Well what can I say about the first parliamentary week as shadow finance minister?

Bearded lady? Swanny's deficit is scarier…

Tony wanted a speech and I delivered it at the Press Club. It would not have mattered if the speech had categorically disproved the theory of relativity, the issue would be the slip and when the question came where I had to, on my feet and in my head, quickly add up Labor party expenditure via MYEFO for the next four years, I said billion when I should have said trillion.

In that split second my head said trillion my heart said you have got to be joking that is enormous. My head was right but the result is for all to see on YouTube.

Now I sit back on the weekend and see it reported that I am a “bearded lady”, a “freak show”, “dead set dud”, a ticking bomb and part of some new Bjelke-Petersen plot.

Not a bad result after one week. Slightly premature in the judgement made, but that is politics and I will take it on the chin.

Why the attention? Well, because debt is out of control and if you want to see where it all ends up then cast your eye to Greece, Portugal, Spain, Iceland and the stresses that are on the US and England.

If we do not get the show under control and stop the trajectory of debt we are on then the money that we presume will be there for items of public expenditure such as health, defence, education, public broadcasters and roads will not be there. All the protestation in car parks will not balance the books. We can not keep going overseas and borrowing money to balance up our stuff-up.

To balance the books we have to either increase taxes, decrease costs or increase productivity. The Labor government will only discuss productivity because they are scared or evasive about the first two because it requires hard decisions. The results are there for all to see, their gross federal debt is beyond 120 billion and racing up, deficits march off into the future, and if the worse happened and the sovereign debt risk overseas brought a double dip recession, where would the money come from this time?

Where the Labor government could make savings in such as the $21 billion remainder of the unspent stimulus, they refuse to. Where any saving is suggested it is ridiculed. Their solution seems to be that divine providence will spare us at some magical point years away. No country ever had a big financial problem that did not start with a manageable one but Labor lacks the conviction to manage it.

In closing I would like to point to just one example of what happens when governments start running out of money because they have been profligate. In NSW the Dalwood Assessment Centre, Seaforth, and Palm Avenue School helped kids from the country with learning difficulties but this is being closed and sold off, basically a land grab for a government that is going bust. Years of providence and goodness is being closed because of the government’s bad financial management.

Most commented


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    • Blaise says:

      04:14pm | 06/02/10

      Great article Barnaby! You really show up the Rudd Government for being the reckless spenders that they are. I, for one, think you are doing a good job as shadow finance minister. Keep up the great work!

    • Adam says:

      08:59am | 08/02/10

      I would take it one step further. I don’t agree with al Barnabys Policies, Ideas and remarks but here are 2 qualities I have found unique to Barnaby

      1. He represents his constituents. He is a member of the nationals and whilst thier policies don’t regularly agree with me at least he represents the people who voted him in.

      2. He is honest. No-one would say so many lies that would get them into so much trouble.

      Disagree with what he says by all means but the man himself is the kind of politican I like.

    • James M says:

      09:55am | 08/02/10

      Adam, you couldn’t be more correct.

      At least with BJ you can disagree with a clear conscious.
      If only parties had someone who wasnt afraid of the whip.

    • anthony says:

      04:18pm | 06/02/10

      An excellent parody piece, kudos to the staff writer responsible!

    • iansand says:

      05:51pm | 06/02/10

      Self-delusion.  I think he really believes his crap.

    • Sue Manton says:

      09:42am | 07/02/10

      This has Barnaby stamped all over it. No staff writers for Barnaby - He takes full control of everything he writes. And yes all Kudos to him Anthony.

    • Russ says:

      04:33pm | 06/02/10

      Barnaby, you really are a goose.  Compare the debt-to-GDP ratio of Australia with the countries you quoted.  The old scare tactic of “Labor can’t manage the economy”  is not going to play nearly as well for you in this election, especially if you remain Finance shadow.  Go back to what you’re good at - loony conspiracy theories.

    • Lorny says:

      04:48pm | 06/02/10

      If Rudd loses the election…...well he had it coming. If he wins he will continue to do a crap job and waste more money. Either way it isn’t a positive result for the poor pm.

    • Don Clark says:

      04:57pm | 06/02/10

      Self-serving clap-trap, Senator. Here’s another rather more sharply focussed view of your performance:  http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/abbott-can-fight-but-he-needs-a-solid-corner-man-20100205-nik9.html

      Even in purely Australian terms, let alone compared with overseas, the size of the deficit and of Federal debt is quite modest and, considerably less than first expected. That expenditure has so far kept us from near disaster, and the state of the economy is now such that the modest deficit and debt will be reeled in more quickly than first expected.  The expenditure programme is already winding back.

      If you don’t know that, you need either far better advisers or another job.

      In fact you do know that, but choose to pretend otherwise for naked political artifice.  You, Sir, are nothing but a humbug.  That lady at Ainslie shops was right, Senator Joyce. You are indeed a menace.

    • Greg says:

      10:04am | 07/02/10

      @ Don Clark

      Great news indeed! Don knows something the rest of us don’t. You say: “the state of the economy is now such that the modest deficit and debt will be reeled in more quickly than first expected. The expenditure program is already winding back.”

      Don, they maybe be winding back expenditure but when will they start paying the money back?

      Don, since when has a record debt been a modest one? By your reasoning the modest debt of the Whitlam Government saw it sacked from office.

      Don, interest rates are going up (despite the recent reprieve) why is the government continuing it’s stimulus?

      Don, why has the Rudd government put us in so much debt when not a single bank collapsed (unlike other countries) and are protected from collapse by legislation?

      I note Don that since Labor came to power the government and reserve bank are no longer in charge of monetary policy by allowing banks to set interest rates outside of those of the reserve bank. Is this another example of the Rudd governments responsible economic management?

      I await with baited breath for another dose of your Rudd like spin (you would have to be one of his advises with that load of BS).

    • Richard Ure says:

      01:02pm | 07/02/10

      Barnaby and Sarah Palin make a great pair.

    • David says:

      01:35pm | 07/02/10

      @ Greg

      I might take a stab at a few of these ..

      As for the first few points they dont warrant any real response and they live in the land of fantasy

      But lets have a stab at some of the things you got completely wrong.. and Don does know something every other educated person knows its call the truth.. without a bais

        Don, interest rates are going up (despite the recent reprieve) why is the government continuing it’s stimulus?

      Greg: interest rates are 1: not in the control of the govemment no matter how often johny howard tried to tell you they where they are not.., and two: they are still at record lows and will obviously need to return to a medium level for our future prosperity and growth three: spending takes a long time to move through the system and ensure confidence turning off the tap suddenly is idiotic and very stupid once it has been turned and would puts us all at risk.. you show yourself to be narrow minded and uneducated on the subject.

        Don, why has the Rudd government put us in so much debt when not a single bank collapsed (unlike other countries) and are protected from collapse by legislation?

      Greg: Its true our banking systems where strongly regulated prior to the GFC unlike some around the world. Our banks also recieved bail outs and support from the fedral governement to ensure they did not risk potential collapse and could continue to lend both locally and gloablly thus ensuring we had a level of confidence and could withstand the pressures of the global market colapse.. (its called spending money to maintain stability, also global markets are a key driver to our interest rates !!! if you can follow that ) this believe it or not is a really good thing and it allowed banks to continue to “lend” during a period of global non bank to bank and non bank to business lending….  We where therefore very quick to get back to a state of normal money lending and economic growth. which ensured a shorter term of economic depression which meant we do not have to spend double to money in the long term (as is the case in the states?!?) clawing our way back from flat lined an crippled banking system.

        I note Don that since Labor came to power the government and reserve bank are no longer in charge of monetary policy by allowing banks to set interest rates outside of those of the reserve bank. Is this another example of the Rudd governments responsible economic management?
      Greg: The banks have always been able to set thier own rates and the government (as above) have never never never been in the position to set interest rates.. it may be news to you but it is a very commonly know fact..

        I await with baited breath for another dose of your Rudd like spin (you would have to be one of his advises with that load of BS).

      Greg:  The view you have taken is ill informed and narrow minded ..

    • annie says:

      03:03pm | 07/02/10

      we are all spent up now Don the piggy bank is empty all the money dear leader hands out like confetti is now on the credit card, world bank yes we can here is $100 million ah no problem our friends in China will lend it to us at nice low 5%.

    • iain f says:

      03:10pm | 07/02/10

      Don do you really beleive the stimulus package of school halls insulation and $900 of which millions went overseas or to dead people saved us . if so thats so sad and blinkered it was our economy at the time, the money banked by the last government and yes employment levels the best managed banking system in the World and of course coal to china

    • Grumbles says:

      05:48pm | 08/02/10

      David, government spending is infationary, inflation is what is currently driving interest rates up. The government therefore has a lever…. increase spending or decrease spending. If they a) increase spending, they increase inflation, they drive interest rates up. or b) decrease spending, reduce inflation and put downward pressure on interest rates.

    • Walter says:

      04:59pm | 06/02/10

      Be yourself Barnaby.  Don’t worry about the press.  You will never win most of them over.  Focus on us, the real people, the voters and you will continue to make the difference you are.

    • Polywatcher says:

      06:44pm | 06/02/10

      Senator, no matter what you say or how you are perceived Rudd’s lot and followers will be out to get you.  Why?  Because you saved the day prior to the Copenhagen meeting by gathering most of the troops to throw the ETS out of the equation. Let’s hope you will again succeed on the third round. Dont let them get you down, fight them in he trenches!!

    • wally says:

      09:24pm | 06/02/10

      Well Barnaby I have just asked 17 people at our local watering hole (all work in the mining industry) and all agree with you, and no, they are not drunk.

    • Jimbo says:

      03:25pm | 07/02/10

      @Wally, I’m sure that the opinions of those miners you spoke to has nothing to do with their own self interest in working in an industry with such a large emissions profile…

    • Charles says:

      06:04pm | 06/02/10

      Stick with what you are doing Barnaby, most of the sensible public has worked out the nit-picking ALPoids and Canberra Press Gallery.  What the Left hasn’t quite worked out is that the debt we have is starting to drive interest rates up, and given the revert to the past reform desire of this government, this situation will only deteriorate further.

      Stick with reality, it will triumph over the various delusions of the ALP ideologues in the end.

    • Mikko says:

      06:08pm | 06/02/10

      So according to one Ruddofphile above, “Even in purely Australian terms, let alone compared with overseas, the size of the deficit and of Federal debt is quite modest ”
      What the? You’re kidding, right. Gough Whitlam probably said the same thing back in the 70’s when he sent Jim Cairns off to try to borrow a shipload of money from the Arabs, and look where it landed him as he stood on the steps of Parliament House bellowing “Well may you say God save the Queen, because nothing will save the Governor General.
      Well nothing would save Big Gough either and the people took his advice to “maintain the rage” by dumping him like a sack of old potatoes at the double dissolution election.
      No wonder Rudd wants his CPRS “to save us from the greatest moral threat of our time”. It’s the only slim hope he has of paying back the debt other than losing out to those who have the runs on the board to show they can actually manage and grow our economy.

    • Evan Findlay says:

      06:41pm | 08/02/10

      Thank God for our saviours Malcolm Fraser and John Howard. They left the country’s economy in such a good state. Two recessions, high unemployment, SFA growth, no reform and when it started to go pear shaped they went back to big government spending policies, the same policies he criticised Whitlam for. Economic charlatans…....

    • fluffy says:

      07:29pm | 06/02/10

      gee… how much did the twin debacles of afghanistan and iraq add up to? hard to know as the final bill is still being added to.. your mob should be up on war crimes charges, and here you are, wanting another go at running the country.. piss off you murderous psychopath!

      ( yeah.. rudds no better when it comes to doing the right thing.. but you can get stuffed )

    • Mary Jane says:

      10:29am | 07/02/10

      Nice language - you must be well educated.
      Let’s hope your types do not get into parliament.
      Wonder how you speak to your customers if you work.

    • The Drover says:

      08:57am | 08/02/10

      Mary Jane, I doubt whether fluffy has ever held a real job in their life, probably a professional uni student with a couple of useless Arts degrees.

    • RobJ says:

      08:02pm | 06/02/10

      “Be yourself Barnaby.  “

      Good advice, it will ensure stays out of govt. The way he whines about foreign aid makes me think he lacks compassion. I don’t want someone like that representing me.

    • C says:

      11:55am | 07/02/10

      Foreign aid…oh that would be the millions of dollars Rudd is handing to Third World nations to secure their vote for a non-permanent seat on the UN “Security” Council?

      The millions of dollars that generally end up in the pockets of men like Robert Mugabe, to spend on champagne and caviar, whilst people starve and there’s no money to pay doctors wages?

    • Eat The Rich says:

      08:08pm | 06/02/10

      Barnaby you did blow the budget. Don’t you remember? “Go For Growth.” Your last minute attempt to buy votes at the last election built a structural deficit into the federal budget. You guys keep persisting with this absurd form of retail politics.

      This might work with (some) rural Queenslanders but not with the rest of us. There is a lot more of us than there are of you. Sharpen your game or try something else.

    • Rich says:

      01:21pm | 07/02/10

      “Go for growth” under Howard was about building the infrastructure this country needs to raise productivity. It wasn’t about pinkbatts and $900 bribes. Compare this to Labor at the last election, complaining about inflation and needing to reduce spending. Wrong!

      Which policy would have been more beneficial as we moved into the global financial crisis? (I’ll give you a hint, Rudd keeps pushing the need to grow the economy).

    • Eat The Rich says:

      09:17pm | 07/02/10

      Rubbish Rich.  One straight fro the neo-con play book. For Howard infrastructure meant regional rorts. The structural deficit is in revenue. Tax Cuts remember?
      The stimulus was a response to massive worldwide market failure. And it’s working.
      So how’s this for a Headline: Massive Government Intervention saves Australia.  And it did. No more “hints” please your economic theories lie in tatters. No doubt they’ll make a comeback when all is well again and you guys can go back to making it up as you go along.

    • Eat The Rich says:

      03:12pm | 08/02/10

      Wrong again. But keep trying!

    • Rich says:

      07:43am | 08/02/10

      So let me see if I get this right.

      Liberal: “Go for Growth” = neo-con play
      Labor: “Go for Growth” = saving the world.

      We both know that exports to China saved Australia from a technical recession. Rudd and Swan had already raised the white flag.

    • Evan Findlay says:

      06:54pm | 08/02/10

      Rich, name one piece of infrastructure the Howard government built that increased productivity?

    • VinceOZ says:

      08:22pm | 06/02/10

      Think about Spain, and its GREEN economy, and its 22% unemployment. Hand that to Rudd..

      Good onya. you did fine.

    • Foreign Aid says:

      08:28pm | 06/02/10

      He is being himself Walter, that’s the problem. I take it you’re not having a sexual relationship with Barnaby?

    • Phil says:

      08:34pm | 06/02/10


      Labor voters will always excuse the party cause they are blinded in their faith.

      After all Gough gave many of them educations and created the Chardonay Sipping Socialists.

      They will claim that the debt is not that bad.

      But hey these true decievers, think that Brian Burke was really a nice bloke, you know wrong time wrong place,that NSW is a great run state and that Milton Orkopoulos got a raw deal and was set up. That when these polititions leave office and become lobbyists they always do the best for the working families.

      The fact that most of the states were for most of the last decade during the so called rivers of gold mining boom run by labor and each is an economic basket case to them is Howards fault for not giving them enough money.

      They cannot see the broken election promises, nor the do as I say, not do as I do from Labor.

      Keep up the good job. Next time you do a speech which is on the radio (your response to Wayne Swan) pleasse get the station to put on a warning. Last time I nearly ran up the car in front due to laughter.

      Have a good weekend.

    • Evan Findlay says:

      06:45pm | 08/02/10

      But the Howard government wasting 266 Billion dollars in unsustainable middle class welfare is responsible fiscal management! I see why you like Barnaby, similiar intellectual levels.

    • Mary Jane says:

      09:29pm | 06/02/10

      Barnaby - some people just would not give you the praise you deserve because you are not a leftist loonie.
      Let’s get rid of Rudd and Wong before they sell us out totally.  They have already let Queensland be sold out.
        However, because the media are mainly leftist in their views, Barnaby will have a battle.  I’ll bet none of them have ever made a slip of the tongue - oh Nooooooooooo.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      09:32pm | 06/02/10

      Deficits and public debt is ok- as long as it is spent on infrastructure such as rail, roads, power, water etc. Handouts such as the Liberal Party and Labor Party gave out is unsustainable debt.  Another problem is that there are no more major assets to sell. The proceeds of Telstra went to the Future Fund to fund the superannuation liabilities of politicians and civil servants- the greatest act of theft (or wealth transfer) in the history of Australia.

    • Chase Stevens says:

      09:34pm | 06/02/10

      Bahaha you stuffed up, own it and move on.

    • steve says:

      11:36am | 07/02/10

      he did and he has
      Can you do the same?

    • Jonathan says:

      09:48pm | 06/02/10

      You are indeed a God-send Senator Joyce.  I like how you say, “We can not keep going overseas and borrowing money to balance up our stuff-up.”  It is great that you use the word “OUR”.  Even though the economic problems were not caused by you or by me, you clearly take ownership of the issue and look for solutions.  You know that we are all in this together as Australians, and you are looking to the future potential for recovery from Labor policies.

    • James Loring says:

      10:06pm | 06/02/10

      Ignore the critics Barnaby. Just say it how you see it. The only reason they scream is because you tell the truth and they can’t stand that!
      Hey, If you become our next federal finance minister you can pick out all the useless and costly legislation and I’ll bring the shredder. We’ll have a ball!

    • The Watcher says:

      10:38pm | 06/02/10

      Clearly some people just love attacking persons instead of their ideas. Barnaby is a sound financial manager and i think it will be good if the coalition replaces the ideological slaves to Karl Marx that we are ashamed to even call a govt. Rudd is the one term nightmare that we had to have, so that we could know how left wing loons with their moral high horse, double standard policies that are only workable in a fairyland utopia (eg Abolition of nuclear weapons - HAHAHAHA- in your wildest dreams hippies). Until then, we need people who take decisions that deal with the real world.

    • David says:

      11:19pm | 06/02/10

      This is Joke right.. every fact you point to is pure nonsense, it has to be a parady!! I wouldn’t let Barnaby do my tax return let alone be responsible for the finances of a country he is a walking talking joke, and I am not being overly mean.. have you ever heard him try and reason something out !! Tony is a fear based right wing nutter who has as much touch with reality as a fanatic religous evaneglist (hang on thats kinda what he is) .. and we all look forward to another year of fear mongering and scare tactics and one liners that have no basis in any reality from both of them.. I am not a Rudd supporter but damn we would be insane to vote in Tony and the half wit . (sarah palin for Aus anyone)

    • Bri says:

      12:14am | 07/02/10

      There is probably no point writing anything in response to your article Mr Joyce. It is my feeling that you are too pig-headed to take on any constructive criticism.
      But just in case I’m wrong…..my suggestion would be to stand up and take responsibility for all the wonky things you said at the Press Club. Just be honest - you’re good at that.

      Second, why don’t you take a bit of time out to learn your portfolio? That will serve you well for the future.

      My third and final suggestion would be for you to do a bit of travelling around the world and see how the majority of the world live - particularly in the developing countries. Travel to a few of the smaller islands near Australia like Tuvalu and see the affects of climate change on real people with real families.

      I don’t mind your honesty Barnaby, sometimes I think you’re funny, sometimes you make some accurate comments. But I worry that you lack humanity….

    • John A Neve says:

      07:29am | 07/02/10

      I love Barnaby, we love Barnaby, even Barnaby loves Barnaby.
      Vote for him, not in a fit.

    • Rocket Surgeon says:

      08:06am | 07/02/10

      Superficially what you say makes a lot of sense, especially if you think governments need to balance their books like a business or a household. But that not how governments should operate. The coalition made a massive mistake in its last term when it continued to pump government spending into an overheating economy and its reversing the mistake now by thinking government spending should be scaled back in a contracting economy with weak private spending. Government spending needs to be counter-cyclical, but this is counter-intuitive if you think economic management is just about balancing the books.

      Unfortunately, there are two scenarios to explain why you continue to peddle this opinion. Either you don’t know any better or you do and are willing to exploit the ignorance of others to get elected.

    • Ugh says:

      09:18am | 07/02/10

      It’s worse than I thought. Is this the best the Liberal party has to offer? This article looks like it was written by a 6 year old.

      Barnaby, a couple of suggestions for improvement..

      1 - Article content - Jesus, at least make some LOGICAL comparisons.
      2 - The English language - get a good proof reader and listen to them. Never let anything leave your office until it is checked by them. This article is beyond badly written. Ouch.

    • Adam says:

      09:03am | 08/02/10

      I can assure you financial managers need not to excel at expressing thier ideas. Numbers and words are 2 very different things.

    • Rob Moore says:

      09:23am | 07/02/10

      Barnaby- don’t be fazed by the negative comments above and in the MSM.You and I know that this is way above two party politics and it is basic Grade 8 book keeping on a global level.

      Our natural resources have given us a monetary advantage over many countries and we enjoy a very high standard of living due to this. All govts have been parasites on this model and have had a healthy free ride up until now!

      If ten people end up with cancer in a hospital and only one speaks up and says-hey lets have the chemo and the operation now and there is a good chance with early intervention that there will be a reasonable result. If the other 9 who are feeling O K still howl him down -saying how dare you make my hair fall out and the cost of surgery and the scars. Who is right as we all know it is terminal left untreated.

      The biggest challenge with politics is to share the pain equitably.Most Aussies can “dig in” and “one in all in” used to be the spirit. Trouble with the two party -3yr election cycle, it seems that one party will buy votes at the expense of the other parties voters and leaves a self preseving,selfish divided country.

      I know Barnaby is genuine and simply just doesn’t want us to end up like Spain and others with 20% unemployment and no tax base to pay welfare.The next step then is rioting in the streets!

    • CJ Morgan says:

      09:57am | 07/02/10

      Great stuff.  I truly hope that Barnyard maintains his high profile as we head towards this year’s election.  Between the Mad Monk and Barnyard the Opposition hasn’t got a hope!

    • Napolean says:

      09:59am | 07/02/10

      Yibba yibba yibba, poor farmers need more cash!

    • Eric says:

      04:16pm | 07/02/10

      There’s nothing about farmers needing more cash in this article.

      You’re an idiot who can’t even spell “Napoleon”.

    • Patrick says:

      11:19am | 07/02/10

      Barnaby Joyce is still burnt from the rebukes from the rural community from the sale of Telstra, he is determined he will not face their ire again by letting legislation pass that may be detrimental to farmers (even though agriculture has now been permanently excluded from the scheme).

      He might still face their ire however, in his lifetime, and in the history books, if he is wrong about this, if even the mildest predictions on climate change come to fruition, he will be remembered and ridiculed as one of the do nothing politicians who sold out the country and it’s farmers future for short term political expediency.

    • Trolldoll says:

      05:45pm | 08/02/10

      Whereas if even the mildest projections (no scientist has made predictions about climate change) don’t come to pass none of the offending scientists will be pilliarised in history, all the onus is on the people who have the guts to speak against the greatest farce perpetrated by the scientific community, Anthropogenic Global Warming. (for the numpties out there that means man made climate change)

    • Jude says:

      11:26am | 07/02/10

      Thank God for Barnaby and Abbott - real men not pretending to be anything they aren’t, prepared to tell the truth and not buy votes. Not like the city slickers we have in now, all spin and no truth, couldn’t balance my kids piggy bank and so one eyed left they can’t see the mess Australia is in because they are blinded by ideology.

    • Pete ( the republican) from Sydney says:

      07:40am | 08/02/10

      Real men, how so Jude?

    • exzilerate says:

      11:36am | 07/02/10

      As Shadow Finace Minister your performance was appalling Mr Joyce. Bumbling along as you went and even suggesting we cut off Foreign Aid to poorer countries ! I doubt strongly the good people of Australia will ever vote in an organisation like yours Mr Joyce that sounds more and more “Hillbilly” by the day !

    • Joe says:

      11:51am | 07/02/10

      Keep up the good work Barnaby. We can’t let Rudd get away with racking up the debt like he used to get away with a free pass from the media on his Great Big New Tax - that is untill you helped shed light on what a con the ETS really is.

    • Dingo_aus says:

      11:56am | 07/02/10

      Barnaby actually answers questions and tells you what he is thinking - can the same be said of Mr Rudd?

    • Adam says:

      09:06am | 08/02/10

      Its the only reason he gets in trouble. Because he is the only one who provides journos ammunition to attack his credibility. Its a sad day that an honest politician who answers questions is ridiculed as a naive politician.

    • persephone says:

      11:21am | 08/02/10

      Honesty is good. Speaking your mind is good. Not knowing what you’re talking about is simply ignorant and lazy.

      There is no reason why Senator Joyce can’t be honest, frank and well informed -  except the first two require no work at all and the third requires a bit of an effort.

      One of the reasons most politicians, of all persuasions, come across as a little guarded is that they know that they don’t know everything and are being careful to only say what they do know.

      It’s only the ignorant and the arrogant, like Barnaby, who can give you a frank and open opinion on any topic under the sun.

    • Adam says:

      01:20pm | 08/02/10

      “One of the reasons most politicians, of all persuasions, come across as a little guarded is that they know that they don’t know everything and are being careful to only say what they do know.” What a load of sh*t. They come across guarded because politics is no longer reality TV but scripted comedy.

    • persephone says:

      01:51pm | 08/02/10


      Oh, so there was a Golden Age when pollies weren’t guarded in their speech? Please give me a couple of references so I can locate this period.

      Pollies have been using scripts for centuries. In the days before TV and radio, it wasn’t uncommon for a politician to have half a dozen set speeches, which they used over and over again - because there was virtually no chance their audience had heard it before.

      Made life a lot simpler, and also made it harder to make mistakes.

      Look, if you want politicians who speak off the top of their head, without understanding their subject or checking their facts, you vote that way, that’s your right.

      I happen to want intelligent people, who don’t talk about what they don’t know and don’t respond to questions unless they actually have answers, rather than populists who speak to please a particular audience and then have to backtrack when they’re caught out.

      Which is more honest - the average pollie, who checks out their facts before they talk, or lazy clowns like Barnaby, who has to come out the next day and say that what he said was a mistake, so don’t pay any attention?

    • formersnag says:

      12:55pm | 07/02/10

      The loony, left, labour/green coalition will always attack the messenger and never the message, its all they have.

      The real reason they have been spending like drunken sailors is not saving the economy, but buying votes. Their own research into the “John Howard Battlers” phenomenon has shown that they were principally working & middle class men, who realised that the loony, left, radical, extremist, feman-nazi, labour/green coalition regard them as enemies. Right now they are still reviewing the “Anti Family law act of 1975”, so that they can abuse even more children. Why do you think Kruddie keeps banging on about “tradies”?

    • Louis McLennan says:

      01:38pm | 07/02/10

      It’ll always be us vs them. Those of us who work hard, value education, health and respect others vs those who just have their hand-out and attack those who succeed.

    • Terry of Brisbae says:

      02:14pm | 07/02/10

      Barnaby you did stuff up but you just need to understand that the MSM and Labor supporters are going to jump on every single gaffe that anyone from the coalition makes and blow it out of all proportion. The same cannot be said for their treatment of Labor. Has everyone forgotten the press conference that Swan held when he kept everyone waiting for almost 3 minutes whilst he found his briefing notes to speak from? Everything the Labor side says and does is scripted and scrutinised by the spin doctors down to the last letter. Don’t ever expect anything remotely spontaneous from them.
      As for their performance in Parliament with their childish, schoolyard bullying, puerile name calling - if Rudd had any semblance of leadership skills he would put a stop to this drivel.
      Oh and by the way Ugh. You talk about Barbaby getting a good proof reader before putting out articles. Perhaps you should do the same thing yourself. You said at the start “Is this the best the Liberal Party has to offer?” For your enlightenment, Barnaby Joyce is a NATIONAL Senator!!!

    • Harquebus says:

      02:41pm | 07/02/10

      I like a man with common sense, thinks and speaks for himself,  has principles and sticks to his guns whether I agree with him or not. Stick to your principles and your guns Barnaby. We need more politicians like you.

    • Don Clark says:

      02:41pm | 07/02/10

      The relative modesty of our federal debt, and relative strength of our national economy, have been discussed on the public record for a good many months now, and a good many sound economic commentators are well aware of the facts: among them such independent commentators as Colebatch, Hartcher and Gittins.

      Although lost on posturing politicians like Senator Joyce, and equally lost on trolls like Greg at 11:04, many a nugget is readily found by reading a touch more widely than the Telegraph, with a little curiosity,  enough patience to find and assess different sources, and a touch of impatience with self-serving nonsense.

      Here’s just a quick sample:

      “This article has shown that Australia has undergone several periods of debt accumulation, followed by periods of fiscal consolidation. Periods of strong economic growth following episodes of debt accumulation have helped support relatively quick improvements in the public sector’s net debt position. Australia has a low level of net debt both historically and when compared with G-7 economies.”
      A history of public debt in Australia/ Katrina Di Marco, Mitchell Pirie and Wilson Au-Yeung. In full: Treasury Economic Roundup Issue 1, 2009

      And here’s Ross Gittins, writing in the SMH some time back:
      “At the projected peak in the net debt of $203 billion in June 2014, it will be equivalent to just 14 per cent of the nation’s annual income (which is the gross domestic product).  Such a modest, manageable debt - a fraction of the relative size of the net public debts of all the major developed countries - will not take generations to pay off, not that it would matter.“

      And for good measure, Tim Colebatch in January this year
      “THE Reserve Bank is forecasting a more or less normal year for Australia. Treasury is more wary, but positive. And our panel, for the most part, is somewhere between the two.”
      In full: http://www.smh.com.au/business/economic-recovery-more-a-simmer-than-a-boil-20100101-llw4.html

      Rising interest rates? Pfft. Keeping interest rates too low for too long is to risk too much expansion. We are seeing a carefully gradual return to normal levels, as long, long foreshadowed, from emergency low levels, all while inflation is tracking at or near the target range as the budget stimulus is already washing out of the economy.

      As I’ve said before, I’m just a private citizen expressing a point of view that I’ve thought through and can back up. And Greg’s personal baiting? Pffft. Look up flatus, Greg - you’re suffering from it.

    • Scot says:

      06:57pm | 07/02/10

      Don Clark, We have debt accumulating at rate unseen before in Australia that was totally unnecessary. We have city people taking to food of the table of country people, who put the food there in the first place, this is plain dumb. Trying to justify that it is OK for Labor to SPEND on free hand outs, a rotting, education, hospital and failed infrastructure, I for one do not buy into this argument. There was no Federal or State debt until Labor came to power in the states and federally. If you add up all this debt now it is not a small sum. If we don’t have debt we have more money to go around, as was the case before Labor. Who is going to pay this debt? To say that our exports will take care of it, then please explain to the readers why the Chinese economy has grown and is so well managed and they have USD1.4Trillion in the bank, a robust economy, and we have run down infrastructure, inflation, project black holes, failed policies and too many degree chiefs and no indians, that have never held a real job in their lives creating a Nanny State. The tax payers are fed up with this and Labor is for the chop. There are no Golden projects in Australia with Labor, they are all nickel plated. As for Baranby, I hope he goes for the throat of Swan and his fools the puppet master. He hs my 100% support.

    • Dave says:

      04:28am | 09/02/10

      We have debt accumulating at rate unseen before in Australia .......

      I think if refer to the articles that Don points out, it will show that Aus Debt/GDP ratio has been over 100% in the past and that didn’t take generations to pay off. 
      We are now looking at UNDER 15%.

      With this information available, you’d have to be either dishonest or stupid to keep going on about the debt like Barnaby.
      So, are you mostly dishonest? Or stupid?
      (Or like Barnaby, both.)

    • John A Neve says:

      03:56pm | 07/02/10

      Louis McLennan @1438hrs,
      Perhaps you could tell us who “them” really are?
      Then maybe you could tell us who “those who succeed” are?

      You have just given me the chance to use a term I hate, I’d suggest you post is un-Australian.

    • Eno says:

      04:15pm | 07/02/10

      Exactly so Louis - so why is it so important to the Liberals that the rich keep their handouts & won’t allow Labout to means test the insurance rebate handout??

    • Louis McLennan says:

      06:36pm | 07/02/10

      I got this from wikipedia :(

      Taxable income   Tax on this income   Effective Tax Rate
      $0 – $6,000   Nil   0%
      $6,001 – $35,000   15c for each $1 over $6,000   0% – 12.4%
      $35,001 – $80,000   $4,350 plus 30c for each $1 over $35,000   12.4% – 22.3%
      $80,001 – $180,000   $17,850 plus 38c for each $1 over $80,000   22.3% – 31.0%
      $180,001 and over   $55,850 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000   31.0% – 45%

    • iansand says:

      07:57pm | 07/02/10

      Why are Barnaby’s supporters all semi-literate?

    • Russ Martin says:

      05:15pm | 07/02/10

      Go get em Barnaby. Who doesn’t make a blue occasionally. If we did’nt have the mining industry Australia would be stuffed. You can not even buy an Australian made tyre anymore.

    • Harquebus says:

      10:58am | 08/02/10

      We can’t even make pencils.

    • Bob says:

      05:43pm | 07/02/10

      120 b in debt and growing quicker and bigger than Rudd’s nose.It doesnt matter if you said billions,trillions or millions at the press club Barnaby.Under a labor govt it want be long till there wont be any of it left.Your doing a great job Mr Freak show,

    • Stefano says:

      06:31pm | 07/02/10

      When and if you have a “Let he who is without sin…....” moment, Joycey, just fire two words back at them - “John Kerin”.

    • Brett L says:

      06:57pm | 07/02/10

      I no longer wonder why it’s impossible to get a truly effective leader in politics.
      Take at look at all the comments above and below. So many people with their own agenda for power and wealth. Why would anybody with the ability to intelligently lead a nation put up their personal life exposed to ridicule, and then also try to appease every ideological opinion. The Government and Opposition just play each other for the sake of the game. Is there really any goodwill towards the people of Australia?

    • Senexx says:

      07:29pm | 07/02/10

      The Reserve Bank debits (subtracts from) Non-Australian Country securities account at the Reserve. This is? how borrowing works operationally.

      And they credit (add to) Non-Australian Country reserve (savings) account at the Reserve Bank to pay it back. That’s all borrowed debt paid.

      We need to remember the Gold Standard and Bretton Woods Systems are dead.  We live in a Fiat Currency system.  And we should not confuse our federal spending with the revenue restrained expenditure of a State Government.

      Senator Joyce is probably a decent accountant and certainly hasn’t had to deal with billions and trillions in an accountancy practice but as an economist, as a macroeconomist he needs work.  It may come with time.

    • Guy Beer says:

      07:30pm | 07/02/10

      Hey this great! I have found my spiritual home, a beautiful glade full of lovely fluffy Barnaby supporters. I just hope that nasty Elmer Rudd doesn’t happen upon us with his fearsome weapon. We are so defenseless and look at all the horrid press gallery people poking fun at us. Well let them laugh, we’ll be feasting on their entrails come the election, won’t we my fluffy brothers?

    • murray says:

      07:36pm | 07/02/10

      Am I the only one who is concerned that in one corner we have a Finance Minister who, despite the razor gang hype, hasn’t come across a spending proposal he didn’t like, and in the other we have an agrarian socialist who wants to redistribute the taxes on our earnings to the country?

    • Eno says:

      07:59pm | 07/02/10

      So you disagree that the rich, who by definition make their money from the poor should have to pay more for the good of society as a whole than the poor..

      You’re even more further to the right than the mad monk and Barnaby “It’s a joke” Joyce.

    • Carl Palmer says:

      08:34pm | 07/02/10

      I believe the recommendations in Auditor General’s report were unanimously accepted – at least in the Senate. It mentioned something about $40mil of “waste”. 

      Winding back debt, I think you mean winding back waste and then let’s talk about the debt.  As previously stated, 3 quotes when the insulation rebate was $1600 and all 3 came in @ $1600. How coincidental.  Now its $1200, another 3 different quotes (same house) came in with, yep you guessed it $1200 and let’s not mention the fly by nighters who lodge their claim but don’t install. I guess it’s making someone feel good.

      You can’t be serious.

      Oh, let’s not mention an additional $60mil (total now around $130mil) they are appropriating for a place called Xmas Island. 

      Give me a break!!

    • vote kevin OUT says:

      09:19pm | 07/02/10

      Barnaby I don’t give two shits about your minor misspeak.
      I care about you standing up and speaking the TRUTH.
      I am not alone in feeling this way.

      Rudd and his globalist AGW agenda is falling to pieces and you guys in the LNP are being relied upon to stop the bullshit and pull Australia out of this never ending carbon taxation scheme on everything.

      As far as I’m concerned the AGW scam was an all governments initiated taxation scheme, via the IPCC – a specifically created UN agency, to rip off hundreds of billions from Western taxpayers. So far though, it is the scientists who are being criticised, though they are bit players in this scam.

      “Scientists” whose jobs and promotion depended on getting grant money, could be easily bought off to provide the required answers. The money in grant allocations to scientists is worth less then peanut shells compared to what governments and big business planned to pocket from general taxation on energy, and further hidden levies on all energy usage - petrol, diesel, gas and electricity.

      Politicians like RUDD have to be held accountable for this scam to defraud the public, financially and politically.

    • Mushroom says:

      09:51pm | 07/02/10

      Go Barnaby. Like vampires in the light of day, the smarties can’t stand non-spin.Re comments about miners and mines: Mines aren’t pretty but I bet a few of you cool cats depend on them for your lifestyle. Get real and acknowledge you don’t milk some money tree to finance your exemplary, caring lifestyles.

    • persephone says:

      01:53pm | 08/02/10

      You’re right, mushroom. We wouldn’t want ‘smarties’ running the country, would we?

      Thank heavens then that we have Barnaby - no danger of smartiness with him.

    • iansand says:

      06:25am | 08/02/10

      Barnaby.  You are trying to frighten me, with debt, interest rates and immigration.  I won’t vote for your side until they start appealing to my intellect, not my viscera.  Pretty simple.

    • Eric says:

      06:44am | 08/02/10

      And Labor is trying to frighten you with global warming, workchoices and recession. I hope you haven’t started voting for them, because that would be inconsistent with your stated principles.

    • iansand says:

      07:18am | 08/02/10

      I have not voted for a major party, or any party, for quite some decades, largely because of my contempt for their political and electoral tactics.  Independent or informal.

      But thank you for your concern about my principles.

    • Evan Findlay says:

      06:51pm | 08/02/10

      Eric it’s not Labor that frightens us with workchoices, it’s the Liberals. It’s their policy! And Labor kept us from recession. Hence why the opposition NEVER asks questions about the economy any more. Why? Piss weak!

    • Flipflop says:

      06:42am | 08/02/10

      I am sure Barnaby belives the rubbish he spins, I think Tony Abbotts comment about Barnaby telling the truth should be a worry to all Public Servants, he probably has let the cat out of the bag. Hes a character, he reminds me of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, slighty bizzare , bordering on doddery and caught up his own spin. If your going to have a Finance Minister guys, find one that can count.. 
      Godd Luck to Malcom Turnbull your honesty mate over the ETS is inspiring, its a shame other Liberals are not as honest. But thats nothing new for the Liberal Party. We were told lies about Iraq, lies about children overboard and the lies just continue

    • Don Clark says:

      06:54am | 08/02/10

      You know, I was never a hater of the Liberal Party. I just wished they had better, wiser, fairer policies and a far better, wiser, kinder Prime Minister.  Despite unease about the fairness of the policies of the previous government, as a non-ALP voter I had some grudging respect for a number of their less strident members.

      Watching them, as opposition parties,  attempting to come to grips with their new responsibilities to the electorate and to the nation, my sense of unease has sadly only continued to grow. That is thanks mainly to the unprincipled and ignorant stances of Senators Joyce, Minchin, and Abetz in the Senate, and of Messrs Hockey, Pyne, Turnbull and Abbott in the lower house, matched only by the Mesdames Bishop. The Grech affair was but one case in a long and sorry record.

      Then along came The Punch, which gives us all a window to look in upon whatever talent the coalition parties and their more ardent supporters have to offer to the ordinary folk of Australia.

      So what do we see?  At the risk of seeming churlish, Senator Joyce is speaking no more truthfully than Mr Abbott.  They open their mouths and say the first thing that comes into their head, with a bent towards feeding existing prejudice and ignorance.

      They like your fawning on them and your insensate rage at everybody else, because they think it means they don’t have to do any work. Just as most of you would make better points if you engaged your brain before typing, they would give the public more respect if they too switched on their brains before opening their mouths.

      Here on The Punch, coalition authors and their supporter posters show, with the most tedious consistency, opinion devoid of checkable reliable fact, sloppy thinking, sloppy argument, distortion, deceit, insult, spite, and deliberate misrepresentation of good material already on the public record.

      So what now of my once grudging respect for the coalition parties? I now regard all members as merely shrill hucksters, with abilities and principles of less than those of a bad used car salesman. In short, they are a disgrace to the principles of their parties and to the Nation.

      As to their supporters posting publicly here,  they seem to be some small hopelessly unrepresentative subgroup of the whole. Certainly their contributions here set such a uniformly poor example lacking in thought, honesty and understanding of policy options, so lacking indeed as to be damaging to their chosen party, offering tacky encouragement to sitting members to behave equally badly.  Citizen journalism? Citizen flatus, more like.

    • Fog Badger says:

      04:51pm | 08/02/10

      Don says “Just as most of you would make better points if you engaged your brain before typing,”

      Well, Don. I tend to activate my cerebral cortex. You, on the other hand, seemed to function on brainstem alone - you can take a breath now!


      You don’t half go on! What was your point?

    • AFR says:

      08:48am | 08/02/10

      Putting Joyce in charge of the economy would be like letting Michael Jackson mind your kids.

    • Angela Booth says:

      09:07am | 08/02/10

      Barnaby, you’re a breath of fresh air. Keep up the GREAT work. You’re open, you’re honest, and you’re real… are you sure you’re a politician? grin

    • Chewy says:

      09:18am | 08/02/10

      Barnaby, dont worry the only people bagging you are the ALP and their sympathetic friends in the media.

    • John A Neve says:

      10:23am | 08/02/10

      Are you suggesting all coalition voters see Barnaby as a messiah?
      “don’t worry the only people bagging you are the ALP” !!
      I like your love of fiction Chewy.

    • Chewy says:

      12:35pm | 08/02/10

      No John, my point was the only people running with this are people who dont like the coalition, ofcourse Barnaby aint the messiah. He’s a straight shooter who had a brain fart, big deal. Wayne has had several wonky moments but the hyeners in the press gallery didnt try to carry it on. It kind of reminds me of the treatment Fielding copped over the fiscal fiasco, if he was from the left it would not of made headline news.

    • Ron Roberts says:

      11:28am | 08/02/10

      I’m really surpirsed the media hasn’t picked up Anthony Albanese, the leader of the Govenrment in the House, saying on the very same day as Barnaby’s press club appearance that the Rudd Govt was spending “$7.8 MILLION” over four years on rail. If that was really the case then we’d hardly be bothering would we?

    • Francis Forbes says:

      11:59am | 08/02/10

      The labor spend fest isnt a bad thing we have a strong economy and its seems to be ticking along well compared to the rest of the world. But typically they know when to stop.

      I not exactly a fan of Joyce but rightly or wrongly he tends to speak his mind and I think he talks straight ( for a pollie). And he stands up for his constituants.

      If you ever get back into government Barnaby will you remain the straight talking un muzzled pollie?

    • James says:

      12:26pm | 08/02/10

      Barneby didn’t blow the budget. Give it time B give it time.  Why do refer to yourself in the third person by the way?

    • Bob says:

      03:12pm | 08/02/10

      Barnaby, you are a joke. Its embarrassing for this country to have someone like you in parliament.

    • Dave says:

      04:04pm | 08/02/10

      Imagine letting Barnaby run the Treasury?
      Imagine letting Barnaby run a listed company?
      Imagine letting Barnaby run your own small business for you?

      REALLY! Think about it..

      It’s like giving Palin the launch codes. (Sarah or Eric, take your pick)

      Personally, I’m all in favor of Barnaby in the shadow ministry. As long as he’s there, Labor will be able to get on with the job of governing and make the tough decisions as required. As soon as the Libs find a credible lineup, it’s back to the popularity contest.

    • Fog Badger says:

      04:56pm | 08/02/10

      Dave, it’s Michael Palin and Eric Idle!

      Geez. Don’t you know your Python?

    • Dave says:

      03:48am | 09/02/10

      Fog Badger.
      Clearly not well enough.

    • CynicalGoatWA says:

      05:59pm | 08/02/10

      ...“As long as he’s there, Labor will be able to get on with the job of governing and make the tough decisions as required”.  WTF!!!??? Rudd….Tough decisions??????
      These clowns havent made a tough decision in 26+ months!!!!!!!!! The funniest thing is Dave, you actually believe what you type.
      Keep punching Barnaby. As long as the left wing delusionals keep having a crack at you, you know you’re doing your job beautifully.

    • Dave says:

      04:01am | 09/02/10

      Keep punching Barnaby Rubble ?
      No WAY !  You misunderestimate me.
      I’m cheering for him !

      Every labor voter in the country is. Keep him right where he is. Preferably with a microphone close at hand.
      And weekly speeches. Keep those speeches coming. 

      Ahhhhhh…..I can see it now.
      This next election is going to be F-U-N-N-Y…..

    • Evan Findlay says:

      06:28pm | 08/02/10

      Barnaby, you are the delusional fool that checks that the fridge light is on! You say that Labor doesn’t want to cut costs. Interesting…. they have tried to reign in the unsustainable middle class welfare that your previous government set up. The 30% rebate for private health was not taken from a drop in defence spending or infrastructure spending, mainly because conservative’s don’t actually spend on infrastructure, but simply on tax revenue. The problem is that as tax revenue plummets as it has done in the past twelve months the money has to be found from other sources, which means other portfolio’s such as health and education miss out. If you are single and earn over $70,000 then you can afford your own health insurance. Stop kidding yourself, the country cannot afford to keep paying for all the middle class welfare. I don’t believe in dishing money out to dole bludgers and I don’t believe those on a good wicket should be getting a handout. You talk about productivity within the economy, yet Howard had one of the lowest figures since the end of the second world war. Your party whilst in power wasted hundreds of billions of dollars with nothing to show for it. Ships still sit off our coastline waiting to be loaded with our resources for weeks on end costing the economy hundreds of thousand dollars a day. And instead of investing in infrastructure, instead of investing in the future, instead of investing in productivity, instead of investing in the growth of the economy, your policy inert government gave us baby bonuses, first home owner grants and 30% rebates on private health insurance.  Like any person with any understanding of the economy or productivity would listen to the protector of the little light in the fridge. You will never cut the mustard with the electorate, your nothing but a hillbilly.

    • Brian says:

      06:54pm | 08/02/10

      On the NBN and Mike Kaiser - What “relevant experience” is Stephen Conroy referring to? This is a 450k a year job? Would it not be prudent to look in the open market for “talent”?

      I give it to the ALP, when you are in their club, you certainly get looked after, regardless of ethics or legality…...it is something to behold.

    • E.E. of Qld says:

      09:20am | 09/02/10

      Great article, Barnaby.
      Agree with everything you say about debt. Also agree with your comment about the possibility of double dip problems. The signs are about the place for anybody who is not blinded by their own wisdom.
      The Hawke and Keating Governments were good for Australia. The present Labor government seems hell bent on destroying the prosperity of the country built - pretty painfully at times - over the last 30 or so years.
      The likes of Tanner are co clever they don’t even see what they do, and from my point-of-view, don’t seem to care much about anything other than keeping power.
      We should thank plain speaking Senator Joyce and Opposition Leader Abbott for trying to inject some commonsense and thinking power into Australians before it is too late.

    • Vicki Sanderson says:

      10:04am | 09/02/10

      Why all the tremulous responses to Barnaby’s suggestion that we should rethink our foreign aid program? There are actually compelling reasons why this is sensible and overdue. In her recent book “Dead Aid”, the african writer Dambiso Mogo argued that 50 years and billions of dollars in aid had done nothing to alleviate poverty in Africa, and should be halted. It is also becoming increasingly apparent that, even putting aside the issue of effective delivery, the bureaucratisation of NGOs is leeching huge amounts of money into administration. Even so, much of the money donated to causes such as the Pacific tsunami damage, remained undistributed years after the event. And finally, in the wash up of the GFC it was revealed in the financial press that many Australian and international charities had lost millions in the stock market crash. A reexamination of our poilcy towards international aid is a perfectly legitimate and important pursuit.

    • Mikko says:

      10:09am | 09/02/10

      Hey WA Aggie,(12.10 am, 8/2) thanks for the link to the Canberra Times article about the 150 public servants set up to administer Rudd’s phony CPRS months before it was twice rejected. Add the cost of that to the 144 delegates to the Nopenhagen fiasco and even Lindsay Tanner would need his pocket calculator to count the waste. And the True Believers still believe the spin, smoke and mirrors that this mob can manage our economy.
      CPRS = Can’t People Recognise Scams > Thankfully yes, most now can.

    • Venise Alstergren says:

      12:49pm | 09/02/10

      Stick at what you’re good at Barnaby sticking in the boondocks, making a clown of yourself, and holding Australia’s politicians up to the world as being the crass, religion sodden, hicksville and neanderthal lunatics they are.

      The people who elected you should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. But, they are National Party voters. What else?


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