Omega Constellation Women's Watch

Joyce, a commerce graduate from the University of New England, was working for a bank in Charleville in south west Queensland when he walked next door to join the National Party in 1994. He became active at branch level, eventually rising to acting treasurer of the Queensland Nationals, and had three cracks at a Senate seat before winning at the 2004 election reclaiming the seat the Nationals lost to One Nation in 1998.

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His independence made him deeply unpopular with some in the Coalition. How did he cope? ''Anger,'' he says, ''and you try to just say, 'I don't give a shit'. You have dinner by yourself and lunch by yourself.''

During dinner he holds forth on a range of topics, including men in Parliament (too politically correct); life on the road (lonely); government debt (too big); Coalition leaders, past and present (loquacious and kind, respectively); Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights (moving); gay marriage (strongly opposed) and the biological clock of his interviewer (ticking).

Many conservative politicians deride the independent rural MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor for forming minority government with Labor, despite what they say are the wishes of their electorates.

The reason, he says, is that he is so often asked to appear at rallies, fund raisers and sundry political events.

Asked his opinion of the former Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull, Joyce becomes uncharacteristically careful. ''I don't talk about people's bad sides. I talk about their good,'' he says. ''Malcolm is loquacious, is charming, he's intelligent and he's strong.''

Instead, we end up during a parliamentary sitting week at l'Unico in Kingston, south Canberra, a family run Italian restaurant where Joyce comes to ''chill out'', often eating alone, when he's working in Canberra. He knows the proprietor by name and has a favourite table.

Omega Constellation Women's Watch

Not kind? ''No. It's not an attribute he has. There's no point endowing a person with an attribute they don't have, otherwise you make a mockery of all the attributes you just gave them.''

Joyce wanted to have lunch in his home town of St George, Queensland, 500 kilometres inland from Brisbane, but the distance and scheduling proved too difficult.

Omega Constellation Women's Watch

Joyce says he puts up with the difficulties of life on the road because he is driven by the kind of issues where he thinks people are ''going to get ripped off'', such as the rights of farmers versus coal seam gas miners; the proposed carbon tax; the duopoly of Coles and Woolworths, and foreign ownership of Australian companies.

Omega Constellation Women's Watch

''You weren't surrounded by fools, so your debate had to stand on legs or you would fail miserably,'' he says.

''I was growing up on the land and you're very affected by politics. How wool was classed, it's a government decision. Services that were provided to you, it's a government decision. If industrial relations' provisions meant people were on strike all day so you couldn't move your produce, it's all government policy.

Omega Constellation Women's Watch

''I don't like it,'' he says of the amount of time he spends away from his wife and four daughters, aged between nine and 15.

Conversation with Joyce jumps from topic to topic. He speaks quickly and his mind moves fast. While trying to make a point he will pepper you with questions about Omega Constellation Women's Watch your own opinions and he can be confrontational. But once his point is made, he moves on swiftly.

Omega Constellation Women's Watch

opposition. ''Tony is a very decent human being,'' he says. ''Sometimes I get annoyed that the general public don't actually see what I think are the qualities of the person. He is genuinely a kind person he's a fighter, he's disciplined but he's not a nasty person.''

Omega Constellation Women's Watch

As a former accountant Joyce holds strong opinions on debt and gets very exercised when it is suggested Australia's deficit is (globally) a comparatively low percentage of its gross domestic product.

''So the discussion around the dinner table is a charged political discussion. From a very young age you're inspired by it. If all the problems are political, than a good place to be would be in politics, so you can change it.''

Omega Constellation Women's Watch

Once elected, Joyce was far from docile. He soon established a reputation for being independent or recalcitrant, depending on your point of view. Omega Speedmaster On Hand

No one within a 100 kilometre radius of Barnaby Joyce will ever die wondering what he thinks. The Queensland Nationals' senator is happy to give his opinion on everything and will answer whatever question he is asked. Loudly and expansively.

This is less likely under a Tony Abbott led Omega Women

''I worked out last year I spent 200 days on the road and in Parliament. Omega Speedmaster Professional Replica

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He crossed the floor ''about 28'' times, by his own count, on issues as diverse as voluntary student unionism and trade practices' legislation. He fought with the former prime minister John Howard over the government's treatment of accused terrorist David Hicks.

How did Joyce justify crossing the floor so many times, given he was elected to represent the Nationals? ''You've got two angels that sit on your shoulder,'' he says of his decision making process. One says, 'It's not about you, you've got to play the team game'. The other angel says, 'You know what is right, you're being a coward. Stand up for yourself and say what you really think.' Twenty eight times, that's the angel that won the argument.''

People know he can pull a crowd. His peculiar mix of down home country blokedom, combined with his lively intelligence and tub thumping oratory, never fails to entertain, even if his logic can be difficult to follow at times.

Joyce always wanted to be a politician. At primary school he told classmates he wanted to be prime minister (''I've lowered my sights a bit since then'') and at secondary school he recorded his aspiration to be a ''grazier/politician''.

Joyce's honesty extends to himself. He wants to lead the Nationals but says he would never challenge the incumbent, Warren Truss.

He plans to run for a lower house seat at the next election, either in his adopted home state of Queensland, or against Windsor in New England, where he grew up and attended university.

We order a calabrese pizza to start, and a bottle of cabernet sauvignon. For main course, we share another pizza, a capricciosa.

Omega Constellation Women's Watch

He says he would cross the floor again, although he would resign his shadow portfolio if he did (he is spokesman for regional development, infrastructure and water, having lost the shadow finance portfolio in a reshuffle in 2010).

´╗┐Contrarian who takes counsel from angels

I spent more days on the road than anyone else in the Coalition it's not a natural life.''

He attributes this early interest in politics to his childhood in rural NSW. His parents were well educated and opinionated, as were his four brothers and sister.

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