Listen up

“This was not the speech of an independent conservative thinker, like, say, Family First’s Steve Fielding. It was the speech of a party hack from a hick party.”

Sydney Morning Herald’s Mike Seccombe, on Barnaby Joyce’s maiden Parliamentary speech

The speech itself – and how to respond to a man who claims the corrupt Sir Joh Bjelke-Peterson as an inspiration? – will resonate little around city Australia. It was parochial, conservative and fearful of progress. But to simply dismiss the speech is a mistake, I believe. Seccombe’s superior attitude is dangerous because it opens the city “elites” to ignoring voices from the bush or rural Australia. Joyce and I are worlds apart but he represents a proportion of Australia that shouldn’t be so easily dismissed.

Remember what happened to Pauline Hanson, who last weekend praised Joyce and hoped he would finish the work she’d started. “It is good to see a man in Parliament who has got some intestinal fortitude and say I’m here to represent all Australians. I congratulate him,” Hanson said.

Seccombe’s contempt for Joyce and his views should be reserved for those in Canberra with real power, not a Queensland National MP. But then, that would actually involve taking a professional risk.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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