Barnaby Joyce could learn a lot from Karl Stefanovic
Barnaby Joyce could learn a lot from Karl Stefanovic when it comes to making a comeback.
Where one man's exile appears to be coming to an end, another's is steadily careering further and further into the abyss.
Less than one year on from being unceremoniously axed from The Today Show, it was announced last week that Stefanovic is set to return to the show's co-host chair in 2020.
The announcement comes on the back of three years of highly publicised drama surrounding Stefanovic. It began with his split from his wife of 21 years Cassandra Thorburn and was promptly followed by his new relationship with Jasmine Yarborough just months later; his former Today co-host Lisa Wilkinson resigning due to a pay parity dispute; a leaked phone conversation between he and his brother bagging Channel 9 colleagues and bosses; and finally, his over the top three-day-long wedding to Yarborough in Mexico. Soon after the extravaganza, Channel 9 announced that after 14 years, Stefanovic was being dropped from the breakfast show.
Like Stefanovic, Joyce's public woes in recent years have been well documented and equally, if not more, shambolic. There was his separation from his wife of 24 years, Natalie Joyce; the confirmation of his relationship and pregnancy with a former staffer, Vikki Campion; his resignation as National Party leader; his acceptance of $150,000 for a tell-all interview; his assertion that changes to NSW abortion laws were "effectively infanticide on demand"; his nonsensical interview with Patricia Karvelas where, instead of answering legitimate questions surrounding the water buyback scandal he simply yelled the word "Labor", and admissions that he still holds out hope of returning to his party's top spot sooner rather than later.
This week, while his party's place in the Coalition is under more stress than ever before, Joyce decided once more to make headlines and declare that those who lost their lives to bushfires sweeping the east coast of Australia "most likely" voted for the Greens, as though that somehow justifies the unfathomable tragedy.
Rather than following Stefanovic's lead and keeping his head down and mouth shut, Joyce appears to be self-immolating to the point of no return. Karl, on the other hand, is having most of what was lost returned to him less than one year on.
What Joyce either seems to not yet have realised (or potentially just not care about) is that deep down, Australians don't mind all that much if you stuff up. As a nation, we tend to be a pretty forgiving bunch to the point of it often being detrimental.
But fairness is one of the most fundamental tenets of our national identity. If you do the crime, you have to be willing to do the time. Preferably quietly, because nobody likes a whinger.
Of his return to the show, Stefanovic is said to be "shocked" but excited.
"It's a big job with enormous pressures … but it is also without question the best live TV job in Australia."
But of the shame he has brought to parliament and his electorate, Joyce can still be found ranting, pointing blame at others, digging the hole he may well bury himself alive in deeper and deeper and insisting everyone outside of himself is the real problem.
During a 2GB radio interview between the two on Wednesday, a collected Stefanovic calmly asked Joyce why the NSW National Party hadn't been able to secure better land clearing powers to help prevent bushfires.
"I have no idea," Joyce replied, "it's not my problem."
And oddly enough, he's right. His biggest problem right now is himself.
Perhaps next time they talk, Stefanovic can let Joyce know that in order to be a comeback kid you have to play by the rules.