News National Barnaby Joyce wins award for taking on Hollywood

Barnaby Joyce wins award for taking on Hollywood

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Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce was pilloried for taking on Johnny Depp, Amber Heard and their dogs Boo and Pistol in May, but it turns out there is one section of the community who are delighted at his intervention.

The Invasive Species Council honoured Mr Joyce on Friday with the Froggatt Award for demanding that the “dangerous” dogs be returned to the United States and for “staring down Johnny Depp in quarantine fracas”.

At the time, Mr Joyce threatened to euthanise the celebrity pets, which he alleged were smuggled into Australia without the proper customs checks, if they were not immediately removed.

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“It might have seemed like a bit of a joke at the time, but Barnaby Joyce did the right thing by enforcing Australia’s strict quarantine laws,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said in a statement.

The Council said it handed out the awards to anyone who had made a “major contribution” to protecting Australia from “dangerous new invasive species”.

Mr Joyce said he was “humbled” by the honour.

“Humbled to receive it but was just doing my job,” he said on Twitter.

In a piece for The New Daily in June, Mr Joyce wrote: “I make no apologies for my recent defence of Australia’s biosecurity system.”

“When it comes to protecting Australia from exotic pests and diseases it is imperative we remain vigilant and uncompromising in applying the same rules to everyone without exception.

The incriminating photo of Johnny Depp's dogs in Queensland. Photo: ABC
The incriminating photo of Johnny Depp’s dogs in Queensland. Photo: ABC

“Australia has some of the strictest biosecurity rules in the world and for good reason. Our human, animal and plant health rely on them to protect our unique way of life, environment and economy.”

The ISC said that Mr Joyce also qualified for the award because of his decision earlier this month to stop marine pets from getting into Australia.

The award is named after Australian entomologist Walter Frogatt, who in the 1930s advocated the dangers of letting the cane toad come into Australia as a control agent for beetle infestations in sugar cane crops.

Mr Depp has been voted People’s Sexiest Man twice and he did not take kindly to the intervention from Mr Joyce.

Nor did his vast throngs of fans around Australia and the world.

The Hollywood star who’d come to Australia to film a Pirates of the Caribbean movie described Mr Joyce as a “sweaty and big-gutted man”.

Mr Depp did not declare the two Yorkshire terriers when he flew into Australia on his private jet in April.

Even though it happened in the early part of 2015, the saga is still on going.

Ms Heard will face a four-day hearing in April on charges of illegally importing the couple’s dogs into Australia.

The Pistol and Boo incident caused social media users to spring to the defence of the dogs, as well as this Walkley-award winning video mash-up which can be seen below:

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