There is nothing grey about it: there is nothing Barnaby Joyce won’t do in pursuit of power.
He will not protect his own political party, the Prime Minister or his coalition colleagues from the wreckage he created by effectively dousing himself in fuel and lighting a match.
He will not accept any personal responsibility nor display any contrition for a catastrophe of his own making that has left a trail of destruction – including several innocent victims – in his wake.
The deputy PM, a baby & private matters in the public domain. @georgiedent on one very sad story & the need for Barnaby Joyce to take responsibility. https://t.co/WMTevo9sPL pic.twitter.com/0G2dYhoZFG
— Women's Agenda (@WomensAgenda) February 7, 2018
Barnaby Joyce, the former deputy prime minister and one-time revered retail politician, will pursue power at any cost and it has been absolutely abysmal to behold.
Three weeks ago when his personal life first became front page news, plenty of Australians identified Joyce’s hypocrisy as the most damning part of the whole sorry saga.
The gall of a conservative politician to publicly fight against same-sex marriage, lecturing Australians about the sanctity of marriage, all the while he was expecting his fifth child with a woman who is not his wife, was astonishing.
— Bevan Shields (@BevanShields) March 3, 2018
A few argued that the hypocrisy argument in relation to Joyce was cheap: that he never said he was a saint and his own marriage breaking down didn’t preclude him from advocating a definition of marriage he failed to uphold.
That argument was feeble then and it’s entirely baseless now given Joyce has demonstrated throughout the past few weeks that his capacity for hypocrisy is unparalleled.
When the story first broke, Joyce sought refuge in the fact private matters ought to remain private. Three weeks later he sat down with a newspaper journalist and stated that the paternity of his partner’s unborn baby was unclear.
He indicated journalists ought to have checked his travel schedule and his partner’s to determine if conception was even possible.
He said no one had ever asked him if the baby was his.
Here's the email where, contrary to his quotes in Fairfax, I directly ask Barnaby Joyce, before publication, if the baby is his and ask him to confirm he had already told his wife and daughters. We published the story when we were satisfied he was treating the unborn as his own. pic.twitter.com/sKNBjCaqKP
— Sharri Markson (@SharriMarkson) March 3, 2018
Aside from the fact these were bare-face lies he crossed an extraordinary line in making these statements.
The very same man who has furiously defended his own right to privacy and, critically, his partner’s right to privacy, volunteered the most intimate details of his personal life into the public arena.
In so doing he has inexplicably cast a shadow over his new partner and their unborn baby. The very same baby who – just last week – Joyce expressed concerns would be seen as ‘less worthy’ than his other children. Publicly speculating about the baby’s biological paternity seems an odd way to counter this.
The fact Joyce’s new partner, Vicki Campion, was sitting beside him when he made these remarks does not render them any less damaging. Campion is not the public figure nor the interview subject: Joyce is and thus Joyce holds the power.
Barnaby Joyce, Feb 7: I WILL KEEP PRIVATE MATTERS PRIVATE. IT'S PRIVATE. ALSO PRIVATE AND VERY PRIVATE, HOW VERY DARE YOU.
Barnaby Joyce, March 3: YOU SHOULD HAVE ASKED FOR THE ACTUAL DATES AND TIMES WE HAD SEX AND ALSO WHEN MY PARTNER GOT HER PERIOD, YOU FOOLS.
— Dr Julia Baird (@bairdjulia) March 3, 2018
Even if she expressly consented to Joyce that she would very much like the details of her own intimate life to be broadcast for public discussion, it does not limit the damage. The fact Joyce either asked that of her – or failed to ask and simply did it anyway – is the problem.
Not because women are precious petals who need protecting but because in this instance Vicki Campion is the private citizen, far less powerful than her partner, who happens to be on the verge of a significant life event. She is due to become a mother at roughly the same time that she has lost her job, moved cities, become tabloid fodder and has had her employability, salary and love life publicly scrutinised.
There is not a single explanation for Joyce volunteering the information he did at this point in time. Except, of course, that he is desperate to cling on to relevance and power and will stop at nothing to achieve it.
We have seen, from Tony Abbott, the damage that a scorned leader is capable of wreaking from the backbench in the wake of a demotion. It seems Barnaby Joyce has decided not to limit his revenge to the confines of parliament house.
From the management of his marriage breaking down, to his citizenship fiasco to his acceptance of free rent from a local businessman to publicly speculating about the paternity of his new partner’s unborn baby: it is now impossible to consider our former deputy PM and not query what can only be described as a tremendous lack of judgement and a penchant for double standards.