Filmed shortly after the couple’s arrival back on the Gold Coast, the clip below played in court and seemingly helped Amber and Johnny escape with a $1000 fine and a one-month good behaviour bond for flouting the strict quarantine laws with terriers Pistol and Boo in 2015.
But online viewers weren’t so easily convinced. British comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted that it felt like a “hostage video”, and most others thought it was Johnny’s “best acting performance to date”.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, the man responsible for enforcing the letter of the law as Agriculture Minister, is happy with the no-nonsense bio-security message in the video.
But he told Sunrise host Samantha Armytage that he definitely would have asked for a couple of takes.
“Let’s definitely use this as an educational tool and I think that’s happening right now,” he says, referring to the incredible spike in numbers to his Facebook page.
“As far as me directing that atrocious movie, no. Even I could have done a little bit better than that. Do it again Johnny. Do it with gusto. Rise to the camera, old trout, rise to the camera.”
In what can only be described as a stilted performance, a downcast Amber, 29, says she is truly sorry Pistol and Boo were not declared and acknowledges Australia must be protected from diseases found in other countries.
“Australia is a wonderful island with a treasure trove of unique animals, plants and people,” she says.
In what has been interpreted as a reference to Mr Joyce, Johnny describes Australians as “unique” – “both warm and direct”.
Amber, the dogs’ legal owner, pleaded guilty to one count of falsifying border protection documents after they dropped two charges of illegal importation.
The controversial video, described by Amber’s lawyer as an attempt at restitution, has been handed over to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to be used as an educational tool.