According to the Federal Government, Hollywood star Johnny Depp illegally entered the country with the two pet yorkshire terriers after failing to have them cleared with Australia’s bio-security authorities. The incident drew fighting words from the LNP Minister Barnaby Joyce, who was gloating at the final outcome.
“Dogs gone,” the Agriculture Minister tweeted on Friday night. “Two dogs that were brought into Australia without meeting our import requirements have now been exported back to their country of origin,” Mr. Joyce continued. “The department issued the necessary export documentation and correspondence to the relevant veterinary authority to facilitate the repatriation of the dogs. All costs associated with returning the dogs were met by the owners.”
But on social media and out in the general public, the Minister’s previous threat of euthanasia drew a starkly different response. Within hours, a Change.org petition was calling on the Government to abandon its tough position on the two cute Yorkshire Terriers. Echoing that sentiment, social media was rife with support for the star, who was in Australia to film the latest instalment of the ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ franchise.
Mr. Joyce’s public statements were perhaps overly crude; at one stage, he even told the star to ‘bugger off’ back to Hollywood with his dogs! These comments drew the ire of the Opposition, who lambasted the Minister for attempting to blame Mr. Depp for the serious bio-security breach.
In a later statement, Mr. Joyce seemed to want to re-iterate the logical basis for his outlandish actions.
“To protect Australia from exotic pests and diseases that can seriously harm humans, animals and our economy,” he explained. “Dogs can potentially carry a range of diseases including rabies, ehrlichia, leishmania and leptospirosis. These diseases are not present in Australia and some can seriously affect people.”
Despite his best efforts, Mr. Joyce could not re-set the situation. Before the departure of the two dogs- Boo and Pistol- he was openly ridiculed by Sydney shock jock and KIIS host Kyle Sandilands. Not known for his subtlety, Mr. Sandilands slammed the Minister for poor public form.
“You sound like an absolute clown telling the guy to bugger off back to Hollywood or we’ll kill his dogs. You sound like an idiot,” Mr. Sandilands chortled. “You’re a government minister, not some idiot off the street mouthing off to a news camera. Have some decency.”
Not to be out-done by a fellow professional big-mouth, Mr. Joyce fired back almost instantly: “Jeez Kyle, that seems interesting coming from you mate. You’re a savage little man, aren’t you?”
It’s not a good look for a Minister who is having trouble shaking off the perception that he’s overly combative and out of control. For that matter, it’s not a good look for a Government that’s already on the electoral ropes.
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