Barnaby Joyce has returned to Canberra, after video emerged of the Nationals MP lying on a Canberra sidewalk talking loudly on his mobile phone.
Video published by Daily Mail Australia on Friday showed the shadow cabinet member, 56, on the ground in the inner suburb of Braddon after sitting on a flower pot and falling on Wednesday night.
The former deputy prime minister could be heard muttering into the phone while on his back on the ground, including one outburst in which he said: “dead, you f***ing c***.”
The video taken on Lonsdale Street, which has since gone viral, has raised questions about the former deputy prime minister’s fitness to sit on the opposition front bench.
Joyce arrived in parliament almost an hour after question time began on Monday, ahead of a meeting in the National party room.
Barnaby Joyce arrived in parliament almost an hour after question time began on Monday, ahead of a meeting in the National party room.
The national deputy said he admitted he had made a mistake.
“Look, I obviously made a big mistake,” Joyce told Seven’s Sunrise program on Monday.
‘There is no excuse for it.
“There’s a reason…they say certain things happen to you if you drink (while taking medication) and they were absolutely right, 100 percent.”
Nationals leader David Littleproud said Joyce had matters he needed to resolve but hoped to return to work in the afternoon or later in the week, although the party meeting is scheduled for Monday.
“This is something he is deeply ashamed of,” Littleproud told Sky News.
“He has made it very clear that this is not normal behavior that he engages in and that there are extenuating circumstances surrounding it and obviously we will support him to make sure that whatever he needs he gets.”
Littleproud had previously said he would speak to Joyce about the behavior seen in the video, as well as his position on the opposition front.
The government has called on the coalition to answer for 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, in the public’s mind, a negative association with politics, and I think that’s a real shame,” he told ABC radio.
“But I personally hope he gets the help he needs because it’s a very unusual situation for someone that age.”
Barnaby Joyce returns to parliament for the first time since the video scandal
Joyce looked embarrassed when he returned to parliament on Monday.
Labor MP Tania Lawrence said the National MP’s behavior was disgraceful.
“We are examples to our community, young and old, we represent Australia to the dignitaries and international visitors we meet every week,” he told parliament.
“We are in the spotlight and we must act accordingly, and if we cannot, then we must also be able to understand that there is not a single member here who is irreplaceable.”
Sources told Daily Mail Australia that the Nationals leader was sitting in a large flower pot while having an animated telephone conversation with his wife, Vikki Campion, when he fell, “rolled” on the floor and continued his call.
Joyce later responded to the embarrassing clip, saying: “If I’d known there was someone there with a camera I would have gotten up quicker.”
Joyce has since blamed mixing alcohol with medication for her behavior.
His father-in-law, Peter Campion, called the politician a “surprise” for taking medication.
‘He’s onto something. I know when it comes to medication, it’s a surprise,” he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Vikki always asks him to take them and he doesn’t.
“You forget to take them, you forget to follow the course of whatever you’re doing.”
Campion defended Joyce, saying his son-in-law had received devastating family news on the day of the incident.
‘He already lost a brother to cancer, that’s what you have to start with. He had similar very bad news, which is not my place to divulge but of the same magnitude and it affected him deeply,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Joyce’s ex-wife and mother of his four adult daughters, Natalie Abberfield, told Daily Mail Australia on Monday: “I hope he’s okay.”
‘I will not say anything else. 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 on Lonsdale Street. His father, Peter, has said the politician received devastating family news on the day of the incident.