Barnaby Joyce has arrived back in Canberra after a video emerged of the Nationals MP lying on a Canberra pavement talking loudly into his mobile phone.
Video published by USA Online Post Australia on Friday showed the shadow cabinet member, 56, sitting on the ground in the inner suburb of Braddon after sitting on a planter box last Wednesday night and falling.
The former deputy prime minister could be heard muttering into the phone while flat on his back on the ground, including one outburst where he said, ‘dead f***ing c***’.
The video, taken in Lonsdale Street, which has since gone viral, has led to questions about the former deputy prime minister’s suitability to sit on the opposition bench.
Mr Joyce arrived at parliament almost an hour after Question Time began on Monday, ahead of a National Party Room meeting.
Barnaby Joyce arrived at parliament almost an hour after Question Time began on Monday, ahead of a National Party Chamber meeting
The Nationals MP said he admitted he had made a mistake.
“Look, obviously I made a big mistake,” Mr Joyce told Seven’s Sunrise program on Monday.
‘There is no excuse for that.
“There’s a reason … they say certain things happen to you when you drink (while on medication) and they were absolutely, 100 percent, right.”
Nationals leader David Littleproud said Mr Joyce had business he needed to work through but hoped he would return to work in the afternoon or later in the week – although the party’s meeting was planned for Monday.
“It is something he is deeply embarrassed about,” Mr Littleproud told Sky News.
“He has made it very clear that this is not normal behavior that he is engaging in and there are mitigating circumstances around that and of course we will support him to make sure that, anything that he does need, he gets.”
Mr Littleproud previously said he would speak to Mr Joyce about the behavior seen in the video, as well as his position on the opposition front bench.
The Government called on the Coalition to answer for Mr Joyce’s actions, with Finance Minister Katy Gallagher saying the situation was ‘incredibly sad’.
“These things do nothing for the profession of politicians … they confirm, in people’s minds, the public’s mind, negative association with politics, and I think that’s a real shame,” she told ABC radio.
“But personally I hope he gets the help he needs because it’s a very unusual position for someone of that age to be in.”
Barnaby Joyce returned to parliament for the first time since the video scandal
Mr Joyce looked embarrassed when he returned to parliament on Monday
Labor MP Tania Lawrence said the behavior of the Nationals MP was embarrassing.
“We are role models for our community young and old, we represent Australia to the international dignitaries and visitors we meet every week,” she told parliament.
“We are under the spotlight, and we have to act accordingly, and if we can’t, then we also have to be able to understand that there is not a single member here who is irreplaceable.”
Sources told USA Online Post Australia that the Nationals front bencher was sitting on the large potted plant while having an animated phone conversation with his wife, Vikki Campion, when he fell down, ‘rolled around’ on the ground and continued his call has.
Mr Joyce later hit back at the embarrassing clip, saying: ‘If I had known someone was there with a camera I would have stood up quicker.’
Mr Joyce has since blamed mixing alcohol with medication for his behaviour
His father-in-law, Peter Campion, branded the politician a ‘shocker’ because he was on a course of medication.
‘He’s on to something. I know when it comes to medicine he’s a shocker,’ he told USA Online Post Australia.
‘Vikki is always with him to take them and he doesn’t.
“He forgets to take them, forgets to keep the course of whatever he is.”
Mr. Campion has mr. Joyce defends by saying how his son-in-law received devastating family news on the day of the incident.
‘He’s already lost a brother to cancer, that’s where you have to start. He had some very bad similar news, unknown to me, but of the same scale and it affected him deeply,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Joyce’s ex-wife and mother of his four grown-up daughters, Natalie Abberfield, told USA Online Post Australia on Monday: ‘I hope he is OK.’
‘I’m not going to say more. It’s his private life. I’m not in his life anymore.’
Barnaby Joyce is pictured with his wife Vikki Campion on Tuesday – the day before the scene in Lonsdale Street. Her father, Peter, said the politician received devastating family news on the day of the incident