The Barnaby Joyce vs Johnny Depp (and his dogs) saga is truly the magic pudding of news -- just when the story seems to have run out, it refills itself, seemingly by magic, ready to be consumed again.
One of the most bizarre political episodes of the past few years has added another instalment to its rich history, with the deputy Prime Minister threatening that the Hollywood actor may face perjury charges in Australia.
Allegations surfaced overnight -- revealed by People -- that Depp had intentionally flouted Australia's biosecurity laws when bringing dogs into the country in 2015. Legal documents filed in the U.S. claim the actor was "fully aware that he was illegally bringing his dogs to Australia", contradicting Depp's claims that it was a paperwork mistake.
"This is an allegation. But if the allegation is correct, and it is yet to be tested, but if the allegation is correct, there's a word for that, it is called perjury," Depp told ABC 24 on Tuesday.
"You don't want your kids running around the park with dogs with rabies or going out to the bush and finding wild dogs with rabies. What is the most likely mechanism of it coming into the nation? Some dipstick bringing in some salt and pepper dogs or whatever they call them."
OK let's back up for a second. For anyone who doesn't remember, a quick refresher -- Depp and his then-wife Amber Heard got in hot water in 2015 during the filming of 'Pirates of the Caribbean' on the Gold Coast, when the couple's two Yorkshire terriers Pistol and Boo were brought into Australia on a private jet without proper permits and without passing quarantine. It led to the first bizarre episode of this story, when Joyce -- the Minister for Agriculture -- threatened to have the dogs killed unless they were immediately removed from Australia.
"If we start letting movie stars -- even though they've been the sexiest man alive twice -- to come into our nation [and break laws], then why don't we just break the laws for everybody?" Joyce said in a bizarre press conference at the time.
"It's time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States."
Fast forward to April 2016, when the case came before a Gold Coast court. Heard was placed on a good behaviour bond and given a $1000 fine, but that wasn't all -- she and Depp were forced into giving an incredible video apology which went viral worldwide.
It went on like this for a while -- each time the story seemed to die down, just like the magic pudding, it refilled itself again, producing yet another insane story. And so it was on Tuesday, when the legal documents -- lodged by Depp's former management firm TMG -- were revealed by People, which included claims that Depp "pressured one of his long-term employees to 'take the fall'" for the incident.
"Depp falsely claimed to authorities and in public press interviews that the incident was a big misunderstanding because he supposedly believed his staff had obtained the necessary paperwork," TMG allege in the court documents, according to People.
Responding to the new claims on TV, Joyce again went on the attack.
"Like I said to the American late night TV host who bucketed on me and bucketed on our nation, I might have a another look at this," Joyce said on ABC.
"Every nation is sensitive about a number of things. We're an island continent and we take biosecurity very seriously and it doesn't matter if you think that you're Mr Who's-Who of Hollywood, you're going to obey our laws."
We can't wait to see what happens next.
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