Peter Dutton has defended Barnaby Joyce after he was caught on video lying on his back near a gutter after a late night out amid calls from Labor for the Nationals MP to front up and explain the “disturbing” incident.
The Opposition Leader said he planned to speak to Mr Joyce when politicians return to Canberra after video circulated of the former deputy prime minister lying on his back on a footpath on Lonsdale Street in Canberra on Wednesday night.
“It’s pretty rough when people are walking past somebody who might need support,” Mr Dutton told Sky News.
“But I’ll have a chat with Barnaby this week and [as you said] said David Littleproud spoke with Barnaby … as well this week and that’s where the situation is out at the moment.”
The Nationals frontbencher, who has since brushed off the video first obtained by Daily Mail Australia as “embarrassing”, said he had fallen over a planter after walking home from a late night parliamentary function.
“While on the phone I sat on the edge of a plant box, fell over, kept talking on the phone, and very animatedly was referring to myself for having fallen over,” Mr Joyce told news.com.au.
Weighing in on the incident on Sunday, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the situation was a matter for the opposition called for Mr Joyce to front up and explain his behaviour to the public.
“I know that people will have their fun with it, but from a personal point of view – I don’t like to see anyone in that state. I find it a little disturbing,” Dr Chalmers told Sky News on Sunday.
“I’m not going to take shots at Barnaby about it. He needs to explain it.
Coalition treasury spokesman Angus Taylor urged against people “jumping to conclusions” and acknowledged concerns about Mr Joyce’s welfare.
“He clearly wasn’t [okay] and that’s something we’re going to focus on – and we should focus on that. But the jumping to conclusions we’ve seen is a bit of a habit in the modern world,” Mr Taylor told ABC on Sunday.
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