EDITORIAL: Joyce vs Constance airport slots stoush shows politics is like a long-running soap opera

Politics is a bit like a long-running soap opera. Think Days Of Our Lives – the longer you watch it, the more the story line makes sense (and the more it sucks you in). 

You realise why it’s significant when Mikaela reveals that her husband Roberto wasn’t murdered, but faked his own death to protect their unborn child from his evil step-father Sebastian – if you catch my drift.

You remember who hates who and which character is cheating on another, which all ties into a broader story arc. And once you’ve been sufficiently sucked in, you notice when the writers decide to conveniently ignore a previous story line.

Last year, the NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance took a shot at Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce for ignoring his idea to improve access for regional airlines into Sydney. 

And he didn’t mince his words, saying Mr Joyce was “completely and utterly out of touch on what is required to drive regional aviation opportunities”.

“Barnaby Joyce quite frankly has his head in the sand,” Mr Constance said in March 2017.

“I’ve not received a word from this person, not a letter, not so much as a phone call – in fact, I wouldn’t know him if he stood up in my cornflakes,” Mr Joyce said.

He also said Mr Constance would “do well to realise” that the ministry of agriculture and water had no oversight of the laws governing aircraft slots at Sydney Airport (conveniently ignoring the fact he holds the second most powerful position in the nation).

In an ironic twist of fate, less than 12 months later, Mr Joyce now has absolute oversight into the laws that govern aircraft slots at Sydney Airport, after he swapped agriculture and water for transport and infrastructure.

And it seems the writers of this political soap opera have conveniently forgotten this public stoush, with both politicians acting all cordial towards each other.

A spokesperson for Mr Constance said the minister was looking forward to working with Mr Joyce on the issue, while a spokesperson for Mr Joyce said he was happy to look at any proposal that came across his desk.

Let’s hope the writes of this show have truly forgotten this little feud and will allow both politicians to work together to find a solution that will benefit regional airports.


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