‘Prefer he wore a muzzle’: Readers respond to maskless Barnaby Joyce being fined

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No stranger to controversy, the resurrected Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce was caught not adhering to NSW COVID-19 restrictions inside a service station in Armidale a little over a week since he returned to the Coalition frontbench. Joyce proclaimed “that’s life” after he was fined $200 by NSW Police for not wearing a mask indoors. Readers were left appalled and angered that a public servant, who is supposed to be setting an example, could behave so carelessly.

The Deputy Prime Minister was fined $200 by NSW Police for not adhering to NSW COVID-19 restrictions.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Ghost of Phar Lap: “Let me get this right – $200 fine for not wearing a mask, fair enough. $0 fine for trying to destroy the environment at every opportunity and not believing in the established science of climate change? Hmm…”

jassycat: “Congratulations to the police officers. Without fear or favour.”

Wesn: “30 seconds? So, someone saw him maskless, called Crime Stoppers, and the police were there in 30 seconds? Or maybe the 54-year-old man can’t tell time, or tell the truth?”

rharley: “Deputy PM, it’s not a funny story to ignore COVID-19 safety requirements. Vote you out next election.”

Cranky old woman: “No public remorse. No ‘I am sorry’. No ‘It was a mistake’. No ‘I should have been more careful’. None of that. Instead we get ‘that’s life’. What a clown. This is the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. Is there anyone with less leadership ability and any more unsuited?”

GSR: “Sack him, again.”

RJR: “What a dolt and such an embarrassment that this guy is the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.”

Fin: “Would prefer he wore a muzzle.”

GaryF: “Barnaby, a man who strenuously strives to attain mediocrity, yet manages to consistently fail in his attempts to reach even this modest target. Or should I say horizon?”

Petern_2004: “That’s NOT life. That’s just irresponsible behaviour by the representative of the people of New England.”

KAM: ”Hard to believe his story. He was only in the store for 30 seconds, but that is long enough for a member of the public to recognise him, call the police, and the police arrive to catch him? Sounds like he was in the store for a lot longer than that.”

Horatio: “Does Joyce care about anyone other than himself?”

SteveP: “This is the best person the National Party can put forward? Deputy Prime Muppet of Australia?“

Gds Gds: “Well done Barnaby. Apparently protecting other people’s lives is for the ‘little people’. Sort of like ‘traditional values’.”

Afah0447: “We have seen this time and time again with conservative politicians during the pandemic, they just don’t think the rules apply to them.“

If Britney was Brian, would she be locked inside her home?

As Britney Spears fronted a Los Angeles court this week in a bid to end the tyrannical conservatorship forced upon her by her father since she was 26 years old, writer Julia Baird helped highlight the gendered inconsistencies in the family saga. Baird argued that if Britney was a man he would not have been subject to the same cruel conditions Spears has endured for the last 13 years. While some readers agreed with Baird’s opinion, others were quick to point out that Spears’ situation is not mutually exclusive to her gender.

Britney Spears performs during her 2004 world tour.Credit:AP

Impatiens: “If I were Britney, I’d be furious too. Worse than. It seems to me that if she weren’t ‘mad’ before, the injustice of her situation would make her so. I hope she wins this one.”

Rich Vegan: “There is no question that oppression of women is evident everywhere and of course this is wrong and unjust. However, I think we must also acknowledge the male-dominated system has failed us all.”

Justadare: “The Handmaid’s Tale is REAL!!!”

Lynette Chamas: “It’s abuse. Pure and simple.”

LisaP67: “Her situation is outrageous and appalling. Glad she has built up the strength to fight her father and the system.”

Bonnie: “I find the treatment of Britney Spears incomprehensible. It shouldn’t matter if she is mentally ill or not. She is entitled to do what she wants with her life and money. An audit of her financial records might be very revealing.”

Kinabalu_break: ”It would be interesting to know how much money has been taken from her assets to support those people keeping her under lock and key.”

orangesky: “Thank you for this article. I have worked in the legal (and mental health) fields and seen how badly women are treated by the courts compared to men. Britney has been treated terribly by a misogynistic and sexist society. Her father, the judges and others have all been men trying to control her and steal her money. It’s disgraceful and sexist and needs to stop. Men should have no say at all over women.”

Danzo: “Funny you should mention Brian. Are you not familiar with what happened to Brian Wilson? Beach Boys creative genius locked down, drugged, finances and life controlled for more then 10 years.“

Ross – Mallabula: “While I agree that Britney’s treatment is absurd and cruel, don’t forget that Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys spent years in similar circumstances after his breakdown. I think it is wealth rather than gender that is the major factor.”

Marcus Aurelius: This has also happened to males. Brian Wilson of Beach Boy fame and Mickey Rooney were given court-appointed conservators which lasted years. He was put under a conservator in the 1990’s. Abuse of the wealthy is not a gender-based issue.“

rb: “So, take a single case, turn it into a generalisation, with speculative ‘evidence’, then make it a statement about male vs female. And how is this helpful?”

DT2010: “Unfortunately history shows young men and boys who have these types of episodes mainly end up on the street and homeless. Statistics show parents give up alot quicker and more often on boys to fend for themselves. Check out the gender homeless statistics on rough sleeping. Why the disparity?”

Alan55: “A very similar conservatorship was awarded to ‘protect’ a man in California. The man was also a prominent musician of substantial earning capability. The conservator became abusive of the position, the conservatee eventually granted freedom through the courts and the conservator was punished. The life of Brian Wilson is well documented.“

Ross Carnsew: “I hope Britney wins. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys had his whole life taken over by his doctor. They weren’t even related! Nasty business.”

Will we ever find aliens?

How likely is it that we will ever find life outside of Earth? Since The Pentagon released a declassified report on an investigation into sightings of UFOs that even their own Department of Defence couldn’t explain at the end of June, that question is consistently being philosophised all across the world. While some readers believe that the universe is too large for other forms of intelligent life not to exist, others were lamenting over whether potential extra-terrestrials were even more intelligent for not attempting to contact us first.

Is this a UFO?Credit:AP

Buff: “I believe an alien civilisation started a space mission to investigate Earth soon after they received the first radio broadcasts from a hundred years ago. They were almost here when they then intercepted talkback radio and changed their minds, turned around and went back home.”

MickC: “Who says the earth has intelligent life?”

Derrick: “Maybe there has been an external presence here for a very long. It would explain the antics of the ancient gods, reported across multiple cultures and some very anomalous writings in the Old Testament.”

SBhatt: “The proof that there is intelligent life out there is that they have not tried to contact us.”

BillyBob: “I’m certain there is life out there somewhere, possibly in our own solar system. And further out possibly intelligent life. But they are so far away, we will never probably meet. Which may not be a bad thing for them, because humans can be a savage species. But why do most of these grainy ‘sighting’ photos always seem to come from the USA?”

Megaphone: “Avi Loeb has recently published an intriguing book called ” Extraterrestrial; The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth.” regarding a possible extraterrestrial spacecraft that flew in and out of our solar system a few years back. Regardless, the fact that officials are now willing to even consider such a possibility IMO means they’re real and out there.”

PC12: “It defies belief that there isn’t other life in our own galaxy little less the universe, of course there is. The same elements exist throughout the universe as do the laws of physics, albeit with many that we are not yet aware of. Of course the other possibility is that we are all little more than an ant farm for some far superior being’s amusement.”

MickyR: “Just looks like a bug or bird dropping on the windshield in that video to me! Why does it have to be a UFO? Laughable!”

RobOz: “Humans have been in existence for a mere blink of a cosmic eye. This angry and aggressive species will have a very short life span – probably far too short for any alien civilisation with interstellar travel capabilities to notice.”

Motormouth: “If aliens were visiting us, we’d have seen a hundred-fold increase in photographic evidence over the past 20 years, since we all started carrying cameras in our pockets. But we haven’t so it seems unlikely to me that any of these “sightings” are legitimate. As for life elsewhere in the universe, it would be extremely arrogant to think we are the only ones. However, the laws of physics and the tyranny of distance will almost certainly prevent us from ever finding them, much less getting to know them.”

CelestialFruitcake: “Our life seems an incredible luck of chance and the chances that other lifeforms will appear within the same coexisting timeframe seems awfully small. Still hopeful though – we’ll make a nice dinner… literally!”

[email protected]: “Let’s hope if we ever encounter an alien it’s not the giant squid wanting to eat us. It seems that most of life, no matter how large or microscopic would be happy to gobble us. Even life with our fellow humans and cousin Neanderthals has been tetchy. Whatever is out there, good chance it has an appetite or a bad temper.”

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