Claims refuted: Barnaby Joyce. Photo: File
In a subscriber-first exclusive, see the video of the bizarre exchange that unfolded in the Tamworth cinema between Barnaby Joyce and Lucy Haslam.
Barnaby Joyce has been filmed in a bizarre 15 minute exchange with theatregoers at Thursday night's screening of medicinal cannabis documentary High As Mike, where the New England MP was accused "of not understanding the issue."
Mr Joyce refuted claims by medicinal cannabis campaigner Lucy Haslam that he swore at her, after arriving late to the Tamworth screening, which was held specifically for him to attend.
Mrs Haslam claims the embattled MP told her he "had better things to do than watch this f****** movie", and that she "didn't have a monopoly on grief", following the death of her son, Dan, to bowel cancer in 2015.
Mr Joyce's brother, Tim, also recently died as a result of bowel cancer - a fact that Mr Joyce repeatedly alluded to during the robust discussion with Mrs Haslam, and members of the crowd, following the film.
Mr Joyce claims he "was initially annoyed because he did not want to be part of the panel discussion" that followed the film, which he felt he was "being railroaded into."
"I am highly sensitive about snake oil salesmen," he said.
"The film had a strong inference that this grand elixir could cure very serious medical conditions like bowel cancer - that is loading people with false hope."
While the documentary does make mention of cancer patients being "helped" by cannabis, it never states that cannabis can "cure cancer", something which audience members were quick to point out.
"I did not want to be part of the panel because I am not a doctor or a scientist. I can have a view but it would not be empirically based," Mr Joyce said.
"I arrived with cynicism, and was waiting for it to be dispelled, but they were all arguments I had heard before."
High as Mike director Daniel Raffaele, who filmed the exchange, said "we set out to start a conversation, but this was something else."
"I was embarrassed for him (Joyce) to be honest - I just thought he could have handled it much better than he did," he said.
During the debate with the audience Mr Joyce made reference to "a friend who frittered his life away with cannabis, and committed suicide", as well as repeatedly bringing the conversation back to his brother's battle, while also admitting to "smoking bongs" while at university.
Mrs Haslam described Mr Joyce's comments on the night as "a real slap in the face".
"I have always known that Barnaby has had an issue with cannabis, he can't distinguish between recreational use and medicinal," she said.
"He clearly has a blatant disregard for our opinions. What do we do when our representative won't even listen to us, I honestly don't know."
In the video members of the audience can be heard "begging" Mr Joyce to be "their voice in Canberra", before Mr Joyce walked out of the theatre.
Orignally published here: https://www.northerndailyleader.com.au/story/6320009/barnaby-joyce-denies-swearing-at-lucy-haslam-before-cannabis-debate