Since I drafted this, a Writers’ Festival spokesman responded to critics by calling them dickheads on Twitter.
To begin: for those of you who don’t know, Barnaby Joyce was, until recently, Australia’s deputy prime minister (think vice president). It was then discovered that he – a married man with four daughters – had been having an affair with a younger staffer, that she was pregnant, and that he was leaving his wife.
When he got into trouble professionally because of his actions, more than once he threw his pregnant girlfriend under the bus to try and save himself.
Since then, both his wife and his daughters have heavily campaigned against the man, which tells you all you need to know about his character.
Additionally, he screwed Canberra (you know, the city he’s been invited to speak in!) over by stealing many, many government jobs and moving them out to his country Australia electorate. His greatest career “achievement” (unless you count his infamous, international fight with Johnny Depp and Amber Heard over pet dogs) is doing terrible things to Canberrans.
Hey, guys: you know Joyce isn’t a writer. You KNOW this. His “tell-all” book, haphazardly slapped together in recent months to cash in on his infamously appalling treatment of women, does not make him a writer any more than his trashy “current affairs” show appearances he’s making big money off do.
The only reason he’s been invited alongside REAL writers is because you know it’ll bring the people in. It’s like putting someone from the Kindergym program on the Olympic gymnastics team. It’s nominating the Relief Wrap infomercial cast for Oscars.
What are you trying to achieve by inviting a rabid misogynist to a writers’ festival in Australia’s most progressive city? (Those aren’t empty words; we, for example, legalised same-sex marriage four years before anybody else, and had by FAR the highest “yes” vote at a federal level last year.)
Your belligerent defence of yourself on social media – arguing semantics to try and get out of hot water – only makes you look like arses.
You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.