ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has credited his newfound youthful appearance to a significant lifestyle change: giving up alcohol and cigarettes.

The decision to quit came after Joyce was filmed by bystanders in February, lying on a Canberra footpath during an upside-down phone call, mumbling incoherently. The bizarre footage, which showed the politician calling someone or himself a “dead fucking cunt”, quickly went viral, prompting a major wake-up call for Joyce.

Reflecting on the incident, Joyce admitted it was a turning point.

“Seeing myself like that was a big reality check,” he said.

“Although, it was the prescription medication that sent me sideways that night. I can enjoy 10 stubbies at a function and still be able to hold court. I am a member of the NSW National Party, not the Glen Innes Bridge Club.”

Since then, Joyce has dropped the darts and grog cold turkey, like a real man.

The results, he claims, have been transformative.

“I feel ten years younger,” he said, sporting a noticeable glow.

“My skin is clearer, I have more energy. My hair has grown back. I feel as if I could rip the doors off a Nissan Patrol with my bare hands. I could fight a medium-sized dog like a labrador or standard dachshund to the death – and win.”

Joyce’s journey to sobriety hasn’t been easy, but he insists the benefits far outweigh the challenges.

“I’ve of Irish heritage so I’m often plagued by The Thirst. The Thirst is that feeling you get when it’s 5:30pm on a Friday evening and the town is coming alive with people. People at the pubs. Men drinking and trading stories. Smoking in the winter sun. More drinks. Getting your picture taken with some huffy chode from the Young Liberals at Public Bar in Manuka. I miss it but I don’t miss what it does to me,” he said.

His colleagues have noticed the difference too.

“Barnaby’s like a new man,” said a fellow MP.

“At this rate, he’ll be my boss again. This time, it doesn’t worry me.”

“It’s quite the redemption arc. He’ll be back at Deputy to Prime Minister Andrew Hastie in 2028.”

More to come.


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