He was left red-faced when Malcolm Turnbull publicly threw him under the bus over his affair and called for a sex ban on all ministers, but now Barnaby Joyce has accused the PM of doing it all for “political advancement”.
Following the news that former deputy prime minister Joyce was expecting a baby with his ex staffer Vikki Campion in February, Turnbull responded by sharing his support for Joyce’s “distressed” ex wife Natalie and their four daughters, before introducing a ban on all cabinet members having sex with staff members.
Now, Joyce has hit back and accused the PM of ‘burying him’ at the time – claiming he used the cheating scandal for his own political gain.
Speaking to Alan Jones on 2GB radio, Joyce said: “First of all, it’s using someone else’s personal dilemma for your own political advancement, which is a very poor form of politics.”
He added: “Straight away, you’re burying your deputy. That’s something you do in the change room, you don’t do it on the football field.
“It was a stupid move by him. It didn’t help him and it certainly didn’t help me. It didn’t help anybody else either. It just didn’t look right.”
Speaking out at the time, Turnbull accused Joyce of making a “shocking error of judgement” and added: “Ministers, regardless of whether they are married or single, must not engage in sexual relations with their staff.”
Joyce recently released a tell-all autobiography on his affair, with the Sydney Morning Herald publishing the first extracts from the explosive book recently. In it, he admitted he was secretly battling depression over the breakdown of his marriage at the time he strayed.
In fact, his mental health got so bad, he even contemplated dying and added: “I have hurt so many that I want to go without anybody knowing.”
As he continued drinking and dodging professional help, Joyce also admitted in his book he began “wandering and getting closer to other women” before he met Campion.
He told Alan Jones some people now think he’s “bat-poo crazy” over his past mistakes and added: “I think it’s really important whilst the drought is on… that people clearly understand you are not helping anybody if you don’t help yourself.”
Joyce first announced his decision to step down from his role as party leader and deputy PM back in February, after news of his affair broke, despite having allegedly been an open secret in Canberra for months.
The shocking announcement was revealed when The Daily Telegraph ran a photograph of a heavily pregnant Campion on their front page alongside the headline ‘Bundle of Joyce’. It came just three months after Joyce confirmed he had separated from his ex wife Natalie, in December last year.
Natalie opened up about the hurt caused by the very public affair for the first time recently when she gave an interview to Women’s Weekly magazine.
Speaking at the time, she said: “I’m normally a very private person but I knew I had to find my voice. They thought I would lie down, but this time I couldn’t. I’m doing this so the girls feel empowered, and know their mum stood up and defended our fine name.”