Australian deputy prime minister ousted via untested sexual harassment allegation
24 February 2018
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, the leader of the rural-based National Party, was forced to resign yesterday, just hours after Murdoch tabloids ran sensational headlines about an untested “complaint” of sexual harassment by a Western Australian agricultural industry spokeswoman.
Joyce is a reactionary right-wing populist. But the anti-democratic method—now the modus operandi of the #MeToo “sexual misconduct” witch hunt—used by the media and political establishment to politically assassinate him, points to underlying calculations that have nothing to do with personal morality. It demonstrates, once again, how unsubstantiated accusations can be deployed against anyone, in pursuit of a political agenda.
The unprecedented removal of such a pivotal figure in the Liberal-National Coalition government also throws into further doubt the future of the already fragile and deeply unpopular government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Over the last eighteen months, Joyce has played a key role in shoring up the government’s rural and regional base, amid rising social and economic discontent.
During the past decade, not a single Australian federal government has lasted a full three-year term. The ousting of Joyce is yet another symptom of the degeneration and decay of bourgeois parliamentary rule, and of the century-old Coalition itself.
Until Thursday, Joyce had continued to insist that he would not quit, despite the relentless publicity surrounding his relationship with a former staff member, who is now expecting his child. Then, suddenly, he called a media conference yesterday to quit his political posts. The Western Australian complaint, he…