Senator Joyce has been ranked No. 19 … and rising … in The Australian newspaper’s 2012 Top 50 list of Most Influential People In Politics (story behind paywall; my emphasis added):
Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Water Reform, Leader of the Nationals in the Senate
Joyce holds a minor portfolio in the opposition, has been in politics less than seven years, yet is one of just a handful of politicians known simply by their first name.
Joyce’s sway inside the Coalition and his access to Tony Abbott can be measured by the resentment he causes to senior Liberals and his fellow Nationals, which is considerable.
Other senior Coalition figures, like frontbencher Christopher Pyne, have considerable influence over their leader. But none are admired by him to the same extent as Barnaby Joyce.
Abbott branded Joyce the nation’s best retail politician. Perhaps he sees something of himself in the fast talking bush accountant from St George.
The once floor-crossing Joyce is an unreconstructed nationalist, a populist and trenchant opponent of monopolistic big business and debt.
His views give shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey heartburn. Hockey does not so much fear Joyce, he worries more that Abbott is too easily persuaded by Joyce’s arguments.
Along with Cory Bernardi in the Liberals, Joyce led the rearguard action for the Coalition to drop its support for a carbon emissions trading scheme, permitting Abbott to abandon the policy and precipitating the end of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership.
Global warming skeptic, master of the mangled metaphor and practiced in the art of “Joh (Bjelke-Petersen) speak”, Joyce makes for good television. He is a contrast from his scripted and media-trained peers.
However, his folksy image discredits a well-read mind, a politician with an intimate understanding of small business, and a keen historian.
Dropped from the shadow finance portfolio because of his supposed wild rhetoric including foretelling the possibility of the US defaulting on its debt, Joyce is now a folk hero east of the divide in his new lower profile water reform role.
Trenchant opponent of monopolistic big business … and debt.
Led action to drop support for carbon emissions trading.
Global warming skeptic.
Intimate understanding of small business.
Sound like fine qualities for a national leader. Especially in these troubled economic times.
How does our current PM compare?
Liar (but I repeat myself).
Barnaby for PM.