opinion. And Barnaby Joyce can't handle that.