Barnaby Joyce has hit back at claims he is using an additional electoral allowance to pay for his family’s home, labelling the report a “malicious” and “false” attack.
The controversial politician came under fire at the weekend when it was reported by Brisbane’s The Sunday Mail that he was putting funds meant for travel around his electorate towards a house in Armidale, New South Wales, where he lives with his partner Vikki Campion and their two children.
According to the news outlet, the 52-year-old pays $415 a week to First National Real Estate Armidale from a bank account which receives around $4,000 a month from electoral allowance payments.
However, Joyce has since slammed the claims, saying the bank account receives money from other sources – not just the allocated $46,000 extra he is entitled to on top of his annual politician’s salary.
“This bank account was given this name in 2005, but it has long since been used for multiple purposes and is used for farm business, private and electorate transactions, as are other accounts I hold, including my private credit card, which is also used to pay electorate expenses,” he said in a statement, according to The Sunday Mail.
“Income is transacted to this account from a range of other accounts I hold and non-parliamentary sources including, for example, sheep sales.”
Joyce added: “I am extremely disappointed that someone would disclose a misrepresentation of my private financial affairs for malicious and false purpose.”
The controversial claims come just a week after Joyce defended politicians’ rights to the annual electoral allowance that is given to each senator and MP in the country.
As well as their impressive base salary of around $201,700, politicians are granted an additional electoral allowance of between $32,00 and $46,000 to be used for engagement with constituents, The Daily Telegraph reports.
While this is meant to go towards those specific expenses, there is currently no monitoring of where the money goes, meaning politicians are legally allowed to claim any unspent funds as part of their yearly income.
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) July 7, 2019
Joyce appeared on Sunrise last Monday along with politician Joel Fitzgibbon to defend the allowance after outgoing senator Derryn Hinch claimed it should be more strictly managed and politicians should not be allowed to claim unused funds as their own.
“No employee stands back and says they are not entitled to what they are being paid. No person at Channel 7 will say that,” Joyce said.
“Sure, when you’re prime minister you’re on a very good wicket, but when you’re trying to attract base talent you have to have a mechanism to get people in.
“It’s stupid for any employee to say ‘I’m paid too much’. You’ll be a really popular person for 10 minutes, then you’ll get paid less and life will go on.”