Barnaby lobs book-grenade at Canberra
DISGRACED former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has unleashed a fresh headache for Malcolm Turnbull by dropping a new tell-all book just as the Coalition is still reeling from a crushing defeat in the Queensland by-election.
From detailed revelations about his affair with Vikki Campion to dishing dirt on his colleagues, Weatherboard and Iron is more than the book about policy for regional Australia that Joyce is spruiking. Here are seven revelations from the book, which landed in stores today:
'BONK BAN' IS 'RIDICULOUS'
Barnaby Joyce describes personal details of his relationship with former staffer Vikki Campion in Weatherboard and Iron, including where they had their first kiss, how they bonded over books and bushwalks and eventually began an affair.
The former Deputy Prime Minister also unleashes on Malcolm Turnbull and the "bonk ban" he announced to ban cabinet members from having sex with their staffers as the scandal around the affair heated up in February.
"Malcolm Turnbull's bonk ban is ridiculous," Joyce writes. "If you want to keep a family together, let the person you are supposed to bonk - dare I say it - work in Canberra …
"We allow the Prime Minister to bring his wife to the Lodge in Canberra, which is no doubt on the public purse. I presume she would be deeply involved in public policy discussions and partaking in a healthy relationship so we have obvious precedent."
After pages of details on their relationship, Joyce states his relationship with Ms Campion is no one's business but their own.
"It's not Malcolm Turnbull's and not yours. It's no-one's business except for Vikki, me and our son, by obvious deduction."
THE PISTOL AND BOO SAGA
Joyce reveals in his book the reason Hollywood heavyweight Johnny Depp agreed to that excruciatingly awkward video on Australia's biosecurity laws after the "Pistol and Boo" incident.
The Deputy Prime Minister's fight with the actor over his two tiny dogs catapulted Joyce to international fame briefly in 2015.
In his book, Joyce reveals that it was Julie Bishop who used her "close ties with Australian Hollywood actors" to initiate a conversation with Depp about how he could solve the incident and avoid a heavy penalty.
He then reveals Joyce suggested to the actor that he could lose his US passport if he was convicted in Australia - and that got the star's attention.
"I said you can be convicted in absentia, and a bilateral agreement between the United States and Australia meant that a loss of passport in Australia would mean he would lose his passport in the United States," Joyce writes.
"I had Mr Depp's attention."
Eventually, at Ms Bishop's recommendation, they arrived at the solution which involved Depp and then partner Amber Heard doing a video about Australia's biosecurity laws.
"He sat next to Amber Heard and looked like a hostage in a basement in the Middle East. I had prevailed!" Joyce writes.
Joyce unleashes on political "frenemies" at several points in the book - but one stand out is when he describes almost punching former Treasurer now Australia's Ambassador to the US Joe Hockey during a rugby match.
He claims Hockey "had a real anger" for him and believed he was a "nobody from nowhere".
And in a rugby match before Parliament one day, the pair almost came to blows.
"I distinctly remember a kick going up that I went to catch, and just before I caught the ball I was knocked head over heels from behind by someone I couldn't see, someone on my own side," Joyce writes.
"It was apparently the avuncular Joe Hockey, justifying the shittiest thing you can do in football by saying 'that was my ball'. I had an intense sense of wanting to knock his head off, but knew that would be the end of my political career. A very wise Peter Dutton, who was also playing, looked at me and said 'Don't do it'.
"It was such an apt metaphor for politics, that mercenary duplicity, the loathing that rests below the skin like worms inside a shiny apple."
Later, in 2009 after Tony Abbott rolled Malcolm Turnbull for the Liberal leadership, Joyce became Shadow Finance Minister to Hockey's Shadow Treasurer.
In a chapter on the citizenship saga, Joyce details the day he had an ugly verbal exchange with an elderly man while waiting outside the High Court.
After walking up to the court with his school mate and lawyer, Mark Grady, carrying suitcases full of documents to drop off - what he says would have been "the political photo of the decade" if any photographers had been around to snap it - Joyce said the door was locked.
An elderly man was also waiting outside. "He stared at us and we tried to ignore him. In the end he said, 'Are you Barnaby?' I felt like a kind of confused St Peter in the high priest's courtyard. I did not answer, keeping a close eye out for biblical crowing cocks, so he assumed the worst and followed with the sequiter, 'How do you think you will go? I don't think you stand a chance.'
"I looked at him and thought 'You presumptuous, self-important old git, how the f*** would I know?' What came out of my mouth, however, was 'I think you should go get f***ed.' St Peter would have been proud of me."
He later says the "innocent old man" gave him the "most appropriate legal advice I had received to that point, and for free".
Joyce declares earlier in the chapter that he alone believed he wouldn't win the High Court battle over his New Zealand citizenship, while Prime Minister Turnbull, his legal representatives and barrister Brett Walker thought he would.
He also states that Mr Turnbull asked his wife Lucy for help in "finding a plausible argument as to why we (the citizenship MPs) had a reasonable reason to stay".
Joyce writes that in the days after his affair with Ms Campion became public more than one colleague offered support to his face but stabbed him in the back.
And one of these was from someone he thought was a "close friend".
"In his SMS to me he told me how much he admired me, that I should stick to my guns and things would blow over so don't resign … Barely a minute later he sent a text to another, obviously better friend of his, saying he had told me I was stuffed, I had to go and it was my own fault entirely … Problem was he also sent that one to me as well. I texted him back and said, 'who was that for?'"
'SOULLESS ANIMALS' AND POLITICAL STAFFERS
Joyce doesn't hold back in his memoir when dishing on the media and politicians who leak to reporters.
An MP who leaks against other politicians is described as "the uber ego, clandestine, nefarious, character assassin" while the journalists they dine with in Canberra are "soulless animals" who will "eviscerate any reputation".
"For them, corroboration is an Aboriginal word meaning 'unnecessary if you want a journalism award," he writes.
He also takes aim at Gucci or Armani wearing political staffers "hailing from the better high schools, the better private schools".
"They walk dress and talk like a corflute, they aspire to be on the front cover of GQ magazine, and they have haircuts and shoes that would make them a laughing stock at the Pep Mill Pub in Shepparton on a Friday night. They are soft. They are soft, but they are smart and rat cunning."
NATIONALS V LIBERALS
"The Liberal Party dislikes the National Party," Joyce writes in a blunt assessment of the Coalition partnership. "They tolerate them deep down because it's one of the unifying forces against the Labor Party.
"It's all that stops the ex-staffers in pointy shoes and the hipster beards from tearing each other to pieces and stealing each other's hair gel. The National Party keeps them together by at times corralling their mutual contempt for us, and what is the National Party personified as? Hayseeds and rednecks. In many instances more tolerated than admired."