It has been eight months since he resigned as leader of the National Party, after the news of his extra-marital affair with former staffer Vikki Campion broke publicly, but Barnaby Joyce has hinted he’d be keen to have another crack at being deputy prime minister.
The 51-year-old member for New England was replaced by Michael McCormack in February, after he stepped down as Malcolm Turnbull’s second in command, but now it seems like Joyce could be gearing up to swipe the top job from his successor.
According to reports published on Thursday, voters could see a change at the top of the Nats as early as next week, however current leader McCormack warned against potential upheaval, telling The Australian that his leadership was providing “secure and stable” government, which is what voters want.
Despite speculation that he could be heading for a promotion, special drought envoy Joyce told Sky News that, while he would jump at the chance to take back the top job, he would only do so if he was asked.
“That is garbage. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a cabinet minister, there wouldn’t be a leader, there wouldn’t be a deputy leader. But I’m not counting for it, I’m not collecting the numbers for it.”
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) October 17, 2018
In the months since he stepped down, Joyce has barely been out of the headlines as his relationship with Campion, 33, progressed. The couple, who welcomed their son Sebastian together in April, sat down for a tell-all interview with Channel 7’s Sunday Night program in June.
The couple earned a whopping $150,000 for the interview, during which Campion issued an apology for the hurt caused by her affair with the pollie. She told host Alex Cullen: “I never intended for any of this to happen, I never intended for anyone to be hurt, and I’m really sorry,”
They also revealed that the pay cheque received for the interview would be put into a trust fund for son Sebastian Curtis Scott Joyce. The mother-of-one said: “Everybody else is making money out of Sebastian except for Sebastian … Let’s take some that, put it in a trust, and he can use that for his education and his health.”