Junie Morosi, who famously has an affair in 1974 with then-deputy prime minister Jim Cairns, has slammed the media attention on Barnaby Joyce’s personal situation, calling the interest in the Nationals leaders’ relationships “old fashioned”.
Morosi, who was appointed by her lover Cairns to a senior government role that were seen as outside her experience, told The Australian that the complaints about Joyce having won his now-partner Vikki Campion a series of government jobs were just a cover for good, old puritanism on the part of his critics.
“What they’re focusing on is the fact that he is in a relationship with a woman who works there,” she told The Australian. “I really think it’s irrelevant to his job. I think the man should be seen for who he is in politics. If that is found wanting — well, that’s a different story.”
Morosi, 84, hit the headlines in 1974 after Cairns offered her a job as his principal private secretary – a job usually held by a senior civil servant. The job offer prompted allegations that the attractive 41-year-old was in a relationship with the powerful Labor figure, with the scandal sufficient to earn the moniker ‘the Morosi Affair’
Although Morosi and Cairns, who were both married at the time, denied they were in a relationship but the following year Cairns was short afterward sacked by then-prime minister Gough Whitlam over an administrative oversight. In the 1980s, Cairns and Morosi even launched law suits against media outlets for claiming that they had conducted an affair, and it was not until 2002 that Cairns finally admitted that he and his staffer had “gone to bed” together.
Morosi was furious at the time, however, about the implication that she wasn’t sufficiently qualified for the role of private secretary, regardless of who she was having sex with, telling a court that “I saw myself as a professional, as a competent person doing her job”.
Likewise, she defended Campion today against the implication that the former journalist had been awarded roles in Nationals MPs’ offices only at Joyce’s behest. Joyce is under fine on a number of fronts over his relationship with Campion, who was his media adviser and is now reportedly pregnant with his baby.
But Morosi reckons that Joyce’s situation likely holds little interest to young people today, who would think it was passe. “It’s an old consciousness. I think young people today and most people today are not interested in that story,” she told The Australian.
Do you agree with Morosi that a politican’s private life has no bearing on their job? Or do you believe their personal values and morals should be scrutinised?