As part of the campaign to get rid of Morrison from the leadership of the Liberal Party after the diabolically bad Newspoll numbers, Barnaby Joyce’s text message to Brittany Higgin (via a third party) from March 2021, was leaked. At the time he sent the message, Joyce was a backbencher, not having yet unseated the previous incumbent, Michael McCormack. In this text message, Joyce said that he did not “get along” with Morrison and that Morrison “is a hypocrite and a liar from my observations and that is over a long time,” and “I have never trusted him, and I dislike how earnestly [he] rearranges the truth to a lie”1.
This comes on top of text messages between former New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian and a current federal minister (rumoured to be Foreign Minister Marise Payne, although she has denied this) in which Berejiklian described Morrison as a “horrible, horrible person” and the federal minister described him as a fraud and an “absolute psycho”2.
Joyce found out that his text message to Higgins would be made public, and apologised to Morrison in advance, on Thursday, the 3rd of February3. Seemingly embarrassed, Joyce was contrite and said “I have unreservedly apologised to the Prime Minister for my comments”. “It is common knowledge that in the past the Prime Minister and I had not always seen eye to eye. But I have worked extremely closely with the Prime Minister over the last seven months since I returned to the role of Deputy Prime Minister; and the Prime Minister is a person of high integrity and honesty in what is possibly the most difficult job in the nation”4.
So, Joyce calls someone of ‘high integrity and honesty’ a ‘liar and hypocrite’ if he doesn’t see eye to eye with them. That seems rather vindictive.
Joyce said that he offered to resign, presumably as Deputy Prime Minister, on the Thursday, but Morrison refused to accept his resignation. Joyce is the leader of the Parliamentary National Party and that party’s agreement with the Liberal Party has their leader as Deputy Prime Minister in a coalition government, and he cannot be sacked or otherwise removed from the Deputy Prime Ministership. This was demonstrated back in 2018, when then Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, could only ask Joyce to “consider his position” rather than sack him, after another of Joyce’s numerous transgressions5. So, Joyce’s offer to resign is just another load of meaningless performative pap from him, and from Morrison.