Let's recap Barnaby Joyce's first week back as Deputy Prime Minister.

Barnaby Joyce is certainly making up for lost time.

After a number of years on the backbench, Joyce is back as Australia's deputy prime minister. He lost the job in 2018 after a major scandal stemming from his extra-marital affair with a staffer who has now given birth to the couple's two children, as well as sexual harassment allegations he strongly denies.

He bided his time and recovered from a failed leadership spill attempt in February 2020, to topple former Nationals leader Michael McCormack at his second crack on June 21.

Watch: Explaining abortion to Uncle Barnaby. Post continues below video.

Video via Mamamia.

And since then, we can't turn anywhere without seeing or hearing from the newly reinstated deputy PM.

It started at his swearing in ceremony, when his toddler son attempted to gatecrash an official photograph with Scott Morrison, who had dialled in remotely.

It was toddlers being toddlers, and the most widely circulated images from the moment looked like this:

Barnaby Joyce moving his son, Sebastian, out of his photo with the Prime Minister. Image: AAP.


So far, so comical from the man best known around the world for picking a fight with Johnny Depp's dogs.

Unfortunately for Joyce, it was definitely not a sign of things to come. 

With one lighthearted news event out of the way, he has since faced a barrage of more troubling headlines.

On Wednesday, the day after being sworn in, reported Joyce had been renting out a four-bedroom house with a pool in Tamworth for $625 a week, but failed to declare the rental income to Parliament for months, until contacted by the publication.

Journalist Samantha Maiden reported the property was described as "residential" on the official register until Tuesday, after first contacted Joyce to query this.

RPdata records show it was listed for rent on February 10, 2021 for $625 per week by Ray White Tamworth, meaning the rental income could be as high as $10,000.

The following day, he found himself the subject of a COVID-19 scare while at Parliament.

On Thursday, June 24, Leader of the House Peter Dutton said Joyce was a "possible close contact" of a confirmed case in Question Time.

Shortly after, Joyce entered the chamber, causing confusion. He answered questions like nothing had happened before clarifying he had sought further information and was found out to not be a close contact after all.

Christian Porter and Barnaby Joyce arrive for Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House on June 23, 2021. Image: Getty.


That same day, Joyce's appointment to the cabinet task force on women's safety and economic security, replacing McCormack, drew criticism.

The task force was established after the government was rocked by allegations of toxic treatment of women in Canberra and criticism over its handling of former staffer Brittany Higgins, who alleged she was raped at Parliament House.

Joyce resigned as deputy prime minister in 2018 after being accused of sexual harassment. He fiercely denied the allegations.

Shadow Minister for Women Tanya Plibersek said it was "beyond farce" that Joyce be involved in the panel, while Greens Senator Larissa Waters described it as "unbelievable".


This could have been foreseen: National Party MPs Anne Webster and Michelle Landry both warned against his reinstatement as deputy PM, saying many women would be unimpressed. 

To round out Joyce's first working week back, a West Australian MP used parliamentary privilege to raise historic claims of sexual misconduct by him.

Labor's Jackie Jarvis spoke in the WA upper house early on Friday saying she wanted to "set the record straight" about allegations made by a woman in relation to Joyce several years ago.

She also said she had been warned Joyce was known to grope women.


Joyce released a brief statement saying the WA MP's statement was politically-motivated. 

"What a Labor Party person says about me at 2am under parliamentary privilege a number of days after I have been sworn in is politically understandable but defamatory and spurious," he said.

Image: Getty.

Rather than take the weekend off, Joyce spent his weekend finalising the reshuffling of his cabinet. 

While this was reported, the news was overshadowed by unsavoury comments about Melbourne, the Australian location hit hardest by lockdowns and outbreaks throughout the pandemic.

Joyce was asked during an interview with News Corp Australia whether the nation needed to move on from the idea of having zero COVID-19 cases.

He said yes, which prompted further questioning about whether that view would be unpopular in the Victorian capital.

"Of course," he replied. "But in country areas we couldn't really give a sh*t. We've got record exports of coal. Record exports of beef. But we look at Melbourne, and go, you can almost smell the burning flesh from here."

Online, his comments were immediately slammed. Andrew Giles, a Labor frontbencher from the suburban Melbourne seat of Scullin, labelled them unworthy of someone in public office.


"The remarks are disgusting, divisive and unworthy of the office of the deputy prime minister, indeed of any holder of public office," he said.

"People in Melbourne have done it tough and right now I'm thinking of those around the country who are also feeling anxious. The deputy prime minister should extend the same courtesy.

"People may have seen Barnaby Joyce as something like a harmless joke but now we're seeing something that is entirely unworthy of Australia's deputy prime minister.

"It's not hard to show leadership, it's not hard to show empathy, and all he seems to have done is set out to offend a large group of people for no particular reason."

Nationals minister Darren Chester, who is from regional Victoria and was dumped from Joyce's reshuffled cabinet, said his boss' flaming of the divide between city and country was "so old school", and no "help to Australia".

Then on Monday, less than a week in the job, Joyce was fined for breaching an order under the NSW Public Health Act while much of the state faces a renewed, major threat from the Delta variant of COVID-19.

A member of the public in the National leader's home town of Armidale alerted Crime Stoppers after he was spotted without a face mask while paying for petrol after filling up at the bowser.


Police say they checked the service station's CCTV and issued a $200 fine to a 54-year-old man for breaching an order under the NSW Public Health Act.

Joyce on Tuesday told Sky News he'd simply forgotten to put a mask on.

"I was on my way to the airport, forgot about putting on the mask, bang 200 bucks," he said.

"[I] accept it, take it on the chin.

"We've all got to do the right thing, including politicians."

All of this has happened in just seven days, and does not even touch on the political headache Joyce's appointment is causing the Liberal Party over the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Last week, the Nationals sidelined the Libs by attempting to legislate changes to water policy that would ensure no more water was bought back from farmers to be returned to the environment.

It didn't work, and was mostly seen as a stunt, but it alienated their coalition partners.

Then on June 29, Joyce told Alan Jones Australia needed high-efficiency, low-emission coal power stations, going against the views of many in the Coalition who have made it clear they will not support new coal-fired power.

It's only been eight days since Joyce was sworn in, and each subsequent headline has compounded his persona as a disruptive rogue. 

Oh yes. Joyce is back to cause a headache, both in and out of Parliament House.

Feature image: Getty.