Courtney Allan

"Absolute garbage": Barnaby Joyce snaps at voter after being grilled at pub

"Absolute garbage": Barnaby Joyce snaps at voter after being grilled at pub

Barnaby Joyce was thrown off in the final seconds of a Sky News Pub Test in Tamworth on Tuesday night, angrily snapping at a voter for asking the surprise question.

The pub test had five of the candidates running in the seat of New England asked unknown questions by voters in the pub.

The forum went for an hour, with the Nationals MP sailing through the questions until the voter had a question specifically for Joyce.

“Gardesil vaccine prevents cancer of the cervix. On the 27th of January 2006, Barnaby Joyce opposed the free provision of Gardesil vaccine. He was quoted as saying, ‘Don’t put something out that gives a 12-year-old daughter of mine the license to be promiscuous’. Does Mr Joyce still hold this view?” came the question.

Joyce perked up, as he had appeared bored throughout the night, to fire back a reply.

“That article was one of the most atrocious, misquotings of me,” he quickly retorted.

“My father’s a vet, my mother’s a physio. I had to deal for years after that reporter put that out. (It’s) absolute garbage. Of course I support something that’s going to save people’s lives.

“You don’t understand. Just because you read it, doesn’t mean I said it.”

This was one of many replies from Joyce that brought cheers to the room.

The comments mentioned by the voter from Joyce were made during a 2006 debate about the breakthrough cervical cancer vaccine.

Joyce expressed fears that it would encourage young women to be promiscuous.

“There might be an overwhelming backlash from people saying ‘don’t you dare put something out there that gives my 12-year-old daughter a license to be promiscuous’,” he said.

The question at the pub test came as a surprise, as many of the questions during the hour-long forum focused on water supply, small businesses and the live export trade.

Other candidates on the panel included independent Adam Blakester, Labor’s Yvonne Langenberg, Clive-Palmer backed Cindy Ann Duncan and the Greens Tony Lonergan.

Joyce was the only person to repeatedly get cheers and rounds of applause for his answers as he promised to build more dams and truck in water for the drought-ravaged region of Tamworth.

Host Paul Murray invited voters to ask questions to the candidates as a part of his “Our Town” series.

“What is it about politics in New England that seems to be so passionate ... so particularly aggressive?” Murray asked. “It’s particularly special to this part of Australia.”