Election season is wild enough for us regular folk, let alone for the people who stand to lose their jobs at the end of it. Ask Barnaby Joyce – deputy prime minister, proud nemesis of small dogs, and sworn enemy of anti-mining advocates in his electorate of New England.

According to Fairfax, last night was especially rough for the bloke; only a few days after being harangued for his stance on coal mining by local anti-mining advocate Nicola Chirlian on Q&A, Joyce told Chirlian to ‘piss off’ three times during an exchange at a pub in Uralla. 

Chirlian claims it went down like this: she saw him at the public bar, so she decided to go up and ask our Minister for Agriculture to attend an upcoming forum on the Shenhua coal mine in the region’s farmland. 

He left for the men’s. Upon returning, Chirlian asked again, at which point Joyce unloaded. Chirlian says “he got really quite loud, other people in our group who were in the other room could hear him.”

“He was physically quite close. He’s a big bloke and I’m 5″6 and coming up on 60 years-old. I was pretty shocked.”

Witnesses report a worker at the Top Pub had to stick their arm between Chirlian and Joyce after he let her have it. 

Another witness provided some form of justification, claiming Chirlian and a friend “were absolutely in his face. They wouldn’t go away.

He asked them to go away and, yes, he did say ‘piss off’ eventually but they kept following him. 

We yelled across to the bar staff to intervene but it was more about getting the woman away from Barnaby Joyce.”

A statement from the Deputy PM asserts the same viewpoint, but good Lord – justified or not, after facing such strong opposition on Q&A, this is most definitely not the kind of thing Joyce would want following him around. 

Bring on July 2. Please. 

Source: The Age.
Photo: Mark Kolbe / Getty.