Our Say | Barilaro’s big call lost amid the cacophony

IT says a lot about the state of politics in Australia that John Barilaro’s explosive comments last Friday have almost been forgotten in the space of a week.

When the Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals leader appeared on Alan Jones’ radio program and said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should do everyone a favour and just resign, he was immediately big news.

By telling Mr Turnbull he lacked leadership and had lost touch, Mr Barilaro set off a whole new round of speculation about the struggling PM’s future, not to mention blindsiding premier Gladys Berejiklian, who appeared to have no warning that the comments were going to be made.

In a normal week, or in a normal period of politics, Mr Barilaro and his surprisingly blunt suggestion would have been analysed from all angles for days.

If the ensuing scrutiny had proved too much, the deputy premier himself might have even felt he had to resign.

But this is not a normal period of politics.

In the subsequent week, we have seen federal Nationals leader and former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce returned to his seat by the people of New England at a by-election – and with an increased margin at that.

We have seen new politicians caught up in the dual citizenship debacle, continuing pressure on Senator Sam Dastyari about his dealings with China and the countdown to the battle for Bennelong between John Alexander and Kristina Keneally.

And, in state politics, we have seen the stumbling rollout of the Return and Earn container scheme and the stunning announcement of a $2 billion plan to tear down and rebuild two of Sydney’s sporting stadiums, despite one of them being fewer than 20 years old.

Rather than answering questions about why he felt the need to call publicly on the nation’s PM to resign, Mr Barilaro was this week defending the stadiums rebuild plan at the annual NSW local government conference, where he was reported to have faced heckling and derisive laughter.

And would he have been bothered by that? Probably not.

Because the more time that passes since that interview last Friday, the more Mr Barilaro must have wondered if he did the right thing – or at least if he went about it the right way.

“May you live in interesting times” is usually seen as a curse. In Mr Barilaro’s case, it could be interpreted as a blessing.