Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is expecting a baby with a young member of staff, just three months after confirming that he had separated from his wife of 24 years, according to reports.
Media outlets reported that Joyce’s former media adviser, 33-year-old Vikki Campion, is having the Nationals leader’s baby. The pair are “madly in love”, according to the Daily Telegraph and have moved in together. The baby is due sometime around April, at the same time that Joyce turns 51, the newspaper reported.
The Daily Telegraph published a picture purportedly of the pregnant Campion, who once worked for the paper. Joyce’s office told the Daily Telegraph that Campion no longer worked for the government but declined to comment on the politician’s private life.
Joyce revealed in December that he had separated from his wife Natalie, with whom he has four daughters aged from their late teens to early 20s, saying at the time that he didn’t pretend “to be any saint or anything like that”.
The deputy PM had been a staunch advocate for sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman as the country debated same sex marriage, and has long been known for his conservative views on moral issues, telling a 2011 pro-marriage rally in Canberra that the ‘best protection” for his daughters was a “secure relationship with a loving husband”.
Joyce chose to abstain from the December conscience vote in the House of Representatives on Australia’s historic same sex marriage laws. “I have always said I wouldn’t vote against the wishes of Australians and I didn’t – that’s why I abstained from the vote given I do not support a change in the definition of marriage,” he told Fairfax at the time.
However, with his views on the importance of traditional marriage well known, rumour had been swirling about Joyce’s marital own situation in the lead-up to the vote, with his rival for the seat of New England, Tony Windsor, tweeting cryptic comments about Joyce having some kind of secret as far back as last October.
The Daily Telegraph alluded in a report in the same month to “issues that have affected his marriage”, adding that “the private turmoil has spilled over into his office with staff leaving at the height of the situation” and that “one of Mr Joyce’s female advisers left his office to work for another minister who is close to Mr Joyce”.
“Mr Joyce, who was married in 1993, is Catholic and has spoken often of his conservative social and economic values,” the paper added at the end of the report, without spelling out the exact nature of the issue in Joyce’s marriage that had caused the departure of a female adviser from his office.