Barnaby Joyce has found himself embroiled in another feud with a celebrity – this time with English rocker Morrissey, who criticised the Deputy Prime Minister’s support of the live cattle export industry.
The lead singer of The Smiths said Mr Joyce was “on the wrong side of history” in an open letter, which personally attacked the Agriculture Minister.
“You can deny it until you are red(der) in the face, but the industry is dying,” Morrissey wrote.
“The horrific cruelty in the live-export industry is heavy enough to sink a ship, yet you insist on condemning millions of animals to this fate every year.
“If meat is murder, live export is the slow boat to hell.”
However, the Deputy Prime Minister hit back and said he wasn’t overly concerned about the singer’s opinion of him.
“Maybe The Smiths don't like me, but I've got plenty of other families in the cattle industry who do,” Mr Joyce told The Leader.
“It doesn’t worry me greatly if I don’t cut it at Splendour In The Grass.
“I’m glad he’s worrying about me, because I don’t think much of him. Whatever he needs thinks to make himself feel groovy, good luck to you mate.”
Morrissey, a well-known animal rights activist, asked Mr Joyce to help “pave the way towards a kinder future” by shutting the industry down.
In the past year, Mr Joyce has denied 20 Vietnamese abattoirs access to Australia cattle, because he wasn’t confident about the way they treated the animals.
“This is something we monitor closely, it’s not a free for all,” he said.
Mr Joyce said one of the worst decisions the former Labor government made was their overnight ban of the live cattle trade.
“It made us seem like an unreliable trade partner and it reverberated in cattle prices,” Mr Joyce said.
“I've worked hard to reinstall confidence and I’m proud of the high cattle price.
“We are continually under assault from people who want to shut the live cattle industry down, but they don’t want to put the money on the table to make up for what will happen to the cattle prices.”
It's the second high profile celebrity to take on Mr Joyce.