Barnaby Joyce’s scorned wife Natalie has responded after reports broke this morning that the deputy PM is expecting a child with a former staffer. Ms Joyce told The Australian she was devastated after learning of her husband’s relationship with his former media adviser Vikki Campion, 33.
“I am deeply saddened by the news that my husband is now having a child with a former staff member. I understand that this has been going on for many months and started when she was a paid employee,” she said. She added that the situation is “devastating on many fronts” and mentioned the former couple’s four daughters, who “feel hurt” by their father’s actions.
Ms Joyce said she was particularly hurt after inviting Ms Campion into her home and her life throughout the months she was employed by her husband, only to have the media adviser strike up the relationship behind her back.
News of the pregnancy broke on Wednesday morning, with The Daily Telegraph reporting the pair are “madly in love” and have moved in together. The paper published a photo of Campion, purportedly showing her growing baby bump. The baby is due sometime around April, at the same time that Joyce turns 51.
Joyce revealed in December that he had separated from his wife, saying at the time that he didn’t pretend “to be any saint or anything like that”. However, given his staunch opposition to same-sex marriage and previous statements about the sanctity of marriage, many are accusing the politician of hypocrisy.
“When is Barnaby Joyce getting an annulment from Catholic Church to divorce his wife & four kids, like they never happened, & remarry his pregnant partner, who is also married to someone else? Tricky business this Conservative ‘safeguarding traditional marriage’ thingy,” writer Sandra Eckersley asked on Twitter.
When is Barnaby Joyce getting an annulment from Catholic Church to divorce his wife & four kids, like they never happened, & remarry his pregnant partner, who is also married to someone else? Tricky business this Conservative ‘safeguarding traditional marriage’ thingy. #auspol
— Sandra K Eckersley???? (@SandraEckersley) February 6, 2018
Others called for his resignation. “He must resign, no other choice. He has very clearly gained office by duplicitous means, he is not fit to serve as Dep PM. Australia deserves better, Joyce must resign now,” one Twitter user wrote.
Journalists in Canberra are also being criticised for keeping the story a secret for months. Rumours of a rift in the Joyce’s relationship were rife during the New England by-election, but reporters abstained from covering the story, despite questions about the PM’s morality.
Labor treasury spokesman Chris Bowen told reporters today that Ms Campion pregnancy and relationship with the Deputy PM was an open secret in Canberra.
“The Labor Party has made no public statement about Barnaby Joyce’s personal situation for the last six months, despite the fact it’s been well-known in this building, and we’re not about to start today,” Mr Bowen said.