CANBERRA -- Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has Sydney's trendy inner-west in his sights, taking aim at one small suburb in particular as he launches attacks on Labor for being elitist and out-of-touch with 'ordinary' Australians.
"They are more interested in Annandale than they are in Adelaide," Joyce roared in Question Time last Thursday.
Five times in the first nine days of the new parliamentary sitting year, Joyce has sledged the suburb of Annandale. Never heard of it? It's a small, skinny neighbourhood just to the west of the Sydney CBD, sandwiched between the larger suburbs of Leichhardt, Rozelle, Newtown and Forest Lodge.
The little village leads down to the pretty Rozelle Bay and Anzac Bridge, with a number of large, beautiful historic homes. As is common in the inner-west, Annandale is full of trendy cafes, pubs and restored terrace houses selling for millions of dollars.
Annandale is populated by young yuppie families with SUVs, young people living in sharehouses, and older people who moved to the suburb decades before it became the latest hip suburb as the students and creatives spill over from the surrounding areas of Camperdown, Newtown and Stanmore.
How do I know all this? I live in Annandale. I'm one of those inner-city hipsters who lives in a terrace house and drinks over-priced craft beer at the Annandale Hotel and takes his dog to a cafe with milk crates for seats and spends $15 on smashed avocado and feta on toast each weekend. They let dogs in the pubs here. There's a good kebab shop, the local McDonald's does delivery, and it's a cheap taxi ride to the city or Newtown.
Annandale is a nice suburb, relatively quiet and leafy, with good food and nice people. It's also become Joyce's favourite suburb to sledge, as he lines up attacks on the opposition to paint them as too concerned with inner-city voters at the expense of those in rural areas.
"The trouble with the Labor Party these days is they are fighting a battle, not for the working men and women of Australia, but they are fighting a battle for Annandale," Joyce said on February 7, in response to a question on live animal exports. As far as I'm aware, Annandale does not have any farms.
"We have the 'Angel of Annandale' on the other side of the chamber here... and he is fighting a battle up and down Trafalgar Street, and up and down Johnson Street."
The 'Angel of Annandale' barb is aimed at Labor MP Anthony Albanese, whose Grayndler electorate takes in the suburb. Joyce lists the main streets of Annandale, on which you'll find some nice cafes, a gallery, a neighbourhood centre and a church or two.
The next day, February 8, Joyce was asked about the agriculture industry. As far as I'm aware, Annandale has no agriculture industry.
"The Labor Party have to determine whose side they are on. Are you on the side of working men and women, or are you on the side of Annandale?" Joyce bellowed.
"Is the member for Maribyrnong [Shorten] going to be the Angel for Annandale, or stand up for working men and women?"
The next day, February 9, Joyce was again asked about the agriculture industry.
"[Labor] are more interested in Balmain than they are in the people of the Riverland. They are more interested in Annandale than they are in Adelaide," Joyce yelled.
"They are more interested in Green preferences than looking after the Australian working men and women."
Parliament took a break over the weekend, but on the next sitting day, February 13, Joyce was back at it again.
"It comes from the crazy ideas that the Labor Party have absorbed from the Australian Greens in that triumvirate of trying to make sure... that they abide by the wills of Johnston Street and Trafalgar Street and Annandale, the 'angel of Annandale' over there, to try to look after them and then let the whole rest of Australia go down the tubes," Joyce shouted, in response to a question on the agriculture industry.
On February 14, Valentine's Day, Joyce's love affair with Annandale continued.
"[Labor] are more worried about Annandale, about Newtown, about Woolloomooloo than they are about the working men and women of Australia," he said from the podium, responding to a question about the dairy industry.
It's not just this year that the deputy PM has gone after Annandale. Last November, he roared "[Labor] used to be the party of miners. But that is no longer so. They have given up on that. Now they are the party trying to fight their battle street by street in Annandale, all the way up Trafalgar Street and all the way down to Glebe wharf."
Deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek took offence to the Annandale barbs last week.
"He also said... in question time just yesterday, 'are you on the side of working men and women, or are you on the side of Annandale?' What can that possibly mean, other than the people of Annandale are not hardworking? It is just not fair," she said on November 9.
We asked Joyce's office why the deputy PM has gone after Annandale. They didn't get back to us.
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