Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has brushed off an assault threat from actor Johnny Depp, as the war on terrier saga continues.
Depp’s wife Amber Heard could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of illegally importing the pair’s two small Yorkshire terriers Pistol and Boo.
Speaking to Channel 9 on Sunday morning, Mr Joyce was forced to respond to an assault threat levelled by Depp if Heard was jailed.
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“I think that Mr Depp should pick on someone his own size, and I’ve got him,” he said, pulling his media advisor into the shot.
“I think that Mr Depp’s losing sight of the fact that this is about biosecurity, in our nation we have laws you have to obey… no matter who you are.
“I’ve got a man on the other side of the world [who] wants to punch me.”
Earlier this year, Mr Joyce said the dogs were illegally imported without meeting Australia’s import conditions after Depp and his wife Amber Heard brought them to the Gold Coast during filming of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
Commonwealth biosecurity charges against Heard were adjourned to November 2 in the Southport Magistrates Court last week after the star did not attend.
Speaking on television talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live about his dispute with Mr Joyce, Depp said if Heard was sent to prison, he would “just fly to Australia and assault that man so that I could go to prison”.
“We were under the impression that we had all the paperwork done for the dogs, we were there with the dogs in front of everybody,” Depp said.
“There’s this sort of weird sweaty-pated gut man who decided that two five to six-inch teacup Yorkshire terriers would harm the country in some way.”
But Mr Joyce stood by his action following the dogs’ arrival.
“In England they got a problem because of people bringing in tea cup-sized dogs and the possibility that that’ll bring rabies into England,” he said.
Depp joked earlier this month that he killed his dogs and ate them “under direct orders of some kind of, I don’t know, sweaty, big-gutted man from Australia”.