NATIONALS leader Barnaby Joyce made a cracking appearance at this year’s federal parliamentary midwinter ball.
The Agriculture and Water Resources Minister cracked a whip to signify the start of the annual gala fundraising event held at Parliament House on Wednesday night in Canberra which had a bush theme this year.
The dinner pulls together the nation’s elite politicians with press gallery journalists and other distinguished events to raise money for designated charities.
Mr Joyce whipped the night into action when he cracked a stockman’s whip on stage at the top of the evening setting the tone for the glittering occasion.
His act produced typical reaction and banter on Twitter with one follower asking whether he was interested in opening other events, rather than just the midwinter ball.
But the night was not without its controversy with a leaked video of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s speech - where he performed a satirical impersonation of US President Donald Trump - being reported on by Channel Nine’s chief political correspondent Laurie Oakes.
Asked what he thought of the video being leaked to the media, from what’s traditionally been an off-the-record event, Mr Turnbull said “I am disappointed and I think it’s, I guess what that means is that next year at the Mid-Winter Ball I will read selected passages from Budget Paper number two”.
But he said the ball was “a great tradition” and “big charity fundraiser” which raised nearly $400,000.
“It is a good humoured sort of roast really,” he said.
“The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition give a speech and poke fun at themselves and you know, often other politicians and so forth, but my speech was light-hearted, affectionately light-hearted and off the record.”
Treasurer Scott Morrison said the PM’s speech “demonstrated that he has a great sense of humour and that's what Australians do when they get together”.
“We raised a lot of money for charity the other night,” he said.
“When you’re mates, you can have a bit of a giggle at yourself, with you and your mate, and that's what we do in Australia in friendships.
“I think this little episode will be seen in that context - it was a joke - that's what it was.
“And I think it has revealed, one of the things I know about Malcolm is he's got a great sense of humour and I think that was on display and I suppose Australians have got a bit of a window on that.
“It wasn't intentional but nevertheless they did get a bit of a sneak-peek on that and it proved he is not a bad comedian at having a bit of a crack, particularly at himself, which was the whole point of the joke.”