SYDNEY – Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on Tuesday mocked Johnny Depp’s acting skills in a video recorded with his wife as an apology for breaking the country’s strict quarantine laws.
Joyce, who is also agriculture minister, sparked global headlines last year when he threatened to have the couple’s pet dogs put down unless they “buggered off back to the United States”.
The Hollywood star and actress-model Amber Heard on Monday released the awkward video during a court appearance in the Gold Coast.
Heard escaped conviction after pleading guilty to falsifying her immigration arrivals card by not declaring the dogs Pistol and Boo on arrival in Queensland state a year ago.
Joyce said he hoped the video message would strengthen Australia’s bio-security laws that restrict the risks of pests and diseases entering the country.
But he could not resist taking another dig at Depp.
“I don’t think he’ll get an academy award for his performance… he looked like he was auditioning for the Godfather,” Joyce told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
In the video, which resembles a grave public service announcement, the couple stressed the importance of obeying the laws, with a deadpan Depp adding that Aussies were “just as unique” as their wildlife.
“Australia is a wonderful island with a treasure trove of unique plants, animals and people,” said Heard.
“It has to be protected.”
The department of agriculture put the video on YouTube and Joyce said it had already registered more than two million hits.
“At the end of it we’ve got a message that is going all around the world right now,” the minister said.
“It’s going off like a frog in a sock telling people that if you come into this nation and you don’t obey our laws, you’re in trouble.
“That’s what this is about, it’s making sure we keep this nation, protect our flora, our fauna and protect our biosecurity laws.”
Heard expressed “remorse” over the case, in one of many stiff on-screen moments which raised giggles on social media, where the video was compared with a hostage plea or North Korean-style propaganda.
Two more serious charges against Heard of illegally importing the Yorkshire terriers were dropped by the Gold Coast court.
But she admitted a third charge of providing a false document and was placed on a US$760 (RM2,962) one-month good behaviour bond. â€” AFP