Wherever our new deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce goes, potentially hilarious animal-related stories follow. Fresh from forcing Hollywood star Johnny Depp to issue a bizarre video apology for illegally bringing his dogs into the country, Joyce announced over the weekend a master plan to eradicate carp from the nation's waterways.
By giving them all herpes.
But amazingly, that wasn't even the craziest part of this plan, with Joyce getting up in Question Time on Monday to yell "carp" and "venereal disease" in front of the parliament, and compare his Labor counterparts to the pest fish.
Responding to a question from his Nationals counterpart, MP Kevin Page, Joyce outlined the plan; a $15 million investment to introduce a strain of carp-specific herpes into the Murray River, which it is hoped will wipe out 95 percent of the river's carp population in the next 30 years. Carp are a problem in Australian waterways as they are a bottom-feeding species; they suck up and spit out mud in search of food, reducing water quality and preventing light from entering the water. This has negative effects on vegetation and marine animals who rely on being able to see in the water, and "can smother plants and clog fishes' gills" according to the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
So, the plan to get rid of carp? A very good thing, according to Joyce and Christopher Pyne, the Minister for Science, who launched the program over the weekend. Then things got a bit silly in the chamber, with Joyce turning to the microphone and starting to get more and more excited.
"We know it is incredibly important because we are afflicted in this nation with these disgusting mud-sucking creatures, bottom dwelling mud-sucking creatures for which the only form of control is a version of herpes to try and get rid of these disgusting mud-sucking creatures," he said, staring squarely at the opposition benches.
"But we will move forward on this, because we believe we should be getting rid of these disgusting mud-sucking creatures, to support the silver perch and the yellow belly and the Murray cod and the eastern cod and the catfish. But we don't want to have to deal with carp! We have to get rid of the carp!"
"We on the Coalition are going to make sure we have a healthy river and a healthy economy because we're going to get rid of the carp."
It didn't take a veteran political analyst to see the parallel Joyce was drawing between carp and his parliamentary opponents. His spirited answer did make for some great photos, though.
Herpes and carp— ellinghausen (@ellinghausen) May 2, 2016
- DPM Barnaby Joyce discusses waterway health during Question Time pic.twitter.com/WX02tpWMEt
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Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce informs the Parliament about CARP pic.twitter.com/Ee0OWK2QHf— andrew meares (@mearesy) May 2, 2016