Barnaby Joyce says the footpath while on the phone was due to prescription drugs mixed with alcohol. Photo: Matt Ollman/Getty.
Nationals MP and former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says he had mixed prescription drugs with alcohol when he was filmed lying on a Canberra footpath while swearing on a phone call last week. The bizarre footage, first obtained by the Daily Mail, showed the 56-year-old alone at nighttime, on his back on a footpath with his feet rested on a planter box, speaking garbled words and swearing on the phone to his wife.
A passerby spotted Joyce and filmed him reportedly saying “dead f***ing c**t” among other indecipherable language. Joyce responded to the news site on Friday and said the incident happened after a parliamentary event and was “very embarrassing”. “I was walking back to my accommodation after Parliament rose at 10pm,” he said.“While on the phone I sat on the edge of a plant box, fell over, kept talking on the phone, and very animatedly was referring to myself for having fallen over.“I got up and walked home.”But in an interview with Seven News on Monday morning he clarified that he had mixed alcohol with prescription medication. “Obviously, I made a big mistake, there’s no excuse for it … it was a very eventful walk home, wasn’t it?” he told Seven’s Sunrise.“I should’ve followed … I’m on a prescription drug, and they say certain things may happen to you if you drink, and they were absolutely 100 per cent right. They did.”Joyce also thanked 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.The leader of the Nationals David Littleproud said on Monday Joyce wouldn’t be demoted but that the two would have a “conversation” about Joyce’s circumstances that he would be offered support.
“I’ll have another conversation … but there’s personal circumstances I’m not going to go into that he shared with me and I need to respect that,” Littleproud told reporters. “I’m very careful about treating the circumstances rather than prosecuting in the media.”“We’re not going to sit there and publicly talk about individuals or prosecute individuals. This is a personal situation that Barnaby’s deeply embarrassed about and I as leader want to create the environment where I lead.”Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was asked about his views on the incident at a press conference on Sunday and he said the country was owed an explanation from the Coalition.“I think people will certainly make their own judgments on that. People will see that footage, they will look for an explanation that … has some credibility, and they’ll look for leadership from the leader of the Liberal party and the leader of the National party about this,” Albanese said.“I think people will also think to themselves, what would the response be if that was a minister in my government being seen to be behaving in that way?“I think that there just needs to be an explanation of what occurred.”Greens leader Adam Bandt also called out double standards in politics and said a woman in the same situation would be treated very differently by the Coalition and by the media.“I think if a woman politician had found themselves in a similar situation I feel like there’d be widespread condemnation, indeed we’ve seen that previously,” Bandt told ABC on Monday.“I think the fact that a lot of people are going to shrug this off, I think is a bit of a wake-up call to whether or not we’re applying the same standards right across the parliament.”Aleksandra Bliszczyk is the Deputy Editor of VICE Australia. Follow her on Instagram.Get the story that matters most each day. Subscribe to Australia Today’s daily newsletter here.