Barnaby Joyce asked to take leave after he ’embarrassed himself’

The Nationals have “strongly encouraged” Barnaby Joyce to take time off to address personal issues after the former deputy prime minister was filmed lying on a Canberra pavement.

Feb 14, 2024, updated Feb 14, 2024
Photo: AAP

Photo: AAP

Video published online by The Daily Mail showed the Nationals MP lying on the ground speaking loudly into his phone in the inner suburb of Braddon after falling off a planter box.

Joyce’s future on the opposition front bench has been under a cloud and while his position is unchanged, party leader David Littleproud confirmed on Wednesday the member for New England had been asked to take leave.

“This wasn’t normal behaviour and Barnaby’s embarrassed himself and his family,” he said.

“He needs to make sure he addresses this and the best way, we believe, is for him to take a break to get himself sorted and then come back when he’s done that.

“I’ve strongly encouraged him to take that leave … and to give comfort and confidence to both myself and to Peter Dutton that he has addressed these issues.”

Joyce, 56, who is the opposition veteran’s affairs spokesman, has admitted to making a “big mistake” and blamed his behaviour on a mixture of alcohol and prescription drugs, adding “there’s no excuse for it”.

Littleproud said Joyce was being supported.

“These are deeply personal circumstances that Barnaby needs to address and it’s beyond the medication,” Littleproud said.

“I don’t want to overreach into people’s lives – that’s not my job – but my job is to create the environment, to know he is supported.”.

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Asking on Monday if he was angry someone filmed the incident rather than helping him, Joyce said “that’s a question for them”.

“To me, the Good Samaritan was the Indian taxi driver who pulled over as I was walking home and said ‘do you need a lift mate?’, which I obviously did,” he said.

– with AAP

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