Barnaby’s Back And There’s Gonna Be Trouble

Barnaby Joyce and coal

Barnaby Joyce | Image – ABC News: Nick Haggarty, file photo

He’s been gone for such a long time, now he’s back and things will be fine? Hey-la-day-la, Barnaby’s back!

After the failed “oh no, not you again” attempt of early 2020, Barnaby Joyce was returned as National Party leader yesterday. And given Prime Minister Scott Morrison is currently in quarantine, Mr. Joyce will kick off his other new role of Deputy Prime Minister as Acting Prime Minister in just a few hours from now after he’s sworn in.

It’s almost as though the timing for all this was very, very carefully planned.

If there wasn’t so much at stake, Barnaby’s renewed role would be super-entertaining. Well, it will still be but likely just in a more disturbing way.

In case you’ve forgotten, which is really hard to do, Barnaby likes coal. He was among those fondling a dirty great lacquered lump of the stuff that Scott Morrison brought into Parliament in 2017. Brrr.. those eyes.

As well as fondling coal, he also likes the idea of the continued burning of it and using public money to help do so. But so did toppled Nationals leader and very-soon-to-be-ex-Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.

So, what happened? It’s the Nationals, I don’t think they really know. But Senator Matt Canavan reportedly moved to spill the National Party leadership to “protect regional Queensland jobs and interests”. The good news is renewable energy could provide a bunch of jobs and a lot of investment in regional Queensland, but Senator Canavan is yet to get that memo.

What sort of leadership can we expect from Barnaby 2.0? He was quick to (sort of) assure those who may be concerned about his reincarnation.

“I’ve spent three years on the backbench and you know, I hope I come back a better person,” said a humbled triumphant Barnaby Joyce yesterday.

Something that hasn’t changed is Mr. Joyce’s inability to differentiate between climate and weather, which is a little odd for a man on the land.

Barnaby Joyce - renewable energy

“Renewables did all this. It’s outrageous, look at it.” Barnaby Joyce via Facebook – June 10, 2021

And while he may have been joking, what’s not so funny has been his attitude towards renewables1, climate change and emissions reduction generally. On the point of climate and other policies going forward, he said:

“As the leader, I’ll be talking with my party room about what they believe is best for them. It is not Barnaby policy, it’s Nationals’ policy and Nationals’ policy is what I will be an advocate for.”

What’s best for the party room, not Australians or life on Earth in general. But later in the day Mr. Joyce mentioned:

“This change is about the people of Australia, the people of regional Australia and brought about by that wonderful team, The Nationals.”

Let the games begin. Unfortunately, these games are likely to drag out climate change action and commitments that need to be implemented right now.

You’re gonna be sorry you were ever born
(Hey-la-day-la, Barnaby’s back)
‘Cause he’s kinda big and he’s awful strong
(Hey-la-day-la, Barnaby’s back)

Apologies to The Angels. Not the Doc Neeson (RIP) ones, but they also have a relevant song.


  1. Things weren’t always this way. The Clean Energy Council noted Barnaby Joyce’s address at the 2017 Australian Clean Energy Summit, when he spoke effusively about the benefits of renewable energy to regional Australia and local job creation.
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Geoff Miell says

    Commenting on Barnaby Joyce being reelected the Leader of the Federal Nationals that includes also becoming the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia (again), at Ticker streaming news, Director Energy Finance Studies, Australia/South Asia, Tim Buckley said:

    “I could be facetious and say: ‘not much’, because I would expect more climate science denial, more fossil fuel subsidies, more talk of gas-lit recovery, more talk of CCS, and twisting of ARENA and CEFC mandates to provide subsidies for fossil fuel solutions; more intervention and crowding out by the Australian Government, ah… crowding out private investment. In other words, just more of the same – more energy policy chaos for Australia.”

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