Barnaby Joyce has hit back at Hollywood actor Johnny Depp after the Pirates of the Caribbean star described Australia's Deputy Prime Minister as apparently "inbred with a tomato".
Depp, appearing on late-night TV in the US, was asked about his long-running feud with the Nationals' leader and Agriculture Minister over Depp's two pet terriers illegally flown into the country.
Depp told host Jimmy Kimmel Mr Joyce "looks somehow inbred with a tomato."
Depp said his comments weren't a criticism of "Mr Jones" but that he "was a little worried . . . he just might explode".
Mr Joyce on Wednesday laughed off Depp's latest insults.
"I'm inside his head, I'm pulling little strings and pulling little levers," he said. "Long after I've forgotten about Mr Depp, he's remembering me.
"I'm turning into his Hannibal Lecter."
Last year, Depp and his wife Amber Heard were caught illegally bringing their dogs, Pistol and Boo, into the country on a private jet in breach of Australia's strict quarantine laws.
Mr Joyce made headlines around the world threatening to euthanise the dogs if the couple didn't remove them from Australia.
Heard was given a good behaviour bond when she appeared in a Queensland magistrates court last month, pleading guilty to falsifying travel documents to sneak the dogs into the country.
The couple made a bizarre public video apology, which was widely mocked online.
Speaking in his electorate of New England on Wednesday, Mr Joyce he thanked the actor for more free publicity about Australia's biosecurity laws.
"The Australian people know we did the right thing. When I walk around the streets of Tamworth or the streets of Bundaberg or Martin Place in Sydney, whether they like me or not, they say 'well, don't completely like you but you were right on that one'," Mr Joyce said.
"We can't have rabies coming into the country. Who does the fella think he was?"
Talking to Kimmel, Depp mocked Australia's quarantine laws and questioned the threat his dogs could pose.
Johnny Depp explains the story behind his taped apology to the people of Australia
"[The dogs are] minuscule, tiny teacup things, clearly dangerous in Australia, 'cos there's so many poisonous creatures in Australia, you can die at any minute, so the dogs are obviously a problem in Australia," he said.
He also questioned whether it was an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars to target him and his wife.
"I think the choice they made to utilise the taxpayer dollars to globally chase down a couple of teacup Yorkies and give them 50 hours to live, I realised the baddies of my ways," Depp said.
The story Barnaby Joyce says he is Johnny Depp's 'Hannibal Lecter' first appeared on Brisbane Times.