Dear Mr Joyce,
It has come to my attention your media advisor is currently on maternity leave, so attached is my application for what I understand to be a challenging role.
Although I may not be able to offer all the services rendered by your previous staff member, I do believe I can offer some guidance in the realm of media affairs (oops strike that, let’s call it media “image”).
The following are the key takeaways that I recommend we address:
Stay on message
As a politician I’m sure you appreciate the importance of staying “on message” and being consistent in your point of view. I fear you have strayed from the messaging path you once so fearlessly trod in those Blundstone boots and Akubra.
If you feel compelled to discuss “traditional family” and take a standpoint on who can marry whom in a debate on same sex marriage, it could be construed as “off message” to dissolve your traditional marriage of 24 years and run off with your staffer.
A refresher on “privacy”
According to the Oxford dictionary “privacy” means the state of being free from public attention. Earlier this year you asked the media to give you just that.
Selling your story in a bidding war between Channel 9 and 7, could be viewed as foregoing that right. And if I could hazard a guess, I’d say the media gloves are now off.
Know your constituents
Politics is all about profile and aligning yourself with your constituents. I was just wondering if you realised, 51.1 per cent of yours in New England are female.
Sorry to say, Barnaby, I have a sneaking suspicion they may be none too pleased. I know you’re a man of agriculture, but your tilling of the soil in recent times has struck a very real nerve.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and your electorate features 78,795 of them.
Be wary the Teflon coating
Sure, politics is about cultivating the touch of Teflon where nothing sticks but be careful about how you apply it.
If you’re talking about your extra marital relationship, don’t bring the paternity of your child into debate.
If you’re accepting cash for an interview, don’t counter with the claim your partner made you do it. (Shifting the blame didn’t go down well for Adam and Eve, and it’s not playing out well for you now).
Perhaps, take on board the words of Keating (Ronan, not Paul) when it comes to affairs of the heart. It could be sage advice indeed that: “You say it best when you say nothing at all”.
You are far from the only politician in Australian or international history to have sewn the occasional wild oats. Former PM Bob Hawke and his biographer Blanche d’Alpuget spring to mind as do Kennedy and Marilyn, Clinton and Lewinsky. And indeed, you have paid a hefty price both personally and professionally.
Yes, you made a “shocking error of judgement" that "set off a world of woe", but that isn’t why you find yourself adrift in media infested waters, at the centre of a feeding frenzy.
Your real crime is that you haven’t yet extracted that Blundstone boot from your mouth. Should you need assistance, a shoe horn and my details are attached.
Have your say on Barnaby here.
Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer with 20 years’ journalism experience. She loves a good old-fashioned story and getting to the heart of a great yarn. She’s also a mum to three children who have encouraged her to hone some secret skills. Nimbly navigating Lego pieces left on her loungeroom floor and creating stylish Barbie attire from all manner of household objects are just a couple of credentials she’s recently added to her resume.