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by Tim Beissmann

National Party Senate leader Barnaby Joyce drowned his government-purchased Toyota LandCruiser late last year, leaving the approximately-$80,000 vehicle a soggy write-off with damaged electrics.

Mr Joyce explained he was driving to his farming property in northern New South Wales when he approached the swollen Burren Creek.

The St George-based Queensland senator explained that although there was a sign warning to drive slowly the road had not been closed, and he said people were driving towards him when attempted to cross the creek.

Once the vehicle was deep in the water the engine stalled and Mr Joyce was forced to escape out the window and swim to safety.

A nearby farmer helped him tow his car out of the creek, but attempts to restart the engine simply led to it stalling again.

After an inspection, a mechanic from the government fleet’s insurance company informed Mr Joyce that the vehicle’s electrics were damaged beyond repair and it was a write-off.

The exact LandCruiser variant has not been revealed, although driveaway pricing for the entry-level LandCruiser GXL petrol in Queensland starts at more than $84,000.

Mr Joyce explained the accident was covered by insurance, and admitted that he was open with government officials about the incident to ensure that he acted in accordance with the law.

Yesterday, the Opposition water spokesman admitted that attempting to cross the creek was a bad idea, and one that he would not try again.




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