Nationals MP says critics ‘wantonly misrepresenting’ bushfire comments

MP Barnaby Joyce pushed back against critics who he says misrepresented his recent comments that two Australians killed in bushfires were probably Greens.

In an interview with Sky News, while arguing that local communities required more resources to complete hazard-reduction burns, Joyce stated, “And that’s the crazy thing there, and I acknowledge that the two people who died were most likely people who voted for the Green party, so I am not going to start attacking them. That’s the last thing I want to do.”

Joyce was slammed for his comments, which many viewed as insensitive and gratuitous. But Joyce told The New Daily that his critics were “wantonly misrepresenting” what he said and meant.

“My point is I was saying ‘just be careful, you don’t understand’. If you came into my community and talked to them … I am not having a go at the Greens, I think that’s completely wrong,” he said, adding:

“The people who live there are in a commune basically. Wytaliba is an alternative community. They don’t vote for me, they vote for Greens, and I’ve got no problem with it. They agree there should have been more burn reduction, fuel reduction.”

Joyce didn’t mince words when addressing his political opponents.

“They themselves are choosing to turn this into a political issue, rather than give a shit about people who are dealing with it. That’s completely out of order. Absolutely. Because two of them are dead. People have wantonly misunderstood me.”

One such opponent is Labor senator Kristina Keneally, who said Joyce was out of line.

“How does he know who they voted for and why does it matter?” she said. “They’re dead, they died in a bushfire. Isn’t that enough?”

In his interview with The New Daily, Joyce added that his parents’ home is currently in the path of a fire:

“By the way, I’ve got a fire going to my place, so I am desperate to get there to fight it. I am the next place across. It’s my parents’ place. I am desperately trying, trying to rig up stuff to protect the house.”