Barnaby Joyce has explained the reason for his "disturbing" behaviour last Wednesday after he was filmed lying on a footpath in Canberra mumbling swear words to his wife on the phone.
The outspoken MP appeared on Sunrise this morning where he was questioned by host Nat Barr over his unusual antics, with the former deputy prime minister admitting mixing prescription medication with alcohol was to blame.
Joyce was captured on camera rolling around on the ground in a street in Braddon, Canberra, following a long parliamentary sitting day. He explained that he'd been sitting on a planter box before falling off at around 11:30 pm.
His antics have since caught the ire of both sides of politics with Treasurer Jim Chalmer admitting he found Joyce's behaviour "a little disturbing", while Nationals party leader David Littleproud said his actions were "not normal".
Joyce explains unusual behaviour: 'No excuse'
In an awkward TV exchange, Joyce admitted he "made a big mistake" and said "there's no excuse for it" when asked by Barr how he was doing.
"There is a reason...and it was a very eventful walk home, wasn't it?" he told the Sunrise host. "I'm on a prescription drug, and they say certain things may happen to you if you drink [on it], and they were absolutely 100 per cent right. They did."
Barr continued to probe Joyce and asked, "So you mixed alcohol with prescription medication, did you, and this is what happened?"
"That's exactly what I said, yep," he abruptly responded. Joyce went on to praise the "good Samaritan taxi driver" who eventually pulled over as Joyce found his feet and continued walking home.
Barr asked if Joyce felt he "needs help" and if he thought he should be "reprimanded", to which a short Joyce replied: "I'm not looking for sympathy and I'm not looking for an excuse".
"I will just stand by that. What I said is what I said. I came back, I sat on a planter box, I fell off and I was videotaped. There you go. What else can you say?" he shot back.
'Further conversations' to be had following viral stunt
It's since been reported that the former Nationals leader will miss a scheduled meeting of the party’s MPs on Monday, where the incident will be discussed. The issue has highlighted tensions within the Nationals party, including over a possible reshuffle that would move Joyce to the backbench.
Speaking about the incident, Littleproud told Brisbane radio station 4BC he was "surprised" by Joyce's behaviour, but ruled out demoting the twice-serving party leader. "There'll be further conversations with Barnaby to make sure we put the environment around him that he needs to make sure whatever challenges he's got," he said.
Speaking on Sky, opposition leader Peter Dutton took aim at the passer-by who filmed the incident, stating it was "pretty rough" they didn't instead try and help him.
with NCA Newswire
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