Barnaby's war on terriers - barking mad at Depp's boo boo

Fresh from some biting commentary over the federal budget and agricultural benefits to drought-stricken farmers and businesses doing it tough, federal minister Barnaby Joyce was back in the doghouse yesterday – over two mutts who landed in Australia illegally.

New England Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce was preparing to parry all the barbs of the budget, including some black holes over when business tax breaks could be accessed by small business farmers, when some fun and fury erupted over Hollywood superstar Johnny Depp’s dogs. The dogs (of war) bit back when Barnaby barked some orders about getting out of town before they met their maker, because of breaches in quarantine or biosecurity laws, in the form of a flurry of Facebook and online media commentary.

The story in short: The Pirates of the Caribbean star apparently landed his private jet back in Queensland, the customs forms were incorrectly signed as not declaring anything like the two Yorkshire terriers, Boo Boo and Pistol, being on board and entering the country either, and they were only collared when they went off to a dog grooming salon.

The alarm was raised and Barnaby’s turned his biosecurity bluster on Depp and told him to get back to where he came from or face the dogs being euthanased because they represented a risk.

So, the news went from budget to barking mad yesterday. Back home, Barnaby’s Facebook went ballistic. 

At home on the family farm, he is a dog lover. The family, including the four Joyce daughters, are owners to Misty, a lovable brown and grey dachshund. She’s a good dog.

Wagging the dog - The best of yesterday’s comments:

* “People will say ‘that’s a bit harsh’ but I’ll tell you what harsh is. Harsh is if we let our guard down and ultimately rabies gets into our country and then you’ll really have me on toast.”

* “Good luck to him, he’s a great actor and the sexiest man in the world and loves dogs and all this is marvellous – but he’s also got to obey the laws of our land.”

* “Just because he’s Johnny Depp does not mean he’s exempt from Australian law.”

* “I don’t think Mr Depp will be inviting me to the grand opening of the Pirates of the Caribbean.”

* “How was the breach of our border security allowed to occur in the first place? By Barnaby Joyce’s own admission, the undeclared entry was only detected when the dogs were seen entering a ‘poodle groomer’ [sic]. Instead of grandstanding before the media, Barnaby Joyce should be answering the hard questions about the breach and what role his biosecurity funding cuts may have played.”

* “It’s time Pistol and BooBoo buggered off back to the United States.” 

* “Tongues have been wagging.”

* “Fact: most dogs illegally enter Australia by plane. Those who come by boat are turned away by Operation: Sovereign Border Collies.”

* “It’s Barnaby’s new counter terrier-ism.”

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