Barnaby Joyce: Not good at policymaking, either

It is pretty amazing, isn't it, that you have had two out of nine Greens Senators didn't realise they were citizens of another country.  It shows incredible sloppiness on their part. You know, when you nominate for Parliament, there is actually a question — you have got to address that Section 44 question and you've got to tick the box and confirm that you are not a citizen of another country.

Hat tip: Richard Halcomb

Barnaby Joyce is in the news a bit right now. Coincidentally, I wrote an assessment of his abilities in a column for The CEO Magazine way back on 31 July, before the section 44 scandal broke.

How’s that holding up? Better than some of my efforts:

Barnaby Joyce is the sort of bloke who will happily have a smoke and a beer with anyone, a terrific natural politician, often frank and usually entertaining. He’s an ideal local MP. But as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, he is a man elevated above his level of competence.

I didn’t write this lightly. In general I am impressed by federal politicians, having seen a few of them fairly close-up. But sometimes it’s important to point out that someone has been given more responsibility than is good for the nation. Barnaby’s record is pretty clear.


  1. This and other CEO Magazine columns are here; follow me on Twitter @shorewalker1.[]

About David Walker

David Walker runs editorial consultancy Shorewalker DMS (, editing and advising business and government on reports and other editorial content. Newsletter: . Among other roles, David has edited the award-winning Acuity and INTHEBLACK magazines, been chief operating officer of online publisher WorkDay Media, held senior policy and communications roles at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia and the Business Council of Australia and run the website for online finance start-up eChoice. He is a former economics writer for The Age and News Ltd. He has qualifications in law and corporate finance.
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I am and will always be Not Trampis
I am and will always be Not Trampis
6 years ago

A quick look at the NZ website would have helped him

6 years ago

It’s not only Barnaby.

Since Mr Joyce was a New Zealand citizen, the New Zealand Parliament and its MPs have every right to discuss one of its citizens.

You’d wonder at the Australian Foreign Minister, and Attorney General not being able to see the great big hole opening up in front of them by suggesting that the NZ Parliament and MPs are doing anything wrong in bringing up one of its own citizens in its own chamber.

The further hole they are digging for themselves is this: if it is such a big deal that dual citizenship has led to this, how are they going to argue to the High Court that Mr Joyce’s dual citizenship is no big deal? The fact that it has caused a problem is hardly likely to help their case.

derrida derider
derrida derider
6 years ago

Leaving individuals out of it for a moment, it is not really unusual for a terrific local member to be a lousy Minister, and vice versa too. Politics and policy require different skill sets.

An effective local member has got to genuinely like and passionately care about the people he meets (which Barnaby obviously does); a good Minister should be knowledgeable, analytic-minded, workaholic and mildly introverted. Sometimes both sets of qualities are found in the same person – but sometimes not.

6 years ago

I think David and derrida derida are on the money here. I think the problem the Coalition have created with the agreements on the number and allocation of ministerial portfolios to the National Party is a real problem.

We end up with a bunch of National Party Ministers that either lack the analytical ability and/or end up in portfolios highly susceptible to rent seeking (agriculture, water, energy, mining etc.). They are easy targets for the professional rent seekers, and the consequence is an abundance of unintended consequences and poor fiscal management.

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