Federal Agriculture Minister, deputy Nationals leader and War On Terrier-instigator Barnaby Joyce has pulled out of the coming episode of Q&A, revealing that Prime Minister Tony Abbott is still stroppy and has forbidden his frontbenchers from appearing on the show.
“The Prime Minister has communicated that he does not want any frontbencher to appear on Q&A,” said a representative for Joyce overnight.
“Barnaby was told this tonight and apologised to Q&A that he would not be able to appear.”
In the days following the now-infamous Zaky Mallah incident, Joyce said that it was an “absurdity” to have him appear on the program, he was satisfied that the ABC were “dealing with that issue now”.
It is understood that the show will not seek to replace Joyce with another government minister, and that host Tony Jones will address the issue directly when the show airs on Monday night.
This also puts Malcolm Turnbull in an interesting position. The Communications Minister, who previously said that he would not support a boycott of Q&A, is due to appear on next week’s episode.
“We need to take advantage of every platform that’s available,” he said, indicating that he was happy to appear on ABC programs, including Q&A, even if an “error of judgement” had been made with Mallah.
Turnbull has not yet made a statement on whether he will defy the Prime Minister and appear as scheduled.
Image via Q&A