Canberra culture

Just when everyone thought it couldn’t get any worse … it has.
As our politicians in Canberra blundered around late last year like an unsteady drunk between one citizenship debacle and another, the voters watched on with increasing disbelief.
Then, with the Christmas/New Year break offering some rare clean air, many people were brave enough to think the shenanigans of 2017 were consigned to history and our elected representatives would put their shoulders to the wheel and concentrate on improving the country.
After all, that’s what they were elected for.
And then along came Barnaby.
The Deputy Prime Minister has single- handedly torpedoed the Coalition Government with his extra-marital affair with a staff member, who is now expecting his baby.
But as if this whole tawdry affair wasn’t bad enough, the Prime Minister has kicked an embarrassing ‘own goal’ by suddenly declaring Ministers cannot have sexual relationships with staff.
Backbenchers okay, Ministers, no.
This reactionary ill-thought-out decree has made the private lives of all Ministers fair game for the media. Welcome to the new low in political reporting.
This will not be the media’s fault as the public deserve to know whether Ministers are operating within the rules – whether it be travel entitlements or accepting gifts.
Such stories shine a harsh light on deceit and are a valuable tool in keeping politicians honest. Remember Bronwyn Bishop and ‘choppergate’?
This whole sorry saga has further exacerbated the public’s distrust in our Federal politicians.
It is galling to realise the PM – now positioning himself as some sort of moral champion – knew full well of his deputy’s “shocking” behavior during the recent New England by-election but stayed mute.
His subsequent outrage – conveniently after the by-election win and the congratulatory front bar beers with salt-of-the-earth Barnaby for the cameras – makes Mr Turnbull look like a cheap political opportunist.
The cheating behavior of Mr Joyce is apparently not isolated with those on the inside declaring there and plenty of others.
It is interesting to note that former Mayo MP Jamie Briggs was sacked from his Ministry in late 2015 for a drunken kiss and alleged unwanted attentions towards a woman in a Hong Kong bar.
But Barnaby, who has impregnated his employee, has declared he’s staying put.
The Canberra political culture seems shamefully toxic.