30 May 2018Hot off the Press
Image credit: Australian Associated Press
Former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is taking extended leave from the backbench following controversy over a $150,000 interview deal with Channel 7.
Mr Joyce accepted an offer from Channel 7 to appear on the network’s show Sunday Night, to share the story of his extramarital relationship with a former staffer and now partner, Vikki Campion.
Mr Joyce says the money is to be trust-funded to the couples’ new-born son, Sebastian, and claims that acceptance of the offer is in respect of Ms Campion’s wishes.
Under the deal, the couple are to give a double interview exclusively sharing their story.
Joyce defended himself against widsespread criticism for giving the interview in exchange for money, and said, “If it was just an interview with me as a politician, sure, I am not going to charge for that.”
The Nationals backbencher has also been criticised for agreeing to the interview because of previous comments he made, asking for privacy and accusing the media of fuelling the story.
Mr Joyce, however, reiterated his desire for privacy, saying, “If we had a proper tort of privacy we would never have had to do this.”
Mr Joyce resigned as Deputy Prime Minister and National Party leader in February 2018, and took a seat on the backbench.
He also took a salary cut of nearly half his previous wages, coming to approximately $200,000 per annum.
It is not expected Mr Joyce will return to Parliament until August.