Barnaby Joyce’s return to the leadership of the Nationals and with that the Deputy Prime Ministership on Monday provoked a lot of mixed feelings around the nation.
Which got The Bug to wondering what the good folk of his federal electorate feel about his return to the second highest office in the land.
We sent out teams of reporters for this special voxpop and we must confess we were surprised by the amount of support for the colourful and outspoken local member from people selected at random from all around the sprawling New South Wales electorate.
Narelle, 25, barmaid, the Imperial Hotel, Armidale.
Of course I wish him well. We don’t have room service upstairs but after a long night’s drinking in the saloon bar once, Barnaby pleaded with me to bring some ham and cheese toasties up to his room. I still shake my head sometimes over the size of the tip he gave me.
Sharleen, 23, barmaid, The Top Pub, Uralla.
He’s lovely so of course I’m glad he’s made a political comeback. Someone told me once that BJ – sorry, Mr Joyce – was staying that night down at the bottom pub (The Thunderbolt Inn) which hurt me ‘cos we always have a lot of fun when he’s in town but then he came through the front door just on closing and rather sheepishly admitted he had chosen the other pub because it was a bit quieter and he could work on his drought envoy report but then admitted simply: “I struck out!” When I asked if that meant he had been unable to get any inspiration to write, he said: “No, I just struck out.”
Divinity, 26, barmaid, Tamworth Hotel, Tamworth.
A thumbs down from me. Actually, I find Barnaby Joyce to be a bit of a creep. Whenever he spends time in my bar facing the railway station, he just sits there staring at the shelves of whisky and rum bottles behind me.
Dawnie, 27, barmaid, Port Office Hotel, Tamworth.
Sure, I’ve got a soft spot for Barnaby so of course I’m glad he’s back. He often stayed here even though he lived in the town back then and he always flirted with me. I would never have succumbed to his charms but he finally convinced me his wife understood him.
Krista, 31, barmaid, Victoria Hotel, Moree
I love Barnaby to bits and I’m glad he’s back as Deputy PM but he really does need to control that bad temper of his. A couple of years ago he blew up in a fearful rage in our corner bar when he ran out of beer coasters to write his drought envoy findings on.
Shazza, 31, barmaid, Tattersalls Hotel, Narrabri.
I don’t mind admitting Barnaby and I go way back and he’ll always be a charismatic hunk of spunk for mine, so good for him, I say, and I hope he gives the Liberals hell! I first fell under his spell years ago when he was agriculture minister and came to town to see whether some properties on the main street he had an interest in would have their values impacted if water from the Namoi River would for any reason became more expensive. I still think we could be together but he always insisted we use only two position he called the “rugby ruck” and “the accountant’s abacus” and neither did anything much for me at all.