“He (Barnaby) says he has learned a great deal over the last three years. He should be given the benefit of the doubt and every opportunity to demonstrate that.” – Former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson
THE second coming of Barnaby Joyce is good news for those of us concerned about the lack of courage in politics to push back on the elites managing our nation’s decline.
For us at the Christian Democratic Party it means many of our key concerns will get more purchase in the public discourse.
It has been too easy to marginalise human rights for the unborn, the vandalisation of our electricity grid, the march of the radical left through our school curricula, the nefarious influence of the Chinese Communist Party and children being taught gender fluid ideology.
Joyce and a solid cohort in the federal Nationals, such as Queensland Senator Matt Canavan, are fearless in standing up on these and other common-sense issues.
They are pro-life, pro the natural family (I’ll come back to Joyce’s private life) and they are pro-national and economic security.
They speak, they cut through.
Joyce spoke passionately for human rights for the unborn when his NSW Nationals colleagues in 2019 were leading the charge for killing unborn babies all the way to birth.
His partner Vikki Campion famously remarked that she could not abort her unborn son Sebastian because he had a heartbeat.
Most politicians, sadly, are timid and don’t seem to have the will and courage to sustain a public debate on these and other key issues of concern to Christians and conservatives.
This is why elites have set their hair on fire at Joyce’s return. Silent politicians are no threat.
It helps our work at the CDP to know we are not a lone voice. A louder voice for the Nats under Barnaby helps the few courageous Liberals, One Nation’s Mark Latham and of course your fledgling CDP with its one seat also in the New South Wales Upper House alongside Latham.
Australia is in such dire straits that the more voices, the better.
Now some Christians will rightly question Joyce’s private life and the poor example he has set.
Legitimate questions of trust and integrity arise.
I am not someone who believes that someone’s personal life is irrelevant to their public life.
However, I do believe in grace, repentance and forgiveness.
The first thing Joyce said at his press conference this week was “I acknowledge my faults”.
He was contritely asking the nation for a second chance.
Former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson was asked about Joyce’s suitability to again fill a role in which Anderson served with distinction for six years.
“No one when they are on point is more devastatingly effective than Barnaby Joyce,” Anderson told Sky News Host Chris Kenny this week.
“He (Barnaby) says he has learned a great deal over the last three years. He should be given the benefit of the doubt and every opportunity to demonstrate that.”
Anderson went on to say that Joyce understood the big picture concerns facing Australia. It’s worth quoting Anderson at length.
“This nation is in grave danger. It is not just arguments about 2050 and net zero, it is also (about) will we be free? Will we be a sovereign nation? Will we be a prosperous country with opportunities? They are all hanging in the balance.
How do we secure our place as a mid-size but significant country in a global order that reflects the laws and where you can trade properly and interact properly and are militarily free?
We now face the challenge to claw back Australia’s excellent economic record. In the interests of intergenerational justice we have got to pay some of that down.
We’ve got to spend more, in my view on defence and defence preparedness. Two percent of GDP isn’t going to cut it.
These are huge issues. Now Barnaby has been at pains to say to me several times ‘I 100 percent agree with you.’ So I take it that he recognises the importance of those big picture things.
We have got to pull together as a people now and recognise – it doesn't matter where you live or your gender or what pronouns you use – those sorts of things.
There are some things we have in common and they're the chief objectives, the chief reasons we have the commonwealth government in the first place; our economic and our military and strategic freedoms."
If Joyce is willing to listen to the sage advice of a statesman like Anderson, and it seems he is, then there is hope.
Lyle Shelton is Director of Campaigns and Communications for the Christian Democratic Party. The Reverend Honourable Fred Nile MLC has nominated Lyle to succeed him in the NSW Parliament when he retires in November. To keep in touch with Lyle and the CDP, sign up here.