He has been publicising his new book for the past week, openly discussing his womanising ways and mental health struggles, but Barnaby Joyce copped a brutal grilling when he appeared on The Today Show to promote Weatherboard and Iron.
The former Deputy Prime Minister was interviewed by Peter Stefanovic and Allison Langdon on Saturday and the pair didn’t hold back when it came to the line of questioning, with the pair asking Joyce “how could you do this” to his former wife and four daughters, before quizzing him about whether he’d had any other affairs.
Stefanovic didn’t beat around the bush and asked: “Did you have any affairs with anyone other than Vikki?” Joyce replied: “Pete, oh Pete, Pete, have you had any affairs Pete?”
“No but it’s not about me,” the presenter replied. “You are the one that has written the book.”
He said: “It’s about regional Australia, it’s about people, especially those on the edges of town, especially those that have been forgotten. It is overwhelmingly, that is what the book is about, it is about the inside of politics. I think that what is in there is no more than what you already know.”
Langdon then took things a step further, asking Joyce, 51, whether he had warned his former wife Natalie Joyce about the release of his first book. However the former Nationals leader refused to talk about Natalie, or their four grown-up daughters.
Challenging Joyce, Landgon pushed: “You are the one that has made this public so now you have to answer this and deal with the consequences.”
To which Joyce replied: “I’m not going to answer to them and overwhelmingly the book is not about the personal… it’s a story about regional people, regional politics.”
Bringing the awkward chat to an end, Stefanovic then asked Joyce “do you accept that you are a fraud?” – in reference to the pollies’ own admission in the book that he was not who the electorate voted for.
“I think everybody, Pete, has reason to be honest in facing their own self-examination,” Joyce said. “I’ve never once said that I didn’t make a huge mistake… I continue to say that.
“I think that’s how I basically manage it by trying to be honest on my own behalf. I cant start talking for others, that’s not my right to talk for others, I talk for myself. I accept that I could have done a lot better Pete, don’t we all?”.
Many voters took to Twitter following the uncomfortable interview, with one viewer saying: “I’m loving how the today show is hammering Barnaby Joyce over his attention grabbing tell-all.” (sic) While another wrote: “Yes!!! Pete and Allison are the heroes Australia needs!”
However others expressed their support for Barnaby, instead slamming the two presenters. One said: “Barnaby Joyce is making the @TODAYshow news anchors look like complete idiots. Y’all should give up while you’re behind.”
Earlier this week Joyce admitted that the scandal caused by his affair with former staffer Vikki Campion left him battling depression and even contemplating death.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the former deputy prime minister, 51, gave a detailed and emotional account for the first time of his cheating scandal in his new tell-all autobiography Weatherboard and Iron, where it’s claimed he even compares his mental health to a “crazed cattle dog”.
The news that Joyce was expecting a baby with Campion was exposed in February, just months after his split from his wife of 24 years, Natalie, with whom he already shares four daughters. The couple welcomed son Sebastian in April.