Barnaby Joyce is Prime Minister, and it's a great day to be an Australian.
The Nationals leader, usually the deputy PM, has taken a temporary promotion to the top job as Malcolm Turnbull makes a state visit to China. Joyce is leading the country for the next few days, and has immediately stamped his own mark on the prime ministership in a morning media blitz during which he claimed to have misplaced the briefcase with the nuclear codes, threatened to cancel Turnbull's visa so he had to stay in China, was spotted having a great time at the pub with a few beers, and tried to assure Australians that "the country will be here in a few days time".
Appearing on Channel Nine's TODAY on Thursday morning, Joyce did initially set out to appear Prime Ministerial. TODAY host Karl Stefanovic immediately turned things silly, asking where the codes for the nuclear weapons were.
Australia is not believed to possess any nuclear weapons.
"I don't think I'm walking around with a briefcase with the codes to a nuclear bomb in it," Joyce said.
He attempted to bring some seriousness to his first interview as leader of the country, talking up the "collegiate experience of Cabinet and that abundance of opinions, knowledge and acumen that resides in it". It didn't last long.
"So who's got the briefcase?" Stefanovic cut over.
"....he's got it," Joyce said, pointing to a staff member off-screen.
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) April 13, 2016
"As I’ve said before, just to think that a kid who went to Woolbrook public school and grew up in Hills of Danglemeyer would be the acting Prime Minister. Of course, I find it an incredible honour and humbling. I hope those who grew up in a little town and village like me get something out of the day," Joyce said, trying to bring it back to the serious again.
It soon got away from him, though.
"What's the first thing you're going to do as acting Prime Minister, apart from find the briefcase with all the codes in it?" Stefanovic pressed again.
"Well I'm going to see if I can cancel Malcolm's visa so he stays over there [China] for a little while," Joyce said, with a giggle.
Stefanovic dissolved in laughter.
Joyce also told Sky News he was "certain that the country will be here in a few days time."
The new acting PM was spotted on Wednesday night having a laugh and a beer at the local bowling club, no doubt toasting his new promotion.Suggest a correction